The Developmental Assets Profile (DAP)

The Developmental Assets Profile is social-emotional assessment which measures the internal strengths and external supports of young people, and their growth in these key areas over time.

Measure young people’s social-emotional skills with the research-based Developmental Assets Profile (DAP)

Young people today are dealing with a lot of difficult situations. Depression, anxiety, bullying, drug and alcohol use are major problems among teens. Advances in technology have amplified the issues for many adolescents, leaving schools and youth-serving organizations to address these problems and help kids navigate a tough world.

But it’s difficult for schools and youth-serving organizations to address these types of issues when they can’t see or monitor them.

The Developmental Asset Profile (DAP) was created for that reason. It is a reliable and valid assessment of the strengths, supports, and social-emotional factors that are essential for young people’s success in school and life. It grows out of years of research with millions of young people and is based on Search Institute’s framework of Developmental Assets.

Search Institute has been focusing on measuring concerns and needs of young people for more than 60 years. We have learned a lot about what young people need in their lives to help young people learn, grow, and thrive.

A Social-Emotional Assessment Tool

Data show the value of a social-emotional assessment tool. The DAP has been helping organizations and partnerships understand the social-emotional strengths of youth since 2005. To date, nearly a million young people between the ages of 8 and 18 have taken the DAP, making it one of the most widely used instruments in the world for measuring the strengths and supports that influence a youth’s success in school and in life. Multiple studies have demonstrated that the DAP measures the important SEL skills (found in the internal assets) in valid and reliable ways. It has been listed in the CASEL* compendium as a valid social-emotional assessment tool.

What are Developmental Assets?

The DAP is built on the Developmental Assets® Framework, which is a set of 40 positive supports, opportunities, and relationship qualities young people need across all aspects of their lives (called “external assets”) and personal skills, social emotional strengths, self-perceptions, and values they need to make good choices, take responsibility for their actions, and be independent (called “internal assets”).

Our research tells us that when young people have few assets, they are more likely to engage in a wide array of high-risk behaviors.

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Likewise, when youth have more assets, they are:

  • More likely to thrive now and in the future;
  • Less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors;
  • More likely to be resilient in the face of challenges.



What You’ll Receive when you use the DAP

When you measure young people’s Developmental Assets, you are able to use the report to see powerful information on your youth, emphasizing the strengths and supports they have and need. The DAP shows youth perspectives across several parts of their lives: personal, peers, family, school, and community. This allows you to see the SEL competencies that are strong (or lacking) in young people you work with.

By using the DAP survey, you will:

  • Discover the social-emotional strengths and supports that young people have;
  • Listen to the perspectives of young people themselves;
  • See your work in the context of young people’s own strengths as well as the supports they have (or don’t have) in their families, schools, organizations, and community;
  • Gain a road map to guide you in proactive and focused planning to increase positive outcomes.


The DAP can help you answer the following questions about the young people you serve:

Do they feel surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate, and accept them?

Do they feel valued, valuable, and safe?

Do they feel that they have been provided with clear rules, consistent consequences for breaking rules, and encouragement to always do their best?

Do they have opportunities outside of school to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youth and adults?

Do they understand the lasting importance of learning and believe in their own abilities?

Are they developing strong guiding values that will help them make healthy life choices, including responsibility, empathy, and self-control?

Do they have the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions, and to cope with new situations?

Do they believe in their own self-worth and feel that they have control over the things that happen to them?


Survey Details

Recommended Users: Youth programs, schools, juvenile justice, mental health, communities, and family services settings. Qualified clinicians, school counselors, mental health practitioners, and social workers can also use the DAP for individual assessments.

Grades: 4-12

Validated as a pre- and post-measure to measure change over time? Yes

Number of items on survey: 58 Item Likert Scale questions

Administered: Online (Paper option available)

Time to Complete: 10 minutes

Minimum youth needed for report: 30

Always Includes:

  • Assessments for each participating youth
  • Thorough user guide for planning your survey administration
  • In-depth aggregate reports to guide your data utilization
  • Language options for English, Spanish and several others (please contact us for options)
  • Measures of social-emotional skills
  • Access to the online survey
  • Survey administration support

Optionally Includes:

  • Sub-reports based on a specific cohort of youth, determined by you
  • Raw data at the individualized level
  • Individually scored data file
  • Aggregate report(s) of multiple sites
  • Data planning consult on-site or via phone
  • Data presentation
  • Professional Development workshops
  • Technical Assistance, Consulting, Workshops, or Presentations


  • Site report $250 (each site report includes up to 100 surveys)
  • Aggregate report of multiple sites – $250 (does not include surveys)
  • Each additional survey (beyond the included 100) $2.00


For More Information

For more information on the Developmental Assets Profile, please click on one of the links below:

Download the DAP User Guide

Download a Sample Report

Download Psychometric Information

Download a Case Study from Asheville, NC

Download an External Review from Raikes Foundation

Download an External Review from Ready by 21

For more information about the DAP, view our free webinar, Measuring SEL in 10 Minutes. The transcript is also available here.

The Developmental Assets Framework is included in Harvard University’s Explore SEL as a recommended framework.

*®CASEL 2017. The five social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies were developed and defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). For more information, visit

Have Questions?

For questions about surveys, please visit our Survey FAQ page or fill out the Survey Assistance Form and a Search Institute representative will contact you.