Developmental Assets

General Information

The Developmental Assets® are 40 common-sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults. Studies consistently show that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviours and the more likely they are to thrive. Assets have power for all young people, regardless of their gender, economic status, family, or race/ethnicity. Furthermore, levels of assets are better predictors of outcomes than, for example, poverty or being from a single-parent family. The Developmental Assets provide a means for articulating the attributes that CHARACTER ALWAYS VIRTUES or CATHOLIC GRADUATE EXPECTATIONS strive to instill in students.

The 40 Developmental Assets are divided into External and Internal Assets and further categorized into the following eight areas:

  • External Assets: Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, and Constructive Use of Time.
  • Internal Assets: Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Competencies, and Positive Identity.

What This Might Look Like In The Classroom

Students who have many Developmental Assets are able to realize the qualities endorsed in CHARACTER ALWAYS VIRTUES or CATHOLIC GRADUATE EXPECTATIONS.

When students are dealing with an asset deficit, they may not thrive in school settings. They struggle to accept boundaries on their behaviour because they have not experienced the positive effects of living in well-bounded environments. They do not see themselves as useful and valuable to others. They may have a hard time building genuine social relationships with others. And they are typically not committed to their own learning.

All of these deficits can be remedied by changing the social and environmental influences around a student, and the Developmental Assets provide clear strategies for doing so.

  • Support relationships with positive role models.
  • Cultivate leadership skills in students.
  • Encourage children to express their feelings and emotions in a positive manner.
  • Encourage children to engage in a variety of activities and experiences that increase awareness and acceptance of differences.
  • Encourage and support children in pursuing their dreams.
  • When and where possible, provide students with choices.
  • Teach students to accept criticism and respond in constructive ways.
  • Give students opportunities to reflect on and shape their own futures.
  • Encourage and support students in pursuing their dreams.
  • Draw connections between classroom learning and significant opportunities, needs, and issues in the world.
  • During school conferences and parent meetings, focus on the positive.
  • Train older students to help, tutor, and befriend younger students.
  • Create a climate of optimism. Expect students to succeed.
  • Honour and affirm students who help others.
  • Let students participate in planning a school-wide activity.
  • Make conflict resolution training available to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Take time to inform parents (even in secondary school) about school life—for example, if the school publishes a student handbook, send copies home to parents.
  • Stay in contact with teachers about children’s progress. Don’t wait for report cards.
  • Help children stay alert in school by ensuring that they eat well and get enough sleep.
  • Monitor homework—check in with children every so often and ask, “How’s it going?”.
  • Encourage children to participate in activities that boost school spirit.
  • Ask children’s opinions or advice about an important issue or decision.
  • Thank teachers for the good work they do.
  • Be a role model for children by helping or volunteering at school or in the community.
  • Encourage coaches, club sponsors, and others not to over-schedule children.
  • Include parents in meetings with children regarding problem behaviours and broken rules.
  • Be positive citizens in the school community—not just trouble-shooters.