Developmental Assets Framework

The Developmental Assets Framework is grounded in extensive research conducted by the Search Institute since 1989 about what young people need to succeed. Developmental Assets are positive factors in young people, families, communities, schools and other settings that have been found to be important in promoting young people’s healthy development. Search Institute’s framework recognizes both internal and external assets, and organizes 40 assets into eight categories: Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, Constructive Use of Time, Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Competencies, and Positive Identity.

Evidence Base for Developmental Assets:

Articles and Websites

Jarrell, Camille, L. (2004) “Creating a Foundation for Student Success.” Community College Journal of Research and Practice 28:513-524. Describes findings at a community college in the southern U.S. Authors stress a need to provide specific student services and programs which in turn increase student satisfaction and positively impact retention. Such a conceptual framework should be in place prior to students entering college. The plan should focus on student development, study skills, social integration, and personal assessment.

Search Institute “Boosting Student Achievement: New Research on the Power of Developmental Assets.” Insights and Evidence 1.1(2003): 1-10.

Search Institute: This site provides an overview of the Search Institute’s extensive research-based resources, philosophy, and current work. Further details on developmental assets are available at


Starkman, Neal., P.C. Scales, C. Roberts (2006). Great Places to Learn: Creating Asset-Building Schools That Help Students Succeed, 2nd Edition. Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute Press.