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Volume 41, Issue 3 (2012)

The Role of Assessment in a Prevention Science Framework

pp. 306—314

The articles in this Special Topic issue present a range of assessment models and challenges for improving the identification and early intervention of students in need of additional supports. Although each article targets a unique aspect of student learning (learning behaviors, math skills, reading comprehension, behavioral functioning, and ratings of engaged and disruptive behavior), collectively they highlight the importance of assessment practices in effective problem solving. In our commentary, we use prevention science as a framework for considering the contributions of the articles in this special topic with a particular focus on the role of assessment. A recent report from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2009) attributed much of the progress in advancing knowledge about prevention of emotional and behavior problems over the past 2 decades to the relatively young field of prevention science. As an interdisciplinary field, prevention science provides a step-by-step model for solving public health problems, including educational underachievement. Specifically, prevention science is a systematic method for identifying, monitoring, and altering meaningful targets that have been demonstrated to be associated with critical youth outcomes. Accurate and efficient assessment tools are essential at each step of the prevention science research cycle.

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