School Psychology Forum

Emotional and Behavioral Screening
Volume 6, Issue 4 (Winter 2012 )

Editor: Steven R. Shaw

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  • Screening for Behavioral and Emotional Risk: Constructs and Practicalities

    Randy W. Kamphaus

    pp. 89-97

    ABSTRACT: Two questions are central to screening for behavioral and emotional risk: For what do we screen? How realistic is universal screening for schools? This article defines the construct of behavioral and emotional risk (BER), and differentiates it from psychiatric screening for mental health disorders and pediatric screening for behavioral development. The links between the BER construct and child development and psychopathology research for creating a screening test content blueprint are then considered. Some practical considerations for screening are offered with particular attention given to the personnel resources necessary to mount a universal BER screening program. Finally, the interplay of practice and science necessary to resolve the remaining questions related to BER screening is elucidated.

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  • Choosing Informants When Conducting a Universal Screening for Behavioral and Emotional Risk

    Erin Dowdy & Eui Kim

    pp. 98-107

    ABSTRACT: Universal screening is gaining considerable attention due to its benefits of early identification and treatment of emotional and behavioral problems. However, despite the importance of gathering information from various informants to aid in the screening process, little attention has been paid to the choice of informants and practitioners are left with little guidance regarding from whom to gather information. This article reviews the current state of the literature with regard to choosing informants within a screening process. In particular, considerations for choosing informants within a multiple-gating screening system are discussed along with recommendations for dealing with disagreements among informants. Future directions and research needs are discussed to help move the field of screening science forward.

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  • Chasing the Unicorn: Practical Implementation of Universal Screening for Behavioral and Emotional Risk

    Bridget V. Dever, Tara C. Raines, & Christopher M. Barclay

    pp. 108-118

    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this article is to provide evidence to support the notion that a universal screening program can be implemented by schools and districts as a data-driven model for assessing behavioral and emotional risk. First, common myths and perceived barriers to universal screening are reviewed, along with research to help overcome those beliefs. Second, an overview of a variety of universal screening tools that are currently being used in elementary and secondary schools is provided. Finally, logistical considerations that may influence the successful implementation of school-based, universal screening are reviewed in the context of real-world examples of successful screening programs.

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  • Implementing Interventions and Progress Monitoring Subsequent to Universal Screening

    Kimberly J. Vannest

    pp. 119-136

    ABSTRACT: Prevention, intervention, and progress monitoring are critical features of the multilevel model of service delivery currently recommended by both leaders in the field and federal regulation. When well designed and carried out with high fidelity these programs can dramatically improve outcomes for students across grade levels. In addition, when programs match intervention to problems and include training, capacity in faculty and staff increases. This article provides a tested and working model for implementing interventions and progress monitoring after universal screening. The common questions are addressed and some practical, fieldtested options are provided, as no one-size-fits-all is a realistic solution. Schools and districts have flexibility to meet student needs and maximize capacity while employing scientifically based practices that exploit the data available through universal screening.

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  • Mental Health Screening and Academic Outcomes in Elementary School

    Julia I. Juechter, Bridget V. Dever, & Randy W. Kamphaus

    pp. 137-147

    ABSTRACT: Research has consistently illustrated the negative relationship between behavior problems and academic achievement (Arnold, 1997; Reinke, Herman, Petras, & Ialongo, 2008). This study examined the predictive validity of an emotional and behavioral screener as related to academic outcomes. Parents and teachers completed screeners for children in grades kindergarten through 5. Results showed that teacher ratings of behavior on a brief screening instrument were significant predictors of both math and reading achievement, even when controlling for demographic variables such as gender, ethnicity, and mother’s education level. Further, using an omnibus rating scale as a second gate measure, analyses of internalizing versus externalizing behavior revealed that teacher ratings of externalizing behavior were significant predictors of academic achievement. Parent ratings of externalizing behavior, as well as teacher and parent ratings of internalizing symptoms, were not significantly correlated with math and reading achievement scores.

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  • Considering Social Validity in the Context of Emotional and Behavioral Screening

    Fred W. Greer, Brandy S. Wilson, Christine DiStefano, & Jin Liu

    pp. 148-159

    ABSTRACT: School-based screening by teachers has been routinely advised for determining the presence of emotional and behavioral problems. However, the trustworthiness of the data may be compromised if the teachers providing the data do not believe that screening is worthwhile. The aim of this study was to provide information about social validity and ways in which it may be considered to promote teacher buy-in for universal screening. A mixed method design was used to gain greater understanding of the impact of social validity on screening programs. Teachers largely felt that screening was acceptable and provided useful information; however, barriers to implementation were found in the issue of feasibility, such as administrative support for screening and use of its results.

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