School Psychology Review

Determining the Presence of a Problem: Comparing Two Approaches for Detecting Youth Behavioral Risk

R. W. Kamphaus, Christine DiStefano, Erin Dowdy, Katie Eklund, and Alnita Rettig Dunn

pp. 395-407

Special Series: Behavioral Assessment Within Problem-Solving Models

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Abstract. Universal screening has been routinely advised for determining the presence of problems for initiating problem-solving processes and models. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of two screener development methods on the validity of score inferences for two teacher screeners of child behavioral and emotional risk. The reliability and validity indices associated with screener scores were compared by analyzing data for 472 children from 20 elementary schools who were screened for behavioral and emotional risk. Screener scores from both instruments were significantly related to academic achievement test scores, grades, and classification of at-risk students. Although there was evidence that specificity of risk classification was better for one screener, both instruments identified risk with good reliability and validity. A research agenda and practice implications are discussed.