Convergent, Criterion and Social Validity of the Emotional and Behavioral Screener

Corey D. Pierce, Matthew Lambert, Hussain Alamer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent reports suggest that up to 20 % of all school-aged students demonstrate characteristics related to emotional disturbance. However, <1 % of these students actually receive special education services for ED, a percentage that has remained unchanged for nearly 30 years. Screening procedures have been developed to identify the behavioral needs of students within school-wide systems such as Multitiered System of Support, Positive Behavior Support, and Response to Intervention. While several screening tools are available at this time, many require significant time, training, and/or effort, factors which limit their practical use in schools. A new efficient assessment tool Emotional and Behavioral Screener (EBS) has recently been developed as a universal screening instrument. The purpose of this study was to examine the validity of the EBS scores, with a sample of over 600 elementary students, in comparison to scores from the Social Skills Improvement System assessment tool. Results indicated high levels of convergent validity between the scores (social skills; ρ = −0.70; and problem behavior; ρ = 0.79); strong criterion validity as assessed by differences in EBS scores between individuals with normal versus problematic scores (based on established cut-off scores) on the SSIS (social skills; d = 2.23; and problem behavior; d = 3.58) and assessed by binary classification between cut-off scores of the EBS and SSIS (AUROC range.86–.88); and adequate social validity. Implications and limitations of these results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Behavior
  • MTSS
  • PBIS
  • RtI
  • Screen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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