A Psychometric Investigation of Universal Screening for Social Emotional Development in Preschool Using Parent and Teacher Informants
Co-Principal Investigators: Erin Dowdy (University of California, Santa Barbara), Fred Greer (University of South Carolina), and Randy W. Kamphaus (University of Oregon)
Purpose: The purpose of this project is to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System Parenting Rating Scale-Preschool Form (BESS PRS-P), a parent report screening tool which was developed to identify young children at risk for social behavioral problems. As enrollment in preschool programs has increased, so has the number of children entering preschool with emerging social, behavioral, or emotional difficulties. Preschool programs need assessment tools that can be used to identify children in need of in-depth assessment and intervention services before kindergarten entry. In a previous study, the researchers evaluated the psychometric properties of the BESS Teacher Rating Scale-Preschool (Validation of the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System for Early Identification for Social-Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Preschoolers) a teacher report screening tool, and associations with child outcomes. In this project, the researchers will examine the parent report screener, consistency of information obtained from teacher and parent ratings of children's social emotional risk, and associations between parent and teacher ratings and child outcomes in preschool, kindergarten and first grade.
Project Activities: The researchers will use primary and secondary data sources to examine the psychometric properties of the screening tool. They will recruit three cohorts of teachers, children, and parents, follow children across the transition from preschool to kindergarten and first grade, and collect primary data from parents and teachers each school year. They will use parent and teacher data and school records to examine associations between ratings of children's social behavioral risk and child social and academic outcomes in kindergarten and first grade.
Products: The products of this project include information about the psychometric properties of a published parent report screening tool to measure social-emotional risk and peer-reviewed publications.
Setting: The study will take place in prekindergarten programs in school districts in South Carolina and California.
Sample: Study participants will include the parents and teachers of preschool-aged children from school districts serving a diverse group of children. A large subgroup of Hispanic parents will be included in the sample to examine the Spanish language parent forms of the measure.
Assessment: The Behavioral and Emotional Screening System Parent Rating Scale-Preschool (BESS PRS-P) was developed as part of the Behavioral Assessment System for Children, second edition (BASC-2), a widely used measure of children's social behavioral status. The BESS is a screening tool that was created using a subset of items from the BASC-2. The BESS assessment system includes parent and teacher report forms in English and Spanish. In the proposed study, parents will complete the BESS PRS-P to report on the social behavioral competencies of their preschool-aged children.
Research Design and Methods: The researchers will use primary and secondary data sources to examine the psychometric properties of the BESS parent report measure. In year 1, they will use data from the BASC PRS-P norm database to examine the structure and scoring of the scale items. In years 2-4, researchers will recruit a new cohort of children each year for a total of three cohorts and collect primary data from parents and teachers in fall and spring of each school year. They will conduct data analyses annually and conduct final analyses in year 4 of the project. In year 2, they will recruit Cohort 1 and follow those children into kindergarten and first grade. In year 3, they will recruit Cohort 2 and follow those children into kindergarten only. They will not collect direct child assessment data. Parent and teacher report data and school records will be used to examine the psychometric properties of the screening tool and associations with child outcomes. In year 4, researchers will recruit Cohort 3 (prekindergarten data collection only), conduct final analyses to address the study objectives, and disseminate the study findings.
Control Condition: There is no control condition.
Key Measures: Primary measures include the BESS Parent Rating Scale-Preschool, the BESS Teacher Rating Scale-Preschool, the BASC-2 Parent Rating Scale-Preschool, the ASEBA, an assessment of problem behaviors, and the Pediatric Symptom Checklist, screening version (PSC-17), an assessment of children's internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and attention problems. Kindergarten and first grade teachers will complete the BESS Teacher Rating Scale-Child version. Parents will the complete the BESS Parent Rating Scale-Child when their children are in kindergarten and first grade. Kindergarten teachers will complete the Kindergarten Student Entrance Profile. The researchers will collect standardized test scores from participating schools to examine educational outcomes. Kindergarten and first grade teachers will use a researcher-developed rating scale to rate each child's academic skills and classroom performance.
Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will conduct item and scale level analyses to examine the psychometric properties of the parent report version of the BESS. The research team will also evaluate the consistency of information obtained from teacher and parent ratings of children's social emotional risk. In addition, researchers will also examine the association between teacher and parent ratings and child outcomes in preschool, kindergarten and first grade.