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Finding Social Emotional Screening Tools

The Choose and Use Guide on Screening Instruments is based, in part, on the work of Henderson and Strain (2009), Screening for Social Emotional Concerns a print product of the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education grant #H326B07002). The current Office of Head Start funding is solely responsible for the current interactive product, the dimensions upon which the Choose and Use protocol is implemented and the suggested use of the guide.

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Most Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS) programs have some system in place for screening children who are at risk for social emotional delays, problem behaviors and early appearing mental health concerns. Such screening is essential since we know that upwards of 25% of children who benefit from HS and EHS may fall into a high risk category.

Many screening systems have been developed over the last twenty years that, to varying degrees, are appropriate to the task. However, not all screening systems are created equal. There are enormous differences in cost, in time to administer and score, in readability, in whether the system can be used legitimately for uses other than screening, and in how well the system was standardized on children similar to those enrolled in HS and EHS.

The purpose of this interactive tool is to offer HS and EHS personnel, including mental health specialists, with a quick guide by which to select a screening system that best fits the unique circumstances of their program(s). The goal is not to promote any particular instrument or set of instruments, but to offer data on individual instruments that consumers can use to make informed decisions.


Utility Utility (multiple purposes):

Utility: Show All Screening & Outcomes Planning (5) Screening Only (1) Screening & Outcomes (3)

Languages Available:

  • Chinese (1)
  • Danish (1)
  • Dutch (1)
  • English (9)
  • Finnish (1)
  • French (1)
  • German (1)
  • Hebrew (1)
  • Japanese (1)
  • Korean (1)
  • Norwegian (1)
  • Russian (1)
  • Spanish (6)
  • Swedish (1)
Acceptability Acceptability (social validity):

Domains: Problem Behavior (9) Positive Behavior (7)

Instrument Validity with Young Children: Show All Yes (6) Uncertain (3)

Authenticity & Equity Authenticity & Equity (accommodating and developmentally appropriate content, materials, methods):

Special Considerations: Show All Student Forms (1) Qualified Examiner Needed (5) None (3)

Congruence & Sensitivity Congruence & Sensitivity (psychometrics):

Norming Sample Racial Ethnic Diversity: Show All Yes (7) Uncertain (2)

Norming Sample Included Low Income: Show All Yes (7) Uncertain (2)

Collaboration & Convergence Collaboration & Convergence (multiple sources):

Age Range Age Range:


Time Time (admin. and scoring):


Readability Readability:

Cost Cost:

$ — $

Data Management Systems Data Management Systems:

Show All Yes (3) No (6)


For More Information about Social Emotional Screening Tools


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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation