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Systematic Screening Approaches for Students in Tier 2/3 Interventions. Tricia Robles M. Ed. Jinna Risdal M. Ed. Highline School District. Acknowledgments. Hill Walker, University of Oregon Doug Cheney, University of Washington

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systematic screening approaches for students in tier 2 3 interventions

Systematic Screening Approaches for Students in Tier 2/3 Interventions

Tricia Robles M. Ed.

Jinna Risdal M. Ed.

Highline School District

  • Hill Walker, University of Oregon
  • Doug Cheney, University of Washington
  • Kathleen Lane, Vanderbilt
  • Bridget Walker - Seattle University
  • Wendy Iwaszuk - Seattle University
turn and talk

5 Minutes

Turn and Talk
  • How do we determine what students need services at Tiers 2 & 3?
  • How do we determine the “level of risk” in a school?

In academics, universal screening instruments are widely recognized as adequate measures to identify students at-risk for developing further problems (Ardoin et al., 2004; Elliott, Huai, & Roach, 2007).

However, agreement is lacking about the best screening practices to identify behaviorally and emotionally at-risk students.

how most schools determine student need for services
How most schools determine student need for services
  • Only 2% of schools screen all children for mental heath reasons (Romer & McIntosh, 2005)
  • Office discipline referrals & Teacher/Staff referrals are commonly used
office discipline referrals
Office Discipline Referrals

Implemented widely in SWPBIS where 2-5 ODR is considered threshold for at-risk (Horner et al., 2005)

Issues with Consistent Use of ODR

May miss a number of students

One study found that 35% of students who qualified as at risk on SSBD did not have multiple ODRs (Walker, Cheney, Stage, & Blum, 2005)

washington schools study 1 walker cheney stage blum 2005
Washington Schools: Study 1Walker, Cheney, Stage, & Blum (2005)

3 Elem. Schools, 80/80 SET, 1999-2003

124 students (70 Ext./54 Int.) Ext. > 1 s.d. on Social Skills and Prob Behs./ Not Int.

Screening & ODR > ODR

Screening+ODR increases # of at-risk students

Screening and use of school supports maintains students at SST level (Gate 2 Tier 2), and fewer FBA/BSP or referred to Special Ed (Gate 3, Tier 3)

why universal screening benefits schools
Why Universal Screening benefits schools

Establishes a schools risk level and allows for monitoring of responsiveness through shifts in this risk level (Lane, Kalberg, Bruhn, Mahoney & Driscoll, 2008)

Informs the use of Tier 2 & 3 interventions - where to target limited funds

Preventative supports reduce the need for more intensive supports later (Cheney & Stage, in press; Walker, Cheney, Stage, & Blum, 2005)

Monitor overall effectiveness of the three-tiered model

why universal screening benefits students
Why Universal Screening benefits students.
  • Promotes early intervention in place of “wait to fail” (Glover & Albers, 2007);
    • Of the 20% of school-aged children who experience mental health difficulties, only 30% receive services (US Public Health Service, 2000).
    • 65% of students identified for EBD are 12 years or older (US Dept of Ed, 2001)
  • A reduction in over-representation of children of color
    • African American students are twice as likely to be identified as EBD than White students (Alliance for Excellence Education, 2009)
  • Addresses the issue of under-identifying girls and students with internalizing issues (Hosp & Reschly, 2004)
how screening relates to academics
How Screening relates to Academics
  • Academic success inextricably linked to social/behavioral skills
    • Five predictor variables concerning student skills or behaviors related to success in school:
    • (a) prior achievement,
    • (b) interpersonal skills,
    • (c) study skills,
    • (d) motivation, and
    • (e) engagement (DiPerna and Elliott,1999, 2000)
choosing a universal screener
Choosing A Universal Screener
  • Choose a Screener that:
    • Is appropriate for its intended use and that is contextually and developmentally appropriate and sensitive to issue of diversity
    • Has Technical Adequacy
    • Useable - efficient, feasible, easy to manage

- Calderella,Young, Richardson & Young, 2008

systematic screening for behavior disorders ssbd walker severson 1992
Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders (SSBD; Walker & Severson, 1992)
  • Originally normed K-6, recently normed for middle and Jr High (Calderella,Young, Richardson & Young, 2008)
  • Multiple gating procedures following mental health & PBS model
  • Externalizing and Internalizing dimensions
  • Evidence of efficiency, effectiveness, & cost benefits
  • Exemplary, evidence-based practice
      • US Office of Special Education, Council for Children with Behavior Disorders, National Diffusion Network
ssbd sample questions
SSBD: Sample Questions
  • Critical Events (Behavioral Earthquakes):
    • Is physically aggressive with other students or adults (hits, bites, chokes, or throws things)
    • Has tantrums
    • Exhibits painful shyness
  • Maladaptive Behavior
    • Requires punishment before s/he will terminate behavior.
    • Child tests teacher imposed limits.
  • Adaptive Behavior
    • Produces work of acceptable quality given her/his skill level.
    • Expresses anger appropriately, e.g. reacts to situation without being violent or destructive.

Multiple Gating Procedure (Severson et al. 2007)

Teachers Rank Order 3 Ext. & 3 Int. Students

Gate 1

Pass Gate 1

Teachers Rate Top 3 Students on Critical Events, Adaptive & Maladaptive Scales

Gate 2

Tier 2,3


Pass Gate 2

Gate 3

Classroom & Playground Observations

Tier 3 Intervention or Special Ed. Referral

student risk screening scale drummond 1994
Student Risk Screening Scale (Drummond, 1994)

Originally normed at elementary level, recently normed at middle and high school (Lane, Kalberg, Parks, & Carter, 2008)

Classroom teacher evaluates and assigns a frequency-based, Likert rating to each student in the class in relation to seven behavioral criteria

Score indicates the level of risk (low, medium, high)

Scores predict both negative academic and behavioral outcomes

Effective, Efficient and Free

student risk screening scale drummond 199420
Student Risk Screening Scale (Drummond, 1994)
  • lies,
  • cheats,
  • sneaks,
  • steals,
  • behavior problems,
  • peer rejections,
  • low achievement,
  • negative attitude,
  • Aggressive.
  • Rated on a 4-point Likert scale (never, seldom, sometimes, frequently)
student internalizing behavior screener sibs cook 2008
Student Internalizing Behavior Screener (SIBS, Cook 2008)
  • Nervous or Fearful
  • Bullied by Peers
  • Spends Time Alone
  • Clings to Adults
  • Withdrawn
  • Seems Sad or Unhappy
  • Complains About Being Sick or Hurt
    • Rated on a 4-point Likert scale (never, seldom, sometimes, frequently)
basc behavior and emotional screening scale bess pearson publications
BASC- Behavior and Emotional Screening Scale (BESS, Pearson Publications)

Based on BASC by Reynolds & Kamphaus, 2002

Universal screener with norms for preschool & K-12,

Includes teacher, parent, and self-rating forms grades 3-12. 3-5 minutes per form. Completed on all students in class

Hand scored and scannable forms, ASSIST software available

Provides comprehensive summary of student scores and teacher ratings across the school

brief academic competence evaluation scales system bacess elliott huai roach 2007
Brief Academic Competence Evaluation Scales System(BACESS; Elliott, Huai, Roach, 2007)

Intended to be a universal screener (cover both academic and academic “enabling” behaviors)

Phase 1: Criterion referenced Academic Screening used on ALL students

Phase 2: 10 items five academic and five academic enabling behaviors rating of students who passed through phase 1 (from ACES)

Phase 3: Teachers complete the entire ACES measure for students with specific cut score (less than 26)

Academic Competency Evaluation Scale (ACES; DiPerna and Elliott,1999, 2000) is normed K-12, with teacher forms and student forms for grades 3-12. - Pearson

Bridget Walker, Ph.D.


Sample List of Students Identified Through Schoolwide Screening

How could this information help you determine where your limited support resources should focus?

Bridget Walker, Ph.D.

factors related to screening effectiveness
Factors Related to Screening Effectiveness

Teachers are reliable evaluators/judges of student academic & behavioral performance when given a clear, overt structure to facilitate the decision making (Elliott , Huai , Roach, 2007)

Screening occurs across all students in the areas of health, academic, and social-emotional functioning.

Schools need to be ready to move away from reactive systems of responding only to long standing need (Severson, Walker, Hope-Doolittle, Kratchowill & Gresham, 2007)

Most effective when in the context of a comprehensive RTI/PBS initiative

issues with implementing screening
Issues with Implementing Screening

Procedural considerations in implementation of the process of screening (implemented consistently and with fidelity to the instructions and process)

General training in behavioral and mental health issues that improves teachers’ understanding of the purpose and content of the screening process, provided prior to implementation (e.g. internalizing vs. externalizing behaviors) as well as potential concerns and misconceptions (Severson, Walker, Hope-Doolittle, Kratchowill & Gresham, 2007)

issues with implementation 2 informed consent student privacy
Issues with Implementation 2: Informed Consent, Student Privacy

Determine threshold for specific informed consent in your district/community

Minimum includes; parents clearly informed as part of schoolwide academic/social screening, use of passive consent process for screening, outline confidentiality policy and follow up procedures for students who are identified as at-risk, no interventions at that level without informed parental consent

Establish procedure to protect student privacy throughout the process

Review confidentiality guidelines and follow up procedures with staff

universal screening in practice highline school district washington

Universal Screening in Practice: Highline School District, Washington

We cannot wait for students to fail. We must identify students in need of support and provide early intervention. We can change the trajectory of a child from at-risk of school failure to socially and academically successful.

highline public schools
Highline Public Schools
  • South of Seattle in Washington State
  • 17,605 students
  • 65% eligible for free & reduced-meals
  • 2,305 students qualify for special education
  • 78 languages spoken
  • 3,679 English Language Learners

HPS Report Card 2010

highline ethnic diversity
Highline Ethnic Diversity
  • 2.3% American Indian/Alaskan Native
  • 16.8% Asian
  • 5% Pacific Islander
  • 14% Black
  • 30% Hispanic
  • 31.1% White

Fall 2010

our schools
Our Schools
  • 18 K-6 Elementary Schools
  • 4 Middle Schools Grades 7 & 8
  • 10 High Schools
  • 2 Alternative High Schools
  • 1 Skills Center
  • 1 Early Childhood Center
our pbis story
Our PBIS Story
  • 1997-1999 WA Task Force on Behavioral Disabilities
  • 1998 US Office of Special Education & OSPI Fund BEACONS Demonstration Project to reduce referrals to EBD via PBIS
  • 1998-2002 4 schools in 4 districts serve as WA demonstration sites Seahurst Elementary was Highline’s 1st PBIS School
  • 2003-06 OSPI, OSEP, & WEA Outreach BEACONs Project
    • Six districts, 28 schools join network
    • Five Highline Elementary Schools
  • 2004-05 WA State CIP/SIG Project w/ 15 Schools in 6 districts
  • 2004-08 – OSEP funded CC&E Project 3 Districts 18 Schools Check, Connect, and Expect - 6 Highline Schools
  • 2007-2008 Share Project School Results with Administrators
2010 2011 pbis in highline
2010-2011 PBIS in Highline
  • District PBIS Coordinator
  • District PBIS Team – Representative
  • Establishing PBIS Coaches Cadre
  • Monthly Meetings
  • 25 Schools – Tier 1 School-wide PBIS
  • 12 Schools – Tier 2 Screening & CC&E
  • 7 ES Schools – Tier 3 Technical Assistance Teams
  • PBIS Baseline offered for High Schools
from 6 to 18 elementary schools implementing pbis
From 6 to 18 Elementary Schools Implementing PBIS
  • 2007-2008 - 6,284 Office Discipline Referrals = 262 Days of time Lost
  • 2009-2010 - 5,690 Office Discipline Referrals = 237 Days of time Lost

-3,457 Major ODRs= 144 Days

  • 2010-2011 – 4,193 Office Discipline Referrals = 174 Days of time lost - 2,113 Major ODRs = 88 Days
we know we have students exhibiting problem behavior
We know we have students exhibiting problem behavior?
  • 486 incidents of violence/gang/weapons in 4 middle school
  • 13 elementarys processed 6284Major Office Discipline Referrals = 1,571 hours or 262 days of instructional time lost - fighting, aggression, bullying, non-compliance, etc
  • 1713Major incidents of defiance/disobediance/disruptive conduct were reported in 4 middle schools
  • 4 middle schools processed 3827Major ODRs = 957 hours or 159 days of instructional and leadership time lost

Elementary and Middle School ODR data in O7-08 School Year

prevention logic for all walker et al 1996
Prevention Logic for All(Walker et al., 1996)

Decrease development of new problem behaviors

Prevent worsening of existing problem behaviors

Redesign learning/teaching environments to eliminate triggers & maintainers of problem behaviors

Teach, monitor, & acknowledge prosocial behavior

how did we screen
How Did We Screen?
  • Conduct SSBD Screening at October staff mtg.
  • Counselors & psychologists help define externalizers & internalizers & lead process
  • Teachers identify & rank students in order of concern
  • Teachers complete the screening protocol on top 3 internalizers & 3 externalizers
  • Bldg. PBS Team scores screening, compares screening to previous years ODRs & identifies targeted group and individuals for intensive supports
what tools did we use
What tools did we use?
  • SWIS ODRs - Office Discipline Referrals Web-based System ( )
  • SSBD - Systematic Screening for Behavior Disorders
  • 08-09 compared the SRSS -Student Risk Screening Scale & SSBD in 4 HSD schools
  • Teacher Nomination
who was identified for check connect and expect
Who was identified for Check, Connect, and Expect?
  • 488 students in 4 years were identified & given permission for CC&E
  • 15 schools screen and use screening for targeted group interventions
  • About 70% of students are successful
  • 15% of students need a little more
    • Academic tutoring, social skills instruction, problem solving
  • 15% of students need more intensive individualized function-based supports or a different intervention
the power of key relationships
The Power of Key Relationships

Students who build strong positive relationships with school staff have significant long term reductions in:

aggressiveness substance abuse delinquency teen pregnancy school drop outs suspensions and expulsions court adjudications academic failure

(Hawkins, Catalano, & Arthur, 2002)

A strong positive alliance with school staff is a key aspect of the development of resiliency.

WAREA 2007

key relationships cont d
Key Relationships Cont’d

Students who build strong positive relationships with school staff showed significant increases in:

*academic performance *positive social relationships *improved parent relationships *student self-esteem *work completion *sense of safety at school

(Hawkins, Catalano,&Arthur, 2002)

WAREA 2007


Tertiary Prevention:



Systems for Students with High-Risk Behavior








Secondary Prevention:

Specialized Group

Systems for Students with At-Risk Behavior



Primary Prevention:


Wide Systems for

All Students,

Staff, & Settings


~80% of Students


Student Meets CC&E Criteria

Via SSBD Screening, ODRs,Teacher Nomination

Program Phases

Daily Program Routine

Basic Program



Basic Plus Program

(as needed)









how has screening changed the way we do business in highline
How has screening changed the way we do business in Highline?
  • Helps us match students to building supports
  • Provided teams with common language
  • Strengthened behavioral expertise for all staff
  • Students are identified earlier & more efficiently without having to “qualify”Oct.vs Apr
  • Helped make the shift in thinking about addressing behavioral concerns the same way we address academic concerns -
  • Teach! Re-teach! Model! Practice & Motivate!
how might screening work in your school

How might screening work in your school?

What questions do you have for us?