Differences Between-teacher-Reports on Universal Risk Assessments: Exploring the Teacher’s Role in Universal Screening of Student Behavior

by Marissa Kate Millman

Institution: Miami University
Department: Psychology
Degree: MA
Year: 2015
Keywords: Psychology; universal screening, student behavior, rater differences
Record ID: 2058091
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=miami1416307832


Schools across the country universally screen students to identify those at risk of developing behavioral problems. Some screening processes require classroom teachers to complete a risk assessment measure on each student in their class, leading to a possible, but unexplored, problem; risk assessment scores may be influenced by the teacher completing the measure. The current study is the first to investigate whether teacher-reported risk assessment scores systematically differ between-teachers, and, in turn, whether these differences affect the relationship between strengths-based risk assessment scores and problem behavior. Classroom teachers completed a universal screener on 660 kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade students in an urban school district (M[age]=7.29 years). Researchers also obtained office discipline referral data to serve as a measure of problem behavior. Results indicated that 20.5% of the variance in risk assessment scores is attributed to between-teacher differences. Despite the presence of teacher differences, the relationship between the strengths-based risk assessment and problem behavior remained significant. These findings underscore the need to account for and control between-teacher differences in teacher-reported risk assessments.