Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Carl Myers (Director), Dr. Elizabeth Jones, Dr. Reagan Brown

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Specialist in Education


Behavior rating scales are commonly used as part of the evaluation process throughout the field of psychology. Behavior rating scales help assess social, emotional, and/or behavioral problems in children, adolescents, and teens. Behavior rating scales indicate the severity of problem behaviors compared to a normative sample. Four scenarios were developed that varied scores on a behavior rating scale and the amount of other information that supported a specific diagnosis. A rating of the likelihood of a diagnosis was requested to see how much influence behavior rating scale scores have on diagnostic decision-making. Each of the four scenarios was sent to 200 school psychologists across the country for a total of 800 potential participants. An overall response rate of 37.5% was achieved. The findings revealed that behavior rating scales do have some influence on school psychologists’ diagnostic decision-making. However, school psychologists put more weight on other supporting information, such as classroom observations and teacher and parent reports, than on behavior rating scale scores when making a diagnostic decision.


Child Psychology | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology