SAED-3: Scales for Assessing Emotional Disturbance-Third Edition

Testing Time:

Screener—2 minutes;
Rating Scale—10 minutes;
Observation Form—40 to 50 minutes;
Questionnaire—25 minutes

Administration: Individual

 The Scales for Assessing Emotional Disturbance–Third Edition (SAED-3) will help special educators, education diagnosticians, school psychologists, and other professionals identify students with emotional disturbance (ED). The SAED-3 includes a norm-referenced 45-item Rating Scale, a norm-referenced 10-item Screener, a supplemental Screener Decision Summary Form, a Developmental/Educational Questionnaire, and an Observation Form. These components can be used alone or in various combinations to create IEP goals, supplement other Functional Behavior Assessments, document progress, and facilitate research. Each measure is described briefly below.

Rating Scale: This is a standardized measure containing 45 items that can be used as part of a comprehensive ED evaluation. It has five core subscales (Inability to Learn, Relationship Problems, Inappropriate Behavior, Unhappiness or Depression, Physical Symptoms or Fears) and one supplemental subscale (Socially Maladjusted) for use with students ages 12-0 through 18-11. It can be completed by educators familiar with the student’s behavior for at least 2 months. Each item is rated on a 4-point scale: 0, not a problem; 1, mild problem; 2, considerable problem; or 3, severe problem. The Rating Scale yields a scaled score having a mean of 10 and standard deviation of 3.

Screener: The Screener is a 10-item rating scale that helps identify students who are at risk for ED. It can be completed for an individual or for groups of students by educators who are familiar with the behavior of the student(s). Each item is rated on a 4-point scale: 0, not a problem; 1, mild problem; 2, considerable problem; or 3, severe problem. Scores for each item are summed to obtain the Screener Score. Screener Scores are compared to age- and school-level-based cut scores.

Developmental/Educational Questionnaire: The Developmental/Educational Questionnaire is a structured interview designed to gather information from a student’s parent or primary caregiver. Interview items are broken into four sections (Personal and Background Information, Birth and Health Information, Student’s Development and Status, and Family’s Status).

Observation Form: This supplemental form is an assessment tool relying on direct observation methods to assess students’ classroom behavior and emotional problems. It measures observable aspects of the five characteristics of ED (i.e., Inability to Learn, Relationship Problems, Inappropriate Behavior, Unhappiness or Depression, and Physical Symptoms or Fears).

Demographic Characteristics: The characteristics of the normative data (i.e., 1,430 students from 23 states and 180 zip codes) closely match those reported in the ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States 2019 (ProQuest, 2018) and the Digest of Education Statistics 2013 (Snyder & Dillow, 2015). Norms are stratified by school level (lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school).

Statistical Characteristics: Internal consistency reliability coefficients for the SAED-3 Rating Scale subscales range from .79 to .92 (median = .86). The average coefficient for the Rating Scale Index is .96. The average internal consistency coefficient for the Screener is .88. Test–retest and interrater reliabilities for the SAED-3 Screener and Rating Scale subscales all round to or exceed .80.

Content-description validity is demonstrated through careful documentation of item selection and analysis, including bias reviews on all items for gender, race, and Hispanic status. Criterion-prediction studies indicate mostly very large or nearly perfect correlations between the Rating Scale subscales and the Behavior Assessment System for Children–Second Edition (BASC-2) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) composites, and large and nearly perfect correlations between the Rating Scale Index and BASC-2 Behavioral Symptom Index and SDQ Total Difficulties composite, respectively. Diagnostic accuracy analyses for the Rating Scale resulted in sensitivities greater than .70, specificities greater than .80, and ROC/AUCs that round to or exceed .70 when differentiating students with ED from typically developing students.

Construct-identification validity is demonstrated by including studies of subgroup performance and confirmative factor analysis of the Rating Scale’s structure. These studies indicate that the SAED-3’s internal structure is sound and its results are valid for including in an evaluation of ED.

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