Behavioral & Emotional Screening System

Universal Screening

  • The City Schools of Decatur is committed to creating a culture of student support that addresses  the needs of the whole child. One way we are supporting the whole child is by identifying student strengths and areas for growth relative to social, emotional, and behavioral well-being. In our continuing efforts to support the well-being of all students, we will administer a universal screener of social, emotional & behavioral health. The universal screener that was chosen by the District to help identify student strengths and areas for growth is the BASC-3 Behavior and Emotional Screening Scale (BASC-3 BESS).

    The BASC-3 Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS) is a universal screener that is research-based (valid and reliable), easy to administer (given online with instant results), and quick (avg time 15 min). It provides a systematic way to determine students’ behavioral and emotional strengths and weaknesses. This information helps our schools  to understand the needs of all students, and to make effective plans to support those needs at the school, class, and individual levels. The screener will be administered at grade levels 3, 6 and 9 during the Fall semester, Sep. 20 – Oct. 1, plus again Feb. 16 – Mar. 1, 2022. 


    Why is the BESS Administered?


    • Helps to identify children that may need support that school may not otherwise know about.

    • Identifies students who may not know how to or choose not to advocate for themselves

    • Identifies students whose academic and behavioral success masks social/emotional struggles

    • Creates an evidenced-based pathway for students to receive additional supports

    • Provides information to help school personnel focus their effort/time on students with the highest needs

    • Provides information to help individual schools make “big picture” programming decisions and see large-scale trends across the district


    Who will take the BESS


    All students in grades 3, 6 and 9 will take the self-report version of the BESS in order to universally screen for at-risk social emotional challenges. Students that report overall scores that fall within the very elevated risk range will be screened further by their teacher. This second level of screening will help to connect students to individualized supports to increase early intervention.


    How are scores interpreted ?


    The BESS is an individualized rating scale that, when scored, gives T-Scores. These T-Scores are explained below: 


    • Normal Risk: 60 or lower

    • Elevated Risk: 61-70

    • Extremely Elevated Risk: 71 or higher


    Student results are assigned a Behavioral and Emotional Response Index T-Score  (BERI T Score) that indicates how far their score is from the average ratings of other children their age. The average BERI T score for the BESS is 50. Along with the BERI score, the BESS also measures the following sub areas to help inform interventions or needs of the child. 


    Screener Index Explanations

    • BERI – Behavioral and Emotional Risk Index (Overall Risk)

      • IRI – Internal Risk Index (Anxiety, Depression)

      • SRI – Self Regulation Risk Index (Self-Control)

      • PRI – Personal Adjustment Risk Index (Interpersonal, Relationships, Self-Esteem)

    All students in grade 3, 6 and 9 will be administered the BESS. If you do not want your child participating in this universal screening, please complete the opt-out form and return it to your child’s teacher as soon as possible.