Direct behavior rating as a school-based behavior universal screener: Replication across sites

Stephen P. Kilgus, T. Chris Riley-Tillman, Sandra M. Chafouleas, Theodore J. Christ, Megan E. Welsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the utility of Direct Behavior Rating Single Item Scale (DBR-SIS) targets of disruptive, engaged, and respectful behavior within school-based universal screening. Participants included 31 first-, 25 fourth-, and 23 seventh-grade teachers and their 1108 students, sampled from 13 schools across three geographic locations (northeast, southeast, and midwest). Each teacher rated approximately 15 of their students across three measures, including DBR-SIS, the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (Kamphaus & Reynolds, 2007), and the Student Risk Screening Scale (Drummond, 1994). Moderate to high bivariate correlations and area under the curve statistics supported concurrent validity and diagnostic accuracy of DBR-SIS. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses indicated that although respectful behavior cut scores recommended for screening remained constant across grade levels, cut scores varied for disruptive behavior and academic engaged behavior. Specific cut scores for first grade included 2 or less for disruptive behavior, 7 or greater for academically engaged behavior, and 9 or greater for respectful behavior. In fourth and seventh grades, cut scores changed to 1 or less for disruptive behavior and 8 or greater for academically engaged behavior, and remained the same for respectful behavior. Findings indicated that disruptive behavior was particularly appropriate for use in screening at first grade, whereas academically engaged behavior was most appropriate at both fourth and seventh grades. Each set of cut scores was associated with acceptable sensitivity (79-87), specificity (71-82), and negative predictive power (94-96), but low positive predictive power (43-44). DBR-SIS multiple gating procedures, through which students were only considered at risk overall if they exceeded cut scores on 2 or more DBR-SIS targets, were also determined acceptable in first and seventh grades, as the use of both disruptive behavior and academically engaged behavior in defining risk yielded acceptable conditional probability indices. Overall, the current findings are consistent with previous research, yielding further support for the DBR-SIS as a universal screener. Limitations, implications for practice, and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-82
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of school psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this article was supported by funding provided by the Institute for Education Sciences , U.S. Department of Education ( R324B060014 ). Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position of the U.S. Department of Education, and such endorsements should not be inferred.

Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Behavior assessment
  • Diagnostic accuracy
  • Direct behavior rating


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