A further validation study of the Screening for At-Risk Status instrument

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Oesch, Maureen
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University of Guelph

The present study extended the findings of previous research that validated the structure and predictive ability of an at-risk screening instrument. Students in grades 3 to 8 were screened using a scrambled version of the original instrument, to address a possible response set phenomenon. School performance measures were also collected for these same students, three years following the teacher ratings using the original version of the Screening for At-Risk Status. The response set phenomenon was not supported. Further, it was determined that the screening instrument should be used as a single construct of risk status, that captures the complexity of three behavioural domains: academic skills, social confidence and social cooperation, which lead to possible school failure. The correlations between the screening scores and performance measures at three years provided longitudinal evidence that the screening had predictive ability. This latest evidence should provide educators with the impetus to create a response system that allows students who are exhibiting some risk behaviours to receive specific support. This finding should also reveal the need for more general preventive programming that could be instituted school or board wide, in order to reduce the numbers of students who reach at-risk status.

at-risk, screening instrument, predictive ability, school performance measures, preventive programming