Behavior Assessment System for Children

The Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2) is used to facilitate differential diagnosis in individuals ages 2 to 25 years old. The BASC-2 comprises three forms: the Teacher Rating Scale (TRS), the Parent Rating Scale (PRS), and the Self-Report of Personality (SRP). The Teacher Rating Scale and the Parent Rating Scale have three versions delineated by age: preschool (2 through 5), child (6 through 11), and adolescent (12 through 21). Likewise, the SRP includes three forms differentiated by age: 8 through 11, 12 through 21, and 18 through 25. Both the PRS and SRP are available in Spanish for individuals living in the United States.

Informants—parents and teachers completing the relevant forms—provide ratings based on a 4-point response scale, ranging from never to almost always. The SRP includes items rated on a 2-point response scale—true or false—while other items use a 4-point response scale. The BASC can be scored by hand or with computer software, which provides percentile ranks and T scores (M = 50, SD = 10). Interpretive information is provided by composite, primary, and (optional) content scales. In addition, the BASC-2 includes a Behavioral Symptoms Index and four composite scores, which offer broad estimates of behavioral problems and individual strengths.

The general norm sample included approximately 13,000 individuals. Data were collected from 375 sites, located in 257 cities, in 40 states across the country. Data collection sites included schools, mental health clinics, and day care facilities. General norm samples—collected from general-education classrooms—were similar to U.S. population estimates on specific variables: socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, gender, and geographic region. Clinical norm samples did not reflect U.S. census estimates.

Coefficient alpha reliabilities for the Behavioral Symptom Index and composite scores range from .94 to .97 on Externalizing Problems, .87 to .92 on Internalizing Problems, .91 to .97 on Adaptive Skills, .92 to .94 on School Problems, and .95 to.97 on the Behavioral Symptoms Index. Clinical norm samples produced similar correlations on parallel composites. Test-retest reliability coefficients are based on individuals—including persons from general and clinical samples—rated by the same teacher. The stability of the BASC-2, measured with a retest interval of 8 to 65 days, is adequate, with coefficients ranging from .78 to 91. Inter-rater reliability estimates were based on responses of two raters. The rating intervals range from 0 to 62 days. Correlations for composite scores range from .53 to .65.

Construct validity, evidenced by factor analysis, supports four factors for the Teacher Rating Scale and Self-Report of Personality: Externalizing Problems, Internalizing Problems, Adaptability, and School Problems. Factor analysis for the PRS evidences identical factors, excluding School Problems. Criterion related validity, as shown by correlations between similar composite scores, was acceptable. For example, correlations between Externalizing Problems scores range from .73 to .84; between Internalizing Problems scores, the range is from .65 to .75.

The BASC-2 provides practitioners with a multi-method and multidimensional assessment of behavioral, social, and emotional competencies. It is an attractive measure for several reasons. Data are gathered from a variety of sources, in multiple settings, that represent pertinent diagnostic information. Additionally, the BASC-2 provides estimates of problematic behavior and positive attributes; therefore, desirable qualities can be incorporated into treatment planning. For the purposes of classification and diagnosis, comprehensive assessment—including a functional behavior analysis— is quintessential. Therefore, the BASC-2 is one of the many sources of a thorough assessment.


  1. Reynolds, C. R., & Kamphaus, R. W. (2004). Behavior Assessment for Children-Second Edition. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Services.
  2. Sattler, J. M., & Hodge, R. D. (2006). Assessment of children: Behavioral, social, and clinical foundations (5th ed., pp. 278-280). La Mesa, CA: Sattler.

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