Transition Behavior Scale

The Transition Behavior Scale, Second Edition (TBS-2) has as its intention the identification of behaviors that are thought to interfere with successful societal transition and employment from high school to adult life for special needs students. There are two versions of the TBS-2: a self-report instrument (to be completed by the student) and a school instrument (the identified student is rated by school personnel who can reasonably observe the student). Each of the versions has subscales to identify work-related skills, interpersonal relations, and social-community expectations. The scales are accompanied by a manual to provide goals, objectives, and interventions for an array of behaviors that may limit successful independent living and work adjustment.

Reliability and Validity

Each scale is accompanied by a technical manual providing a concise literature review and sections on item development, sampling, reliability, validity, and administration. The technical information is reasonably comprehensive and subscribes to all psychometric standards of instrument development. The samples (over 2,500 students) upon which the data are based appear to be diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography. The students in the sample were randomly selected at the selected school sites and site personnel were given specific instructions not to exclude any student. Measures of reliability include internal consistency, test-retest, and interrater (for the school version). Examples of construct validity (factor analyses), content validity, and criterion relayed validity were all demonstrated appropriately. Administration guidelines are included.


Each manual has a brief chapter regarding interpretation. The chapter provides information on scoring each scale’s meaning, conversion to a standard score, and developing a scale profile. As well, the chapter suggests that any score more than one standard deviation below a normative mean that is provided indicates that intervention may need to occur. This conclusion and the interventions suggested are based on the literature and assumptions that being below the norm of a group of selected students might require an individualized education plan (IEP).


The TBS-2 as a scale is well supported through the literature. The technical qualities of the scales are generally sound and presented clearly by the authors. The scales to be administered to students directly or used to rate students by site personnel appear to be easy to use. The IEP and intervention manual are comprehensive and complete with over 200 pages of goals, objectives, and direct interventions.

With the above in mind, one caveat needs to be stressed. As with any measure that leads to recommended intervention, outcomes of that intervention in terms of eventual success go to the validity of the measure itself. Thus, with the TBS-2 a student who scores or is rated one standard deviation below some normative mean is said to need skills to ensure transition or job success. Although the recommended intervention is rational and has a basis in the literature, no direct evidence of success is provided.


  1. Brown, R. (1998). [Review of the Work Adjustment Scale.] In J. C. Impara & B. S. Plake (Eds.), The thirteenth mental measurements yearbook. Lincoln, NE: Buros Institute of Mental Measures.
  2. McCarney, S. B., & Anderson, P. D. (2000). Transition Behavior Scale (2nd ed.). Columbia, MO: Hawthorne Educational Services.

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