Behavioral Assessment

Authored by: Jeffrey A. Miller , Stacie A. Leffard

The Clinical Assessment of Children and Adolescents: A Practitioner’s Handbook

Print publication date:  August  2006
Online publication date:  September  2015

Print ISBN: 9780805857917
eBook ISBN: 9781315827308
Adobe ISBN: 9781317843474


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Behavioral assessment is a primary assessment process for use with children and adolescents and is necessary for all aspects of multimethod child assessment (Merrell, 2003). For example, behavioral assessment methods are included in all four of Sattler’s (2001) pillars of assessment: norm-referenced testing, interviews, observations, and informal assessment procedures. Surprisingly, even norm-referenced tests, such as the NEPSY: A Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment (Kemp, Kirk, & Korkman, 2001), include behavioral observation systems. McConaughy and Achenbach (2004) have developed an observational system to be administered during individualized testing. The other three pillars, interviews, observations, and various informal assessment procedures, are all techniques for gathering behavioral assessment data. Despite its broad implications and importance, there is no one universally accepted definition of or procedure for behavioral assessment. The purpose of this chapter is to describe behavioral assessment and its purposes, to explain methods of data collection, and to make procedural recommendations for data integration and interpretation. To begin to clarify the meaning of behavioral assessment, one must compare it with other assessment orientations.

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