BASC-2 Frequently Asked Questions

Which BASC-2 form should I use?

The BASC-2 consists of the Teacher Rating Scales (TRS), Parent Rating Scales (PRS), Self-Report of Personality (SRP), Student Observation System (SOS), and Structured Developmental History (SDH). These forms have the following uses:

  • The TRS is given to teachers to rate the child's behavior in the school setting.
  • The PRS is given to parents (birth, foster, or adoptive), guardians, or custodial caregivers to rate the child's behavior observed at home.
  • The SRP is given to the person being evaluated, who answers statements about his or her thoughts and feelings.
  • The SOS is used by psychologists and other education professionals for observing and recording the child's behavior in the classroom.
  • The SDH is completed by a clinician or parent to gather the child's developmental and medical history.

What are the relationships among BASC-2 components? How do I integrate data from multiple ratings and self-reports?

Results obtained using any of the BASC-2 components should always be interpreted in the context of other case information, including developmental history, interviews, academic records, observations, and other qualitative and quantitative sources.

The Multi-Rater Report in the BASC-2 ASSIST™ and BASC-2 ASSIST™ Plus software program allows users to compare results from any combination of a maximum of five TRS and PRS forms.

Can a computer-entry form be hand scored, or can a hand-scored form be computer scored?

Computer-entry forms cannot be hand scored. Hand-scored forms can be scored with the scoring software; however, it is easier and more cost-effective to use computer-entry forms rather than hand-scored forms for computer scoring.

What is the difference between the BASC-2 ASSIST™ and BASC-2 ASSIST™ Plus?

Both the BASC-2 ASSIST and the BASC-2 ASSIST Plus score and report TRS, PRS, and SRP results. Both programs generate profiles, calculate validity indexes, identify strengths and weaknesses, and compute multirater comparisons and progress reports. The BASC-2 ASSIST Plus includes additional features such as scoring and reporting of content scales, target behaviors for intervention, and the relationships to diagnostic criteria for various categories outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR).

Does the BASC-2 ASSIST™ generate reports in Spanish?

No, the BASC-2 ASSIST reports are not available in Spanish.

Are the content scale norms available if you don't have the BASC-2 ASSIST™ Plus?

The BASC-2 ASSIST Plus is required for scoring content scales. Users may view the content-scale normative tables by viewing the file labeled "content scales.pdf," found on the BASC-2 ASSIST/ASSIST Plus installation disc.

How should I respond to a teacher who is reluctant to mark Never because he or she doesn't know what the child does outside the classroom?

There are two parts to this answer. First, teachers should know that the purpose of the TRS is to find out what behaviors the teacher has observed. With few exceptions (discussed below), the TRS items ask teachers to describe how the student behaves in their classroom. Answering "Never" simply means, "Never in my presence." At the junior-high or senior-high school level, it may take input from several teachers to obtain a representative picture of the student's overall school behavior.

Second, there are a handful of TRS items that ask about behaviors that occur largely outside the classroom. These are the items that ask about smoking, being in trouble, or cheating or deceiving others. For these items, the teacher should rely on his or her direct knowledge of the student's behavior.

The TRS forms have been modified slightly to explain better how the "Never" response should be used. The text below was added to the rater's instructions:

    Please mark every item. If you don't know or are unsure of your response to an item, give your best estimate. A "Never" response does not mean that the child "never" engages in a behavior, only that you have not observed the child to behave that way.

Which norm sample should I use?

The BASC-2 Manual gives an excellent discussion of this on page 13. General, combined-sex norms are preferred for most cases, but the separate-sex and Clinical norms have advantages, too.

Separate-sex norms are based on subsets of the combined-sex norm samples. Using separate-sex norms eliminates the differences between males and females in the distribution of T scores or percentiles. Separate-sex norms also help identify children whose level of ratings or self-reports is rare for their age and sex. For example, a female's Aggression rating may be extremely high when compared with those of other females, but may not be high when compared to self-ratings of both females and males in the general population.

Clinical norms are helpful when a child's problems are extreme compared to those of the general population. Ceiling effects sometimes occur when behavior ratings of children who have significant problems are compared to the ratings of the nonreferred population making up the General norm sample; such effects may make differential diagnosis of behavior problems quite difficult. The Clinical norm sample reveals elevations more sharply and allows psychologists to examine a child's profile for information that may aid in differential diagnosis.

The BASC-2 forms and software allow more than a single set of norms to be reported for a particular case. The authors recommend the use of General, combined-sex norms supplemented by either the separate-sex or Clinical norms.

Why might the same T score result in two different percentile ranks

T scores and percentiles provide different kinds of information: T scores describe distance from the mean, and percentiles describe rarity.

Because the different BASC-2 scales have varying distribution shapes, the relationship between T scores and percentiles varies slightly across scales. For example, on a scale such as Attention Problems, which has an approximately normal distribution, a T score of 70 corresponds to a percentile of 97. In contrast, on the skewed Aggression scale of the TRS, the same T score of 70 has a percentile rank of about 94, that is, about 6 percent of people obtain T scores of 70 or higher on this scale.

The BASC-2 T scores are not normalized; they are linear transformations of raw scores, so they preserve the shape of the raw-score distributions, some of which are significantly skewed. The distribution of the Aggression scale, for example, is skewed; there are many scores clustered around the mean, but there are more extremely high raw scores than you would find in a normal distribution.

What information is available for special populations?

In addition to the BASC-2 Clinical norms, which are representative of a variety of clinical conditions, there are two subsets of norms: Learning Disability (LD) and ADHD. These norms can be found in the BASC-2 Manual. The Manual also has sample profiles for several clinical groups: ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Depression Disorders, Emotional/Behavioral Disturbance, Hearing Impairment, Learning Disability, Mental Retardation or Developmental Delay, Motor Impairment, Pervasive Developmental Disorders (including Asperger's and Autism), and Speech or Language Disorder. The Manual includes a discussion of the noteworthy features of each group's profiles, an important aid in differential diagnosis. In addition, numerous studies are available and listed in the BASC-2 online bibliography.

Why are there no clinical norms for ages 2 through 3?

At these very young ages, "clinical" cases are very rare, and the concept of a clinical case is not well defined.

Is the BASC-2 normed for use with Spanish-speaking populations?

Spanish-speaking parents and children were included in the standardization samples. However, separate Spanish norms are not available. Information on the psychometric properties of the Spanish-language instruments is provided in Chapter 16 of the BASC-2 Manual.

I just gave a BASC-2 test, and I would like to know how to plan for follow-up testing. How long should I wait before administering a posttest?

Whether you've administered the BASC-2 TRS, PRS, or SRP, several factors should be considered before follow-up testing is scheduled. First, take into account the type and severity of the problem behavior(s), as well as whether the child has been diagnosed with a clinical condition. The outcome, if any, of the intervention(s) employed should also be examined. In most cases, a period of at least several months should elapse before a second testing takes place.

Does the SRP Anxiety scale have a higher ceiling in BASC-2 in comparison to the BASC?

Yes. In the BASC revision, an effort was made to increase the number of items intended to measure high anxiety levels on the SRP Anxiety scale. The increase in item content allows for a greater range of T scores, to differentiate better the self-reports of clinical anxiety conditions from self-reports of mild to moderate anxiety problems. Elevated Anxiety scores indicate the need for further assessment and evaluation.

Does the BASC-2 provide information related to the DSM-IV-TR?

Several BASC-2 scales contain items whose content correlates to diagnostic criteria for various clinical categories listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The software reports generated by the BASC-2 ASSIST™ Plus feature listings of such diagnostic criteria as they relate to items from BASC-2 test forms.

Is there research available about the relationship between social maladjustment and emotional disturbance? Also, is there any evidence to uphold that there is a well-defined group of children who can be adequately labeled as "socially maladjusted"?

The following response is excerpted from A Clinician's Guide to the BASC (2002, Guilford Publications), by Reynolds and Kamphaus.

Emotional Disturbance/IDEA

The Individuals with Disabilities Act, reauthorized in 1997, essentially provides a diagnostic system for use by schools that seeks to create a standard for determining if a child is eligible for special education and/or related services. According to the law and its associated regulations a case "emotional disturbance" is defined as:

    • (A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
      (B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
      (C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
      (D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
      (E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
  • (4) Emotional disturbance is defined as follows:
    (i) The term means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child's educational performance: (ii) The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance. (Federal Register, March 12, 1999, Section 300.7, p. 12423)

As is evident from the definition there is considerable room for variation in its application. The definition is likely to be applied in very different ways due to differences in local and state policies and regulations, geographical differences in the epidemiology of child problems, and social/cultural factors, among others. Therefore, our advice for using the BASC as part of the special education qualification process is necessarily generic. We think that the BASC is well suited to providing evidence of the presence, longevity, and severity of child behavior problems but that local factors must be considered when making decisions regarding qualification for special education services. Furthermore, we think that the BASC, or any other scale for that matter, should not be used for qualification purposes per se, especially in light of the fact that the qualification decision is mandated to be a multidisciplinary process. Our strategy for using the BASC in such work follows.

First, BASC scales may be used to identify problems with "one or more of the following characteristics" as shown in Table 5.1. This table is not exhaustive; it merely highlights scales that may be particularly relevant. It is conceivable that many of the scales will be relevant in some cases.

The rationale for including these selected scales is that they may have relevant item content, were part of a profile for a relevant clinical population (e.g. children with depression), or other research has found the scale to be predictive of school adjustment (e.g. the Adaptability scale).

Table 5.1

BASC Scales That May Be of Value for Documenting "Emotional Disturbance" Forms and Scales


Interpersonal relationship problems Social skills, Aggression, Withdrawal, Adaptability, Learning Problems Social Skills, Aggression, Withdrawal, Adaptability Social Stress, Interpersonal Relationships, Attitude to Teachers, Relations with Parents
Inappropriate behavior or feelings Atypicality Withdrawal, Social Skills, Learning Problems Atypicality, Withdrawal, Social Skills Atypicality
Unhappiness or depression Depression, Learning Problems Depression Depression, Sense of Inadequacy
Physical symptoms or fears Somatization, Learning Problems Somatization Somatization
Inability to learn Any clinical scale Any clinical scale Any clinical scale

Second, the criterion of "marked degree" is answered by the use of norm-referenced T scores. We suggest that clinical or adaptive skills scores in the "at-risk" range may designate an impairment of this magnitude. Scores of 60 and above on clinical scales and 40 of below on adaptive scales would meet this standard. These scores reflect problems that are one standard deviation from the mean and, as was demonstrated in some studies of ADHD, may signify the presence of a DSM-IV disorder. Using scores in the at-risk range also allows us to error in the direction of including more false positives than false negatives which is a commonly accepted practice.

Third, the criterion of "long period of time" will require multiple BASC administrations at various time points. Typically, the BASC is used as part of a pre-referral screening assessment process in schools. Consequently, if a child is followed through this process she or he will have a pre-referral BASC, assessment of response to pre-referral intervention BASC (TRS or PRS or both), and a BASC completed at the time of assessment for qualification for special education as a case of emotional disturbance. While to some this number of administrations seems excessive sound statistical precedent suggests that three assessments are the minimum required to obtain a stable trend (as noted elsewhere in this volume).

Essentially, regarding IDEA and emotional disturbance, we are laboring with imperfect diagnostic criteria being applied variably by a group decision-making process. In this context, the BASC is best used to document presence, severity, and longevity of problems. These three IDEA criteria are, however, the crux of the process of making a determination of emotional problems that are in need of specialized services. The "effects" of these problems of academic progress lies outside the realm of the BASC with one exception. The Learning Problems scale of the TRS serves as one indicator of the presence of learning problems especially when considered with other academic achievement measures.

Note. From A Clinician's Guide to the BASC, by C. R. Reynolds and R. W. Kamphaus, 2002, New York: The Guilford Press. Copyright 2002 by The Guilford Press. Reprinted with permission.

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