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Measures for Screening, Assessment, and Evaluating Practice

Measures for Screening, Assessment, and Evaluating Practice

POST UPDATED 12/21/2019 

Is this student appropriate for group? How significant are the student’s presenting issues? Are my interventions making a difference?

Being able to objectively justify our choice of interventions and quantitatively demonstrate their effectiveness is becoming increasingly dire as resources available to schools are constantly being stretched.

In addition to establishing job security, social workers are ethically compelled to monitor and evaluate policies, the implementation of programs, and practice interventions (NASW Code of Ethics 5.02a).

I’ve compiled a (non-exhaustive) list of resources for screening, assessment, and evaluation of practice. Some of the resources are measurements that are free and other resources are links to compendiums of measurements with reviews.

21 Free Measures of Risk and Protective Factors for Youth *FREELY ACCESSIBLE*
Assessments for a range of potential intervention targets, such as students’ perceptions of their school experiences, depression, social support, stress, and risky behaviors. These initial assessment tools were collected and developed as part of ongoing legislative work for Ohio’s Family & Children First partnership. All of the tools in this pdf are free and available to reprint and use immediately.

CASEL SEL Assessment Guide
The Assessment Guide provides several resources for leaders and implementation teams in PreK-12th grade settings who are making decisions about selecting and using measures of student SEL. This includes guidance on how to select an assessment and use student SEL competency data, a catalog from which to select assessments, equipped with filters and bookmarking, and real-world accounts of how practitioners are using these data

The RAND Education Assessment Finder
A web-based tool that provides information about assessments of K-12 students’ interpersonal, intrapersonal, and higher-order cognitive competencies. Practitioners, researchers, and policymakers can use it to explore what assessments are available, what they are designed to measure, how they are administered, what demands they place on students and teachers, and what kinds of uses their scores support.

Mental Health Screening and Evaluation Compendium *FREELY ACCESSIBLE*
Provides a comprehensive source of freely accessible no-cost mental health, social-emotional, and behavioral screening tools for children and adolescents.

Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)*FREELY ACCESSIBLE*
The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief behavioral screening questionnaire for 3-16 year olds. It measures emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, peer relationship problems, and pro-social behaviors. The SDQ can be used for screening, assessment, and evaluation of practice–making it extremely versatile. The questionnaire’s website offers online scoring and report generation (paid feature).

Measuring Violence-Related Attitudes, Behaviors, and Influences Among Youths: A Compendium of Assessment Tools – Second Edition*FREELY ACCESSIBLE*
Developed by the Center for Disease Control, this compendium provides researchers and prevention specialists with a set of tools to assess violence-related beliefs, behaviors, and influences, as well as to evaluate programs to prevent youth violence. Includes scales.

Measuring Bullying Victimization, Perpetration, and Bystander Experiences: A Compendium of Assessment Tools*FREELY ACCESSIBLE*
This compendium provides researchers, prevention specialists, and health educators with tools to measure a range of bullying experiences: bully perpetration, bully victimization, bully-victim experiences, and bystander experiences. Includes scales.

Compendium of Screening Tools for Early Childhood Social-Emotional Development
Has some overlap with the CASEL tool, but the document is more user-friendly

Social-Emotional Learning Assessment Measures for Middle School Youth
Developed by the Raikes Foundation, this report identifies research-based tools that measure social and emotional well-being of middle school students. Includes sample questions of the measures.

California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare
List of assessments used in child welfare–many applicable to school social work.

The Ohio Youth Problems, Functioning and Satisfaction Scales (Ohio scales) are instruments developed to measure outcomes for youth ages 5 to 18 who receive mental health services. To measure outcomes for youth, three parallel forms were developed (Ohio scales) for completion by the youth client, the youth’s parent or primary caretaker and the youth’s agency worker. The domains measured include problem severity, functioning, hopefulness and satisfaction. Key consumer-oriented materials have been translated into other languages, including the outcomes instruments. The translations currently available include Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

Single-System Design Analysis (SSD for R)*FREELY ACCESSIBLE*
Statistical software to evaluate practice. Created by social workers! Has training videos and tips via Twitter.

DSM 5 Online Assessment Measures *FREELY ACCESSIBLE*
For further clinical evaluation and research, the APA is offering a number of “emerging measures” in Section III of DSM-5. These patient assessment measures were developed to be administered at the initial patient interview and to monitor treatment progress, thus serving to advance the use of initial symptomatic status and patient reported outcome (PRO) information, as well as the use of “anchored” severity assessment instruments. Instructions, scoring information, and interpretation guidelines are included.

I’d love to hear what other social workers are using to screen, assess, or evaluate practice. Leave a comment!

About The Author

Scott Carchedi

Scott Carchedi is the founder and co-editor of SSWN. Scott provides technology support and consultative services to school social work associations across the US. Scott is also a practicing school social worker in the western suburbs of Chicago, serving grades 9-12.


  1. ScottCarchedi

    Comment from Wendy Zeitlin Schudrich on Linkedin NASW Group:
    Thank you! This is great! One thing that I have that may also prove helpful is FREE software designed to help you track these measures with your clients over time. It is called SSD for R (Single-System Design for R). This software was designed by me and my colleague, Dr. Charles Auerbach – we are both affiliated with Wurzweiler School of Social Work in NYC. If you go to our website, there is all sorts of information and videos about using the software and instructions for downloading what you need. Also, if anyone downloads it and needs help, feel free to contact me. Our site is: We also have a Facebook page and Twitter account so you can connect to others looking to evaluate their practices.By Wendy Zeitlin Schudrich

  2. Anonymous

    In Ontario, many children’s mental health organizations have historically used the Brief Child and Family Phone (BCFPI) Interview for an initial screening tool.

    Another useful tool for School Social Workers, that I don’t believe is included, is the School Refusal Assessment Scale (SRAS).

    We also use some measures developed by the Centre for Emotional Health. The link is:

  3. Madrone

    Thank you for this very useful and practical information! So grateful

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