Is Universal Screening Worth the Investment for Schools?
Universal Screening in Educational Settings: Evidence-Based Decision Making for Schools, edited by Ryan J. Kettler, Todd A. Glover, Craig A. Albers, and Kelly A. Feeney-Kettler, addresses the utility of universal screenings in schools for assessing academic competencies and the socioemotional and behavioral needs of students. The book provides guidance for implementing universal screening in educational settings and framing the approach within a Response to Intervention (RTI) model, and it heralds the use of screening as an important strategy for improving school performance.
According to reviewer Oscar Barbarin, the book makes a convincing case for universal screenings in educational settings, as it “highlights the relevance and applicability of psychological science to many of the most pressing and worrisome issues facing schools” (para. 8). Barbarin also points out lingering issues that need further consideration:
• Although schools are likely to see the value in screening for academic competencies given the current climate of “high-stakes” testing, the same cannot be said for allocating resources to universal socioemotional and behavioral screening. Do you agree with this assumption? Can a convincing case be made that socialemotional/behavioral screening is worth the investment given schools’ limited resources?
• Barbarin believes there is “the danger of reifying children’s status on a screening tool in a way that transforms individual differences on a screening tool into a category such asdeficient, at risk, or failing” (para. 9). Do you agree that this is cause for concern? How can schools minimize the risk of labeling on the basis of results from screening?
By Oscar Barbarin
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(32)