Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Date of this Version



Adm Policy Ment Health. 2015 May ; 42(3): 356–362.


© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014. Used by permission.


Tests that measure the emotional and behavioral problems of children and youth are typically not normed and standardized on youth diagnosed with disruptive behavior, particularly those youth in residential care. Yet professional standards mandate that before instruments are used with a specific population the psychometric properties need to be studied and re-established: specifically, psychometric properties, including validity, need to be evaluated (AERA, APA, & NCME, 1999). The purpose of the present study was to assess the validity characteristics of the Symptoms and Functioning Severity Scale (SFSS; Bickman, et al., 2010), a widely used test developed for use in outpatient clinics, with youth in a residential care program. The convergent validity of the SFSS was established with the large correlations (.78-.86) with the CBCL. Several binary classification analyses including specificity, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, positive and negative likelihood ratios, and the Youden Index supported the validity of the SFSS. However, the sensitivity index was somewhat low indicating the test may produce a high level of false negatives. Limitations, future research and implications are discussed.