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FAQs on Use and Administration of ASEBA Forms

Q: What training do I need to use the ASEBA forms?

Q: May I make copies of the ASEBA forms?

Q: Can I print forms from the Client-Entry program and avoid purchasing paper forms from you since the Client Entry program allows unlimited administrations?

Q: I am handscoring the forms. What is the difference between a profile and a template?

Q: On the hand-scored profiles, why do the interval marks on the left and right sides of the profiles correspond to T score intervals but not to percentile intervals?

Q: Can I use a subset of the items on the forms?

Q: Some of my clients don't read or speak English. Can I make translations of your forms for them?

Q: The CBCL/1½-5 and the C-TRF/1½-5 both cover the same age range. How do I decide between them?

Q: There appears to be a gap when using these instruments for children who are between 5.0 and 6.0 years of age. Is neither version designed to cover this age bracket?

Q: The CBCL/6-18 and the TRF/6-18 both cover the same age range. How do I decide between them?

Q: The YSR and ASR (and CBCL/6-18 and ABCL) both say they can be used for 18-year-olds. How do I decide between them?

Q: I am worried about my child. Can I get a CBCL/6-18 to fill out about her?

Q: Should forms that have many unanswered items be entered and scored?

Q: Can the forms be administered orally or over the telephone?

Q: Can I use a rating period of less than the specified 2 or 6 months?

Q: How do I tell if I have the most recent version of a form or software program?

Q: Do you offer a discount on products to be used in training programs? How about for student research?

Q: How young a child can be validly assessed?

Q: How often can an individual be assessed?

 


Q: What training do I need to use the ASEBA forms?

Qualifications for use of our forms:

Qualifications for Administration
Our forms are designed to be self-explanatory. No special qualifications are needed for administering these forms beyond the tact and sensitivity that are necessary in all dealings with parents, teachers, children, and other clients. The forms require no more than a 5th grade reading level. They can also be administered orally to parents or youths whose reading skills are poor. When someone is asked to complete a form, it is helpful to explain that the aim is to obtain a picture of the subject’s behavior as that respondent sees it. Any limits on confidentiality and the intended use of the data should also be explained to the respondent.

Qualifications for Scoring
Each of our forms can be scored either by hand or by computer. Hand-scored profiles and computer programs are available for each of our forms. See our current catalog for more information. (Please note that the on-line version of our catalog requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader you may download it for free by clicking on the button below.)

Prior to scoring, each form should be checked by a person who has been trained to follow our instructions carefully, including how to handle items that request descriptions of behavior. This quality control step is essential whether the scoring is to be done by hand, by key entry into a computer. The forms can be hand-scored by following our instructions and using our profiles. Alternatively, our computer scoring programs provide instructions that can be followed by users familiar with basic computer procedures.

Qualifications for Interpretation

The proper clinical and research use and interpretation of our materials requires knowledge of the theory and methodology of standardized assessment procedures, as well as supervised training in working with parents, children, and other clients. The training required may differ according to the ways in which the data are to be used. Graduate training of at least the Master's degree level would ordinarily be expected. However, no amount of prior training can substitute for professional maturity and a thorough familiarity with the procedures and cautions presented in our Manuals. Please see those Manuals for additional specific information.

We require all purchasers of our materials to furnish evidence of their qualifications by completing a User Qualifications Form.

Additional Qualifications for use of the SCICA
In addition to knowledge of the theory and methodology of standardized assessment, administration of the SCICA requires supervised training in clinical interviewing of children and adolescents. Our standards are consistent with the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (1999) endorsed by the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and National Council on Measurement in Education. Users are expected to adhere to the ethical principles of organizations such as the American Psychological Association, National Association of School Psychologists, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

We require all purchasers of the SCICA to furnish evidence of their qualifications by completing a User Qualifications Form.

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Q: May I make copies of the ASEBA forms?

No. The CBCL, YSR, TRF, C-TRF, DOF, SCICA, TOF, ASR, ABCL, OAS, and OABCL, their scoring profiles, templates, computer software, manuals, and related books are all copyrighted. The copyrights provide legal protection against unauthorized reproduction and alteration of these materials. Violation of the copyrights is punishable by fines up to $100,000, plus civil penalties.

Beside being a violation of the copyright law, altered versions of the rating forms are apt to produce invalid data, because they would differ from the forms with which the normative, validity, and reliability data were obtained. Data obtained with altered forms would also lack comparability with the many studies that have used the standard forms.

Although we are occasionally asked for permission to reprint or alter our forms, we have learned that the disadvantages greatly outweigh the advantages for all concerned. Even when the alterations involve only changes of typestyle or format, these may have unanticipated effects on the respondents. Furthermore, changes that are inadvertent or seem insignificant can have unfortunate effects. As an example, in the Ontario Child Health Study of several thousand children, the definition of the 0 score for CBCL problem items was changed from Not true to Never or not true. This slight change was not noticed by the researchers until after the data had been collected and analyzed, yielding considerably higher problem scores for children in Ontario than in the U.S. When the change in wording was noticed, an experimental comparison was made between responses by Ontario parents receiving the original CBCL wording and parents receiving the altered wording that included the word never. This comparison showed that inclusion of the word never produced significantly fewer scores of 0 and significantly higher scores overall (Woodward et al., 1989, J. Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 30, 919-924).

Another problem with copied or altered forms is that others may use or copy them without realizing that they are not the standard forms and that they are violating copyright law, as well as obtaining invalid data.

Because we believe that the strengths of standardized procedures are lost when they are destandardized, we do not generally grant permission to copy or alter our forms. If you feel that you have an exceptionally compelling reason for requesting permission to reproduce or alter our forms, please complete an application for a license.

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Q: Can I print forms from the Client Entry program to avoid purchasing paper forms from you since the Client Entry program allows unlimited administrations?

No. It is a violation of copyright to copy, modify, or reprint any of our forms without explicit written permission from us. For more details, click here.

Also, the Client Entry program screens are very different from the paper forms. The prompts and flow of information are customized for computer interactions and are not appropriate for paper questionnaires.

Customized paper forms may be printed on demand from Web-Link, our Internet based program.

Q: I am hand scoring the forms. What is the difference between a profile and a template?

One hand-scoring profile is needed for each hand-scored form. The profile is where the scores from a form are displayed. The profile includes an area where the scores are graphed. Other areas include the various scales used by the forms. Profiles come in packs of 50.


A template is a reusable cardboard cut-out that can help in transferring the data from the forms completed by respondents to the hand-scored profiles.

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Q: On the hand-scored profiles, why do the interval marks on the left and right sides of the profiles correspond to T score intervals but not to percentile intervals?

The Manuals for the ASEBA forms explain how normalized T scores were assigned to "midpoint percentiles" on the basis of percentiles computed from cumulative frequency distributions of raw scores in normative samples. Owing to the normalized nature of the T scores, the T scores do not have 1-to-1 relations to percentiles. Some T scores represent multiple percentiles. Consequently, it is not possible to represent the percentiles in terms of equal intervals like those displayed on the hand-scored profiles for T scores. If you want to know the specific percentiles for a particular raw scale score, use the ASEBA computer-scoring software, which displays the percentile for each raw scale score.

Q: Can I use a subset of the items on the forms?

Reprinting our forms with less than the full complement of items is a violation of copyright.

We do not generally permit use of subsets of ASEBA problem items, because the data obtained with subsets would not be comparable to the normative, reliability, and validity data obtained with the standard set of items. The results obtained with subsets of items would also differ from the results obtained with the standard sets of items that have been used in thousands of studies.

Possible Exceptions:
  1. We would consider requests to omit up to about 8 problem items for special reasons, e.g., omission of alcohol and sex-related items for Muslim respondents.
  2. We would consider requests to omit open-ended responses to items that specify "describe" (e.g., items 2, 9, 29) and to omit CBCL and TRF items 113 that request the respondent to write in additional problems.
  3. We would consider requests to use subsets of competence and adaptive functioning items.
  4. We would consider requests to omit the demographic items at the beginning of each form, although age and gender are needed to score scales in relation to age/gender norms.

You may not modify, copy, or reprint our ASEBA forms without explicit written permission from us. For more details, click here. You may apply for a site license if you need to modify a form for one of the possible exceptions above.

If time is limited, you may want to use just the behavior problems. Our computer entry programs will allow you to enter and score just the behavior problems, and will create profiles based on those items. Simply cross out the sections of the forms that you do not want the respondent to complete.

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Q: Some of my clients don't read or speak English. Can I make translations of your forms for them?

Our forms have been translated into many languages. If you would like more information or would like to translate one of our forms, please contact us for more information.

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Q: The CBCL/1½-5 and the C-TRF/1½-5 both cover the same age range. How do I decide between them?

The CBCL/1½-5 is appropriate for parents or parent surrogates who are with the child in home-like settings. The C-TRF/1½-5 is usually appropriate for children in school programs or day care.

Both forms should be completed if possible when the child is with the parents at home and attending preschool or day care.

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Q: There appears to be a gap when using these instruments for children who are between 5.0 and 6.0 years of age. Is neither version designed to cover this age bracket?

ASEBA defines age as 'age attained.' That means a child who has reached his/her 5th birthday is considered to be 5 up to 5 years 11 months and 31 days. The School-Age Manual says: "For children who are a few months younger or older than the designated age range, there is not likely to be much error in using the forms and their norms. However, the greater the deviation in age from the norms, the less appropriate they will be. If children are to be reassessed over periods that are mainly within the age range designated for a school-age form but that include one or two assessments that are within about 4 months below or above the designated age range it may be better to use the school-age forms at all assessment points to maintain complete continuity of item and scale scores, rather than using instruments designated for younger or older ages." (Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for ASEBA School-Age Forms & Profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families, page 191.)

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Q: The CBCL/6-18 and the TRF/6-18 both cover the same age range. How do I decide between them?

Both forms should be completed if possible. The CBCL/6-18 is completed by the parents or parent surrogates and the TRF/6-18 by the child's teacher(s).

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Q: The YSR and ASR (and CBCL/6-18 and ABCL) both say they can be used for 18-year-olds. How do I decide between them?

For 18-year-olds who live with their parents and attend high school, the YSR and CBCL/6-18 would usually be preferable. For 18-year-olds who do not live with their parents, or do so only during vacations from college or the military, the ASR and ABCL would usually be preferable.

If you plan to reassess the 18-year-olds again at a later age, it would usually be preferable to administer the ASR or ABCL at the initial assessment, as well as at subsequent reassessments. Similarly, if you are reassessing 18-year-olds for whom you have YSR or CBCL/6-18 data, it may be preferable to use the YSR or CBCL/6-18.

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Q: I am worried about my child. Can I get a CBCL/6-18 to fill out about her?

The Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 6-18 (CBCL/6-18) is a four-page questionnaire for obtaining parents’ reports of their child's competencies and problems. We also have similar forms for obtaining reports from teachers (Teacher's Report Form, TRF), daycare providers and preschool teachers (Caregiver-Teacher Report Form, C-TRF/1½-5), adolescents (Youth Self-Report, YSR), adults (Adult Self-Report, ASR), people who know the adults well (Adult Behavior Checklist, ABCL), direct observers (Direct Observation Form, DOF), and clinical interviewers (Semistructured Clinical Interview for Children and Adolescents, SCICA).

The CBCL/6-18 and other ASEBA instruments are not designed for use by parents or other persons without help from a trained professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, mental health provider, social worker, pediatrician, or trained school staff. If you are concerned about your child, we suggest that you contact a mental health professional in your community or the guidance department at your child's school, and follow the advice you receive there. If that professional is not familiar with our materials, he or she should contact us directly for additional information.

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Q: Should forms that have many unanswered items be entered and scored?

Each of our Manuals provides rules for preparing forms for entry. If one item is omitted from the Activities or Social scale on the CBCL/6-18 or YSR, the mean of the other items of that scale is substituted for the missing item. If more than one item is missing from either of these scales or any item is missing from the School scale, the respective scale is not to be scored. If any of the adaptive characteristics (TRF, items VIII.1-4) is omitted, no sum is to be produced for Adaptive Functioning.

If more than 8 problem items are left blank (excluding Items 56h and 113 on the CBCL/6-18, Items 56h and 113 on the TRF, and Item 56h and the socially desirable items on the YSR), the computer-generated profile will bear a warning message. If more than 20 items are missing, no scores will be calculated or plotted, as the scale scores are likely to be invalid.

If time is limited, you may want to use just the behavior problems. Our computer entry programs will allow you to enter and score just the behavior problems, and will create profiles based on those items. Simply cross out the sections of the form that you do not want the respondent to complete. You may not modify or reprint our forms without express written permission from us. For more details, click here.


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Q: Can the forms be administered orally or over the telephone?

Except for the SCICA and DOF, our forms were designed to be self-administered. You may prefer to administer a form orally if a respondent may be unable to complete the form independently.

To administer the form orally, an interviewer should give the respondent one copy of the form while retaining a second copy and saying: “I’ll read you the questions on this form and I’ll write down your answers.” If the form is to be administered over the telephone a copy of the form should be sent to the respondent to view during the telephone administration.

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Q: Can I use a rating period of less than the specified 2 or 6 months?

If you plan to readminister forms over shorter intervals than the specified 2-month (for CBCL/1½-5, C-TRF/1½-5, or TRF) or 6-month (for CBCL/6-18, ABCL, ASR, or YSR) rating period, you may instruct respondents to base their ratings on shorter periods, however, the readministrations should be spaced over long enough intervals to allow behavioral changes to occur, stabilize, and become evident to respondents.


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Q: How do I tell if I have the most recent version of a form or software program?

A list of the current versions of our materials can be found here.

Our instruments are continually being improved, but we try to make our new versions as compatible as possible with earlier editions. In most cases, therefore, you can still use older forms if you want to. If scoring by our newest computer programs is desired, or if the data are to be combined with data from other sources for research purposes, however, it is preferable to use the newest editions of the forms.

If you wish to update data gathered on older forms to the current forms with the updated norms, you can use the Form Version Upgrade tool in ADM. Please see the ADM manual for more details.


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Q: Do you offer a discount on products to be used in training programs? How about for student research?

Please see information here.

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Q: How young a child can be validly assessed?

The CBCL/1½-5 and the C-TRF/1½-5 are normed on children as young as 18 months.

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Q: How often can an individual be assessed?

The CBCL/6-18 includes the instruction “For each item that describes your child now or within the past 6 months...”

If you do not change the instruction, you should not administer the CBCL/6-18 more frequently than every 6 months. If you do, the parent may report behavior from overlapping time periods.

The TRF/6-18 instructions specify the previous 2 months. This was done to take account of the fact that teachers may know students for relatively brief periods before needing to assess them. Teachers can be asked to complete a TRF for a student over intervals as short as 2 months.

If you wish to administer the CBCL more frequently than 6 months, you should change the instruction to specify the rating interval that you wish to use, e.g., 2 months. The instruction for the first administration should be changed to the same number of months as the second to avoid sampling different lengths of time for the two assessments.

Avoid asking teachers to fill out forms for many children at one time. If teachers have to fill out forms on too many children, they become less discriminating about which child has which characteristics.

Repeated completion of a form over short intervals can lead to what is called “practice effect,” also known as a “test-retest attenuation effect.” Over brief intervals (e.g. < 1 month), second administration scores tend to be lower than first administration scores. In research on the effects of interventions, it is important to control for such effects by using control groups that receive the same assessment schedules but no interventions or different interventions.


Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Achenbach