Universal Behavior Screeners

Screening is the process of identifying and verifying risk for academic and behavioral difficulties at both schoolwide and student levels. Universal behavior screeners help schools identify who needs support, enabling resources to be used in a more targeted and effective manner, ultimately leading to better outcomes for students (Lane, 2012). Prevention and early intervention are more cost-effective than waiting to intervene until students exhibit more severe behavior. Further, screening allows schools to identify students who previously may have been overlooked (Young et al., 2012).  

As you administer universal behavior screeners, remember these important points: 

  • Follow the assessment’s administration guidelines and training protocol. This will ensure that the assessment results are accurate and useful. 
  • Review screening results after each administration, during School Leadership and Problem-Solving Team meetings. 
  • When reviewing data, compare schoolwide percentages over time, consider if grade-level or class-specific instructional changes should be made, and identify students who may be at risk for behavioral difficulties. 

As school teams invest in strategies that ensure the success of their students, it can be easy to forget that students are not just learning machines, but individuals with social and behavioral needs. Identifying risks early allows schools to prevent concerns from worsening and helps students to be happier and more productive. Hopefully, life trajectories can be changed through this process. “Preventive education based on screening and early intervention is the surest way to avoid or cut short the road to serious problem behaviors.” – Daniel Goleman 




Transforming Lane, K.L., et al. (2012). Systematic screening for behaviors to support instruction. Guilford Publications.  

Young, E. L. (2012). Positive behavior support in secondary schools: A practical guide. Guilford Press.