Perspectives on Early Childhood Psychology and Education

Submission Type



Early childhood is an important period for the development of social, emotional and behavioral (SEB) skills. Deficits in these skills often lead to negative outcomes; thus, early identification is essential for the provision of services. Unfortunately, only a fraction of students with deficits are identified and receive services. One cause of this is the methods used to identify students, such as teacher nominations which do not identify all students in need (Dowdy et al., 2013). Proactive practices, such as universal screening, are a more systematic way of identification. The purpose of this review was to examine commonly used early childhood screeners and their evidence base, effectiveness, and the feasibility and accessibility of their use in early childhood settings. This critical review analysed 18 screeners using Southam-Gerow & Prinstein’s (2014) review criteria for evidence-based treatments and a technical adequacy rubric based on Glover and Albers’ (2007) considerations for evaluating universal screening assessments. Of the 18 screening tools reviewed, four screeners are highly recommended based on their technical adequacy and usability within early childhood settings. These results highlight the need for further research in the evaluation of early childhood universal screeners.