b.e.s.t.

Why We Screen

b.e.s.t. (Behavioral Emotional Social Traits) Rationale

  • 1) There is a growing concern about the number of younger children with emergent forms of challenging behavior
  • 2) Concerns from regular education teachers about students with social-emotional problems
  • 3) Frustration with the lack of conceptual framework and common language to guide discussions of emotional and behavioral difficulties
  • 4) Repeated referrals of students with emotional problems for disciplinary reasons
  • 5) An increase of referrals on students with behavior problems to special education
  • 6) Frustration with the efficacy of behavior plans
  • 7) A desire to establish local normative data related to emotional and behavioral issues

The b.e.s.t. is designed to:

  • Introduce a data-based, conceptual framework for understanding and addressing children's classroom behavior
  • Provide data on the magnitude and types of socio-emotional and behavioral functioning of children in a class or school
  • Identify similarities and differences among children based on their classroom behavior, comparing empirically derived groups to other classifications/systems
  • Provide a teacher-friendly method for gathering and organizing information about a child interaction with the instructional context
  • Construct supportive interventions for children in a timely fashion

Outcomes for Universal Screening:

  • Provide a multi-factorial, conceptual framework for understanding a childs social-emotional behavioral functioning in the regular classroom
  • Improve early identification, primary and secondary prevention for students whose social-emotional development interferes with their ability to participate in the regular education program
  • Describe the type, intensity, and frequency of the student's pro-social and problematic behavior relative to the behavior of other students
  • Provide classroom teachers with a process for summarizing observations while establishing baseline data related to students social-emotional functioning within the classroom
  • Provide a common language to discuss students with emotional/behavioral challenges
  • Provide a way to organize problem-solving discussions
  • Provide a basis to begin the process of a functional behavioral analysis
  • Provide a conceptual framework that would lead to interventions prior to referral
  • Provide local normative data related to the b.e.s.t.

Student Behavior

A student's behavior in the classroom is, accordingly, viewed as the result of a complex interaction between the nature of a student's social-emotional development at any given time and the instructional context within which the behavior occurs. Challenging classroom behavior occurs when there is a mismatch between a student's social-emotional development and the instructional context. In contrast, pro-social behavior occurs when the demands of a given instructional context are appropriate for a student's social-emotional capacity at that time.

Challenging classroom behavior occurs when there is a mismatch between a student's social-emotional development and the instructional context. In contrast, pro-social behavior occurs when the demands of a given instructional context are appropriate for a student's social-emotional capacity at that time.

Factors comprising the instructional context are well understood by most teachers. Manipulating such factors (structure, time, modality, activities, space, etc.) is relatively simple and can also produce rapid and profound alterations in the student's behavior.

The task for the teacher is to provide an instructional context that is commensurate with the student's current social-emotional development. The focus moves away from comparisons of students based on some aspect of their problematic behavior, or detailed specification of student's disruptive behavior to describing the student's social-emotional functioning in response to a variety of contextual variables.

b.e.s.t. Questionnaire

The b.e.s.t. questionnaire is an instrument designed to differentially assess the extent to which children exhibit social-emotional and behavior concerns in the school setting. Examples of the constructs include:

Conduct Scale

  • Attention Seeking
  • Boisterousness
  • Destructive
  • Dislike for School
  • Disobedient
  • Disruptive
  • Fighting

Personality Scale

  • Anxiety
  • Crying
  • Daydreams
  • Depression
  • Hypersensitive
  • Lack of Interest
  • Lack of confidence

As a normative measure, the b.e.s.t. provides a useful framework for gathering information about problematic behavior of various types. The scales represent the b.e.s.t.'s classification system for organizing certain traits or behavioral manifestations. These sets of behaviors are labeled:

  • C-Scale
  • Conduct Scale
  • P-Scale
  • Personality Scale
  • G-Scale
  • General Composite Scale

The Important Questions

  • How to describe a child's social-emotional functioning
  • How to determine which variables within the instructional context interfere with or enhance the child's participation in instruction
  • How to facilitate an efficient team process that would lead to both a short-term plan for immediate classroom accommodations and a long term plan for facilitating the child's social emotional development

Interventions can be more effective if their primary focus is on ways in which the instructional context (e.g., teaching methods, staff-student ratios, time, nature of directions, ratios, etc.) can be altered, rather than on how the child's challenging behavior can be changed. Alternations in the learning context can, at least n the short-term, provide rapid improvements for the child, a sense of accomplishment for the teacher, and, at times, improvement in the instruction of other children in the classroom.

Process Accomplishments

  • The data-collection forms increase the efficiency of data gathering
  • The procedure helps focus discussion on the essential characteristics of both pro-social and challenging behavior of the child and learning context
  • The procedure provides a common language to describe and explain the child's behavior and learning context