What is BASC 3?

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The Behavioral Assessment System for Children, 3rd Edition (BASC-3) is a norm-referenced, individually administered assessment. It provides information to guide the development of effective interventions and treatment plans for children through young adulthood.

The BASC-3 gives you an organized, flexible framework within which to determine what profile(s) of behavior may be causing a problem for the child and offers specific suggestions to help you improve your child’s behavior.

Child Behavior

It is useful to all who interact with children, including parents, teachers, community professionals, health care providers, mental health counselors, early interventionists, school psychologists, psychiatrists – anyone who engages in the evaluation or treatment of a child’s behavior.

BASC-3 consists of 15 scales grouped into five areas:

  1. the Child and Family Interaction scale
  2. the Personal Adjustment and Interpersonal Relationships scale
  3. the School and Academic Performance scale
  4. the Self-Directed Problem Behavior scale
  5. the Emotional/Internalizing and Externalizing Problem Behavior scales

The BASC-3 was administered to over 100,000 children in the United States. The test has been adapted for use in several other countries.

Description of Scales

The Child and Family Interaction scale measure interpersonal relationships between child and caregiver, parent and teacher, and child and other significant adults. The first section of this scale also includes a problem checklist that identifies the extent to which the child has trouble with daily activities because of behavior or psychological symptoms. This scale can be used with children from age 2 through 18+.

The Personal Adjustment and Interpersonal Relationships scale provide information about the child’s interpersonal interactions, attitudes about self and others, and emotional strength or vulnerability. This scale also includes a problem checklist that identifies the extent to which the child has problems with daily activities because of behavior or psychological symptoms. The Personal Adjustment and Interpersonal Relationships scale can be used with children from age 2 through 18+.

The School and Academic Performance scale can be used as a supplement to any other assessment or as an initial screening device. It provides information about the child’s school adjustment and academic performance, including symptoms of anxiety and depression. This scale can be used with children from age 3 through 18+.

The Self-Directed Problem Behavior scale helps identify symptoms of the oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), and adolescent antisocial behavior (AAB). This scale can be used with children from age 2 through 18+.

The Emotional/Internalizing and Externalizing Problem Behavior scales to measure symptoms of depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, sleep problems, attention problems, social withdrawal, and aggressive behavior. These scales can be used with children from age 2 through 18+.

Norms for the BASC-3 are based on results from over 40,000 participants ranging in age from 2 to 18 years.

The test was normed on three groups:

  1. children of parents who completed the BASC-2 (a prototype of the BASC-3),
  2. children who were referred for psychological services (e.g., evaluation or treatment), and
  3. a group of children from the general population (Group 3).

Normative information is available on all 15 scales, as well as for:

  • age groups 2 to 5 years, 6 to 10 years, and 11 to 18 years
  • gender (males and females)
  • socioeconomic status (SES; high, middle, low)
  • race/ethnicity (African American, Asian American, Caucasian American, Hispanic)

For most scales with normative ratings for more than one age group or SES level, separate norms are provided for children with mild, moderate, and severe levels of problems. An exception is the Personal Adjustment scale where norms are based on children with milder forms of emotional disturbance only.

Norms for African American, Asian American, Caucasian American, Hispanic, and culturally diverse samples are provided for some scales.

Information about how the BASC-3 compares to the BASC-2 provides information about the extent to which results from the two tests are similar.

Description of Scoring Procedures

Administration, scoring, and interpretation of each scale are described in three manuals:

  1. The Manual for the Child and Family Interaction Scale (CFIS),
  2. The Manual for the Personal Adjustment and Interpersonal Relationships Scale (PAIR), and
  3. The Manual for the School and Academic Performance Scale (SA).

Each of these manuals includes:

  • test description;
  • administration, scoring, and interpretation procedures;
  • reliability information;
  • validity information; and
  • two technical reports that provide information about the development of the scale.

The Manual for the Self-Directed Problem Behavior Scale (S-B) can be used with any combination of BASC-3 scales, but it provides scoring and interpretation only for itself. The manual includes test description, administration, scoring, and interpretation procedures; reliability information; and information about the development of the scale.

The Manual for the Emotional/Internalizing and Externalizing Problem Behavior Scales (E/I-PB) describes how to score, interpret, and combine scores from these two scales for a single assessment. The manual includes test description; administration, scoring, and interpretation procedures; reliability information; validity information; and information about the development of the scales.

Normative Information

The BASC-3 was normed on a large number of children from across the country. To provide accurate normative data, each child must be evaluated by someone who has been trained in how to administer and interpret the scale being used. Readers should be aware of the following issues when applying these norms:

  • The normative sample is not necessarily representative of children with certain characteristics (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender). Special care should be taken when interpreting scores for groups that are underrepresented in the general population (e.g., African American males).
  • No more than one standard deviation should ever be used to interpret a child’s score.
  • In many areas across the country, testing children from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds is difficult. Test administrators will likely have access only to a selection of children from their community. This can affect their ability to provide normative data for certain scales (e.g., SES). Additional normative data is currently being collected.
  • The normative sample was not selected to be representative of children with certain characteristics (e.g., age, gender). Special care should be taken when applying these norms to such groups (see above).

The BASC Administration and Scoring Manuals also include information on how we obtained the normative samples.

Comparable to the BASC-2, the BASC-3 has three components that include:

  1. an interviewer, parent, and child self-report inventory
  2. a structured observational measure of children’s abilities in everyday life settings
  3. a review of systems.

The first component is the most extensive and includes the following scales:

  • The BASC,
  • The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL),
  • The Child Behavior Profile (CPP),
  • The School Functioning Questionnaire (SFQ), and
  • The Teacher Report Form–2nd edition (TRF).

The second component is a structured observational measure of children’s abilities in everyday life settings. This section includes:

  • The BASC Family and Peer Relations (FBPR) scale,
  • The Child Adaptation to Solution Methodology Interview (CASI), and
  • The System for Observing Play and Interaction (SOPI).

The third section is a review of systems. The BASC-3 contains information from the following areas:

  • Medical status,
  • Family history, and
  • Review of systems from each past medical evaluation form completed at the time of assessment. Information from these forms may include but is not limited to: physical examination, laboratory results, family history notes from the doctor’s visit, history of medication, and allergies.

Contributors to the development of the BASC-3 include:

  • Allen A. Lord (University of Wisconsin–Madison),
  • Leslie Owen Wilson (University of South Carolina), and
  • Cynthia Johnson (University of South Carolina).

Final Words

When used correctly, the BASC-3 provides a valuable addition to any comprehensive psychological assessment. It is important to note that the scales are designed to be used by trained professionals who have been specifically educated in how to administer, score, and interpret these scales.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m not sure if I should use the norms for my client. How will this affect his/her scores?

Norms are intended to be used only to describe children who fall within a certain characteristic (e.g., age, gender). Their use typically does not influence test scores. However, when evaluating clinical populations, it is important to note that the normative sample may not be representative of your client.

I don’t have a complete history or past medical evaluations for my client. How should I handle these scales in the BASC-3 if they are missing?

The best thing to do would be to use what you do have and let your professional know about the other information that is missing. You may also want to ask the professional who referred your client for testing whether or not they have these materials. These scales can add a great deal of insight into your assessment results and it would be helpful to have all available information when interpreting test scores.

Can I use the BASC-3 with my preschool-aged child?

The BASC-3 is a measure designed for children ages 2 through 21. There are some measures available to use with younger children, such as the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). However, your professional can help you choose the best option for assessing your child.

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For Educational Purpose Only! For medical advice, consult your physician.