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Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation, Preschool Edition (SCBE)

by Peter J. LaFreniere, Ph.D. and Jean E. Dumas, Ph.D.

Purpose: Describes child's adaptation to and functioning within preschool classroom in order to help teachers plan intervention
Ages / Grade: 30 to 76 months (2 1/2 to 6 years)
Administration Time: 15 minutes
Format: Teacher observation and rating scale
Norms: Standardized on more than 1,200 preschool children

Here is an alternative for clinicians and educators who evaluate young children. This exciting scale measures social competence, affective expression, and adjustment in children 21/2 to 6 years of age (or, more precisely, 30 months to 76 months).

Information That's Helpful to Teachers

The primary objective of the Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation (SCBE) is to describe the child's behavior for purposes of socialization and education, rather than diagnosis. It focuses on the child's adaptation to and functioning within his or her environment--which is particularly relevant to teachers. The SCBE helps teachers design classroom interventions that address both the child's strengths and weaknesses.

Social and Emotional Adjustment to the Classroom

Used for years as the Preschool Socio-Affective Profile, the SCBE has now been renamed and standardized on more than 1,200 U.S. preschool children. It includes 80 items that can be completed in just 15 minutes by a preschool, Head Start, or Kindergarten teacher. These items cover eight basic scales and four summary scales:

Basic Scales
  • Depressive-Joyful 
  • Anxious-Secure
  • Angry-Tolerant 
  • Isolated-Integrated 
  • Aggressive-Calm 
  • Egotistical-Prosocial 
  • Oppositional-Cooperative 
  • Dependent-Autonomous

Summary Scales
  • Social Competence
  • Externalizing Problems
  • Internalizing Problems
  • General Adaptation

A Clearer Picture of the Preschool Child

Targeting an appropriately narrow age range, SCBE items focus not on obscure or pathological behaviors but on behaviors that are commonly observed among preschoolers. The SCBE is particularly useful to educators as a standardized description of a child's social and emotional adjustment to the classroom setting. While many instruments for young children focus primarily on anger and hyperactivity, the SCBE measures a full range of behaviors and emotions--including anxiety and depression--that are relevant to the teacher and parent.

In addition, the scale's high reliability makes it ideal for outcome assessment in experimental intervention programs. It is an excellent tool for evaluating the child's ongoing adaptation at various ages.