Executive functions are brain-based abilities that help people control or manage behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. They are critical for supporting learning and success in school (and later, in life) and influence social, emotional, behavioral, and daily living skills.
Injury, poverty, disabilities, mental health diagnoses, trauma, stressful events, and more can affect the executive functions. Knowing more about if and how a child or adolescent struggles with their executive function helps professionals put supports into place that will help them succeed.
The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Second Edition (BRIEF2) is the gold-standard rating scale for executive function testing. It provides the information professionals need to make informed and impactful intervention and accommodation recommendations.
Two new BRIEF2 reports on PARiConnect help professionals—and parents and teachers—get that information more efficiently.
The new BRIEF2 Score Report includes a summary of BRIEF2 scores, including an optional ADHD profile; the updated Interpretive Report features scores and detailed interpretive text for BRIEF2 clinical scale, index, and composite scores as well as intervention recommendations and optional ADHD scores and interpretation and a DSM-5 ADHD Symptom Checklist—now together in one comprehensive report!
The new BRIEF2 Interventions Handouts, developed by the test authors and designed for students, parents, and teachers, provide detailed information, evidence-based supports, and helpful resources to improve and reinforce student executive functioning.
To learn more about the BRIEF2, visit parinc.com/BRIEF2
This week’s blog was contributed by Theo Miron, PsyS. Theo is a licensed specialist in school psychology and a nationally certified school psychologist. He spent nearly 18 years providing psychological services to public school students in Minnesota, Arizona, and Texas.
School psychologists in the U.S. report that completing student assessments is the task they perform most frequently. These psychoeducational and psychological tests are based on the basic principles of measurement theory, standardized testing, and normal distributions. Practitioners receive extensive training in measurement theory—maybe even to the extent that their dreams are filled with visions of the normal or bell curve.
The normal curve is a fundamental concept psychologists use to help measure and explain student performance; that is, how a student functions in comparison to other children of the same age or grade level. We psychologists love to throw around the numbers associated with standard scores, percentile ranks, T scores, and scaled scores, knowing our fellow psychologists and well-versed teachers will know exactly what we’re talking about. Unfortunately, though, measurement theory is a relatively obscure field, so this type of language may puzzle parents, students, and clients.
During my first few years as a school psychologist, I struggled to find an effective way to explain these types of results. As a visual learner, I thought adding visual aids to my results meetings might help explain the information more clearly. So one year, I harnessed my inner artist and drew a nice normal curve with standard deviations clearly marked out. I then headed to the copy machine and generated a hundred more. During results meetings, I’d break out my box of colored markers and a ruler and start mapping out the standard scores from the different tests I had given, with the normal curve as the back drop. Once done, I’d have a few marked-up normal curves for each measure the student had taken.
Using these visual aids during results meetings helped both parents and teachers start to understand what the different scores meant. Not only did I receive some nice compliments on my “art projects,” but I also started noticing that more parents had questions and comments about the results. One parent explained she’d sat through several of these types of meetings over the years, but mine was the first one where she completely understood what the scores meant and how her child compared to other students his age.
These days, you can keep your art supplies in your drawer. Simply log on to PARiConnect, our online assessment platform, scroll to the Quick Links section in the bottom right corner, and click Interactive Bell Curve.
This new interactive tool allows you to enter relevant student data, and then add scores for up to three different tests on the same normal curve. You can enter the name of the specific assessment, the type of score you’d like to report (standard, scale, T score, or percentile), and up to 10 index or subtest raw scores. The system plots each score across the normal curve using vertical lines color-coded to the specific tests entered. When finished, you have a few options to explain results to parents, teachers, and clients: present “as is” on-screen, print out a paper copy, or print to a PDF file that can be presented (and shared) digitally.
The interactive bell curve is a free feature available to every PARiConnect user, and it can be used for any test on the market—not just those published by PAR. So put those markers away, log on to PARiConnect, and try it out yourself.
Interested in or have questions about other assessment products for schools? Visit our school resources page.
March 6–12 is National School Social Work Week. Sponsored by the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA), this event provides an opportunity to acknowledge and recognize the impactful work that schools and community resource partners do to support students, families, and others in their communities.
This year’s theme is “Time to Shine.” SSWAA believes that school social workers shine brightly for their students, families, and school communities by shining hope, shining understanding, and shining respect. "School social workers are humble professionals,” said Rebecca Oliver, LMSW, SSWAA Executive Director, “who often are the voice for students and families but do not always voice the value they add to the school community. School social workers shine a light on the need for mental health services, offering hope for students and families who face various challenges, and lighting the way for marginalized youth.”
PAR is happy to offer several items to help support the important work of school social workers. Our school assessment resources page houses relevant instruments Including the Feifer Assessment of Childhood Trauma: Teacher Form (FACT Teacher Form), and the PAR Training Portal offers free, on-demand training and additional resources.
President Joe Biden recently addressed a topic that PAR has focused on for many years—children’s mental health.
“Let’s take on mental health,” he said during his State of the Union Address March 1. “Especially among our children, whose lives and education have been turned upside down.”
Though we have long recognized this need, it has escalated drastically in recent years as a result of the pandemic, which has seen levels of childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, and more increase and academic performance decrease.
A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control shows that pediatric emergency department visits by children and adolescents for mental health concerns have increased since 2020, with issues such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety, trauma, and stress-related disorders on the rise.
One of our overarching goals as a company is to help professionals like you reach these children and get them the help they need. This is part of the reason why we offer regular continuing education webinars designed to keep you up-to-date on new instruments and research as well as a 24/7 free, on-demand Training Portal, where you can access interactive courses, author videos, and other resources, including several presentations that address childhood trauma, such as Trauma and COVID-19: What School Professionals Can Do to Help: Utilizing the FACT to Guide Interventions; Pandemics, Trauma, and Emotional Disturbance; and more.
We also have a wide range of products to meet the needs of America’s children. From measuring stress and trauma in school-based settings, identifying possible victims of trauma, screening for depressive symptoms and suicidality and much more, we have the instruments you need to help children get help—and get back on a path to healing, health, and happiness. Learn more about our resources for students.
Not sure where to start? Visit our mental health resources page to find what you need.
This week’s blog was contributed by Terri Sisson, EdS, educational assessment advisor–national accounts. Terri spent more than 20 years in public schools as a licensed school psychologist and is a past president of the Virginia Association of School Psychologists.
I know you’ve been there…you are in one of your schools, have finished an assessment, and are on a deadline for writing a report. Just when you are about to score an assessment, you realize the manual is in your home office! What should you do? No problem…PAR has you covered!
If your district or organization has purchased e-Manuals from PAR—or received them during the pandemic—you can now find them in your PARiConnect account. Simply log in to PARiConnect, find the Quick Links section in the lower right corner, and click on Digital Library—there you will find all your e-Manuals. When your district has digital content in its PARiConnect account, everyone who has a log-in will have access. Digital access makes it easy to organize and find the information you need.
Here are some of the convenient features of the e-Manuals you’ll find in PARiConnect’s Digital Library:
Table of contents: Once you click on the e-Manual you wish to read, you can easily use the linked table of contents to quickly jump to the section or page you need.
Bookmarks: Bookmark pages for easy reference by simply clicking the bookmark tab—and quickly find the pages you use most frequently.
Highlight: Use the highlighter to mark important text.
Hyperlinks: The text of the e-Manual contains hyperlinks to relevant tables and appendices—no need to flip through pages.
Search bar: Click on the magnifying glass to search specific words or terms.
If you’re not sure where to find the information you need, the search feature makes finding it simple (and fast). We know COVID-19 has changed the way we work. There is more flexibility, and more people are working from home. It’s imperative to have access to your e-Manuals from wherever you are. Using the PARiConnect Digital Library makes it easy to access all your manuals in one convenient place.
To learn more or access, visit pariconnect.com.