Differential Item Functioning of the Emotional and Behavioral Screener for Caucasian and African American Elementary School Students

Matthew C. Lambert, Allen G. Garcia, Michael H. Epstein, Douglas Cullinan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study examined the psychometric properties of a universal screening instrument called the Emotional and Behavioral Screener (EBS), which is designed to identify students exhibiting emotional and behavioral problems. The primary purposes of this study were to assess the measurement invariance of EBS items between Caucasian and African-American students and to assess the impact of differential item functioning (DIF) on EBS scores. The sample consisted of 946 elementary students from throughout the U.S. The findings suggested that EBS items exhibited small to negligible levels of DIF, and that DIF did not significantly impact EBS scores. The results supported the EBS as universal screening instrument that is fair in measuring the emotional and behavioral risk of elementary students. Research limitations and implications for school professionals are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-214
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied School Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2018



  • Behavior assessment
  • Emotional and Behavioral Screener (EBS)
  • differential item functioning
  • measurement invariance
  • universal screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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