The Child Behavior Checklist is a behavioural instrument developed by Dr. Thomas Achenbach. The checklist gives parents, teachers and administrators a concrete way to compare a child's behaviour to a standard. The checklist scores correspond to profiles for Special Education in the DSM manual.
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The list records the child's biographical information, including the child's gender, parents and family make-up. Teachers fill out what they know of the child's home life. The Checklist records the child's school and social behaviour, asking the teacher to list the number of friends and acquaintances. The list also looks into the age of the child compared to the grade and whether the child has been held back for any reason. The bulk of the checklist contains more than 100 behaviours. The teacher ranks each behaviour as "not true," "sometimes true" or "always true."
The teacher carefully records the known data on to the sheet. The instructions direct the teacher to fill the form out as she sees the child, even if others don't see the child in the same light. Children can and do behave differently at home and a school. There is room next to each behaviour for additional notes. For example, one item asks if the child picks his nose or any other part of his body. There is room next to that item to describe the behaviour.
There are two methods of scoring advocated by the designer. The first is a computer program. The teacher or counsellor plugs the information from the checklist into the program. The program assesses the data and gives the results with additional notes for that checklist. The second method is hand scoring. Those schools that don't have access to the computer scoring methods compare the data on the checklist to a listing of the different behavioural traits.
Children change. Sometimes they behave differently at home than at school. As the school year progresses, the child grows and develops. Or, conversely, problems that seemed minor at the beginning of the year may worsen. One way to track this is through the Assessment Data Manager. This program tracks several different checklists from multiple teachers and family, as well as tracks behaviour over time.
How to Use the Information
The checklist is a tool that gives the teacher concrete data to present to parents. It also helps the teacher get special services for a child.
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- The University of Missouri Children'sHospital: The Child Behavior Checklist and Related Forms for Assessing Behavioral/Emotional Problems and Competencies
- The New Jersey University of Behavior Healthcare: Child Behavior Checklist
- University of North Carolina: Child Behavior Checklist/4-18, Achenbach, T. M., 1991
- Achenbach System of Behavior Assessment