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Assessment Rating:
A – Reliability and Validity Demonstrated
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Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale (2nd Edition): Youth Rating Scale (BERS-2)


Michael H. Epstein, EdD

Description / Purpose:

The BERS-2 is a measure of strengths and competencies for children covering the domains of Interpersonal Strength, Family Involvement, Intrapersonal Strength, School Functioning and Affective Strength. There is also a 5-item Career Strength subscale for older youth. Scores can be used to identify target areas for interventions, set goals for educational, mental health and social work treatment plans and monitor progress towards goals. The BERS-2 may be completed as a self-report, or by parents, teachers or other professionals.

Target Population: Children between the ages of 5 to 18 years with emotional or behavioral disorders.

Intended Users: School psychologists; children's mental health, juvenile justice, and social service providers.

Time to Administer: 52 items, administration time approximately 10 minutes.

Completed By: Child self-report, may be administered by assessor. Versions that can be completed by parents and teachers are also available, however, the rating of the assessment is based on the Youth Rating Scale version.

Modalities Available: Paper and pencil.

Scoring Information: Hand-scored. Summary forms are available from the publisher.

Languages Available: English, Spanish — the rating for the measure is based solely on the English version of the measure.

Training Requirements for Intended Users: Recommended requirements are a 4-year degree in Psychology, Counseling, or a related field, including coursework in the administration of psychological tests.

Availability: The BERS-2 manual and all three rating scale forms are available for a fee from Pro-Ed.The Spanish version is available for a fee from Pro-Ed. Please note this site is in Spanish.

Contact Information

Company: Pro-Ed, Inc.
Website: www.proedinc.com
Phone: (800) 897-3202
Fax: (800) 397-7633

Summary of Relevant Psychometric Research

This assessment has received the Assessment Rating of "A – Reliability and Validity Demonstrated" based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The assessment must have 2 or more published, peer-reviewed studies that demonstrated that the measure is reliable and valid. Please see the Assessment Rating Scale for more information.

Show relevant research...

Epstein, M. H., Mooney, P., Ryser, G., & Pierce, C. D. (2004). Validity and reliability of the behavioral and emotional rating scale (2nd Edition): Youth Rating Scale. Research on Social Work Practice, 14(5), 358-367.


Participants — 49, 42, and 42 middle school students in three separate samples.

Race/Ethnicity — White


Study 1 examines the convergent validity of the BERS-2 Youth Rating Scale with the Student Form of the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS), designed to screen for suspected behavior problems. The scales were administered twice to the students at school with a one-week interval in between. A high correlation was found between the overall scores for the two measures. Study 2 looked at convergent validity using the Youth Self Report (YSR), the youth self-report version of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). The method was the same used in Study 1. Analysis examined correlations between scores for different types of problems as measured by the two scales. Results showed that the majority of correlations were moderately large to large. Study 3 focused on the test-retest reliability of the BERS-2. Students completed the measure twice at one-week intervals. The correlations for subscales were high, ranging from .84 to .91. The studies are limited by small sample sizes and lack of diversity.

Mooney, P., Epstein, M. H., Ryser, G., & Pierce, C. D. (2005). Reliability and validity of the Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale-Second Edition: Parent Rating Scale. Children & Schools, 27(3), 147-148.


Participants — 78, 85, and 55 parents of elementary or middle school students in Nebraska

Race/Ethnicity — Predominantly White


Study 1 assesses test-retest reliability of the BERS-2 Parent Rating Scale (PRS). Participating parents received and returned the BERS-2 PRS twice by mail. On receipt of the first returned scales, parents were sent the second set and asked to return it within 7 days. Correlations between the two scale administrations were high, with the highest for the family involvement subscale and the lowest for the career strength subscale. Study 2 tested the convergent validity of the BERS-2 with the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS). Correlations between similar domains on the two measures were high, with the exception of those for school functioning and career strength, which were moderate. Study 3 looked at the convergent validity of the BERS-2 PRS with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), using the same method as Study 1. The majority of correlations between comparable subscales of the BERS-2 and the CBCL were either large or moderate. The overall correlation between the overall scores between the two measures was large (.51).

Synhorst, L. L., Buckley, J. A., Reid, R., Epstein, M. H., & Ryser, G. (2005). Cross informant agreement of the Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale-2nd Edition (BERS-2) Parent and Youth Rating Scales. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 27(3), 1-11.


Participants — 296 sets of parents and youth 11-18 drawn from the overall BERS-2 national normative sample.

Race/Ethnicity — 80.1% Caucasian, 15.9% African American, 4.0% other


Parent and child pairs completed the appropriate version of the BERS-2. Correlations were computed between each subscale of the BERS-2. Correlations were large, ranging from .50 for the Affective Strength Index to .63 for the Interpersonal Strength Index. The authors note that these correlations are higher than are typically found, possibly due to the emphasis of the BERS-2 on positive rather than negative behaviors. The study is limited by the use of general education students and a lack of ethnic diversity.

Gonzales, J. E., Ryser, G., Epstein, M. H., & Shwery, C. S. (2006). The Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale (BERS-II PRS): A Hispanic cross-cultural reliability study. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 31(3), 33-43.


Participants — Drawn from the national standardization sample of 927 5 to 18 year olds

Race/Ethnicity — 86% Non-Hispanic and 14% Hispanic


A nationwide sample of parents completed the BERS-2. This study examines the reliability scores for Hispanic parents in comparison with Caucasian parents. Results showed the internal reliability for BERS-2 subscales to be high, ranging from .82 to .97 for Caucasian parents and .84 to .96 for Hispanic parents. Reliabilities were not significantly different across the two groups. The authors note that statistical analysis was somewhat limited by the size of the Hispanic sample (130).

Benner, G. J., Beaudoin, K., Mooney, P., Uhing, B. M., & Pierce, C. D. (2008). Convergent validity with the BERS-2 Teacher Rating Scale and the Achenbach Teacher's Report Form: A replication and extension. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 17, 427-436.


Participants — 58 public school students 8-19 years old receiving special education services for Emotional Disturbance.

Race/Ethnicity — 57% Caucasian, 33% African American, 5% Hispanic, 5% Asian American


Thirteen teachers who had known the students for at least two months completed ratings using the BERS-2 Teacher Rating Scale and the Teacher's Report Form (TRF), the teacher's version of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Correlations between the scales were high, particularly between the Composite Strength Index and Interpersonal Strength Index of the BERS-2 and the Total Problems and Externalizing Problems scales of the TRF. Convergence was less strong for internalizing problems. Limitations include a small sample size and lack of diversity.

Date Reviewed: June 2009