Should you have general questions about Devereux Center for Resilient Children’s (DCRC’s) Philosophy, or questions across age ranges for our Resources and Professional Development, visit our Main FAQs page here.
If you have a question about DCRC’s Infant Toddler Initiative that is not included below, please submit your question here!
DECA-I/T – Assessment – General
Q1. How were the items and factors developed for the Infant and Toddler assessments (DECA-I and DECA-T)?
Q2. Why is there a Self-Regulation scale on the DECA-Toddler, but not the DECA-Infant?
- Accept comfort from a familiar adult
- Calm down with help from a familiar adult
- Seek comfort from familiar adults
Q3. Why are there no “negative” behaviors (no Behavioral Concerns scale)?
Q4. Does this assessment come in Spanish?
Q5. Is there research on the cultural appropriateness of the DECA-I/T?
- Many, but not all, of the items on the DECA-I/T were derived from the DECA for Preschoolers. These items had been reviewed by the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services program of the ERIC Clearinghouse for potential bias against minority children. Any items that raised concern were not included in either the DECA or the subsequent DECA-I/T. When the DECA-I/T was developed, the CLAS program had been defunded, so we were not able to have the new items, which are unique to the DECA-I/T reviewed in the same way.
- The norms on the DECA-I/T are based on a large, nationally representative sample of infants and toddlers. Children from various racial and ethnic groups were included in the standardization sample in numbers proportional to their representation in the nation.
- We did explicitly test for bias, defined as mean score differences, between (1) Black and Caucasian and (2) Latino/a and Caucasian children on each scale on the DECA-I/T. In 18 of the 28 comparison the differences between the mean scores obtained by the different groups of children were “negligible” operationally defined as a d-ratio of less than .20. (this means that the mean scores differed by less than about 2 T-score points, a trivial, non-consequential difference. Of the remaining 10 comparisons, 8 were classified as “small” differences (3 to 5 T-score differences) and only 2 met criteria for a “medium” sized difference (6 to 7 T-score points) . In these two cases, the Latino/a children had higher mean scores than the Caucasian children. So there is little evidence of meaningful differences between Black or Latino/a children and their Caucasian peers and where it did exist it was in favor of the Latino/a children.
- Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the DECA-I/T User to make sure that the DECA-I/T is appropriate to use with the group of children in your care. This is especially true if you are working with populations of children other than Black or Latino/a. Should you be using the DECA-I/T with children from a particular ethnic, cultural or other group, we strongly suggest that you have the DECA-I/T items reviewed by an expert in that culture and take into account any reservations or recommendations that they might have. For instance, you might ask raters to leave a particular item unanswered if cultural experts feel that it is inappropriate for children from that group.
DECA-I/T – Administering The Assessment
Q1. Can the DECA-I/T be used as a screener and an assessment?
Q2. What guidance does Devereux provide around the number of visits that a home visitor should make before conducting a rating on a child?
Q3. If my preschool has a two-year-old enrolled, is it appropriate to use the DECA-T or the DECA-P2 (Preschool)?
In general, the DECA Toddler form is recommended for two-year-old children. However, in those cases where a child is enrolled in a program for three-year-olds and the child will turn three within a matter of a few months (three months is the recommended limit), the DECA-P2 can be used. Studies were conducted to determine if results for “older twos” differed significantly from the three-year-olds in the DECA-P2 standardization sample. Significant differences were not found.
Q4. Can we use this for children above the age of 3 but who are developmentally below the age?
Q5. How should my staff interpret the terms Never / Rarely / Occasionally / Frequently / Very Frequently when responding to the assessment items?
Based on our findings from the national standardization process, the authors recommend that raters not be provided with definitions of the frequency terms. Rather, if there is a concern, the authors recommend making it clear to raters that their interpretation of the frequency terms, whatever that definition may be, should be used consistently when rating children. Also, it may be helpful if raters are not sure about how to most appropriately rate a child, to actually put the frequency labels right into the question when thinking about the item and reflecting on which statement most accurately reflects their observations of the child. For example, for question #5, the rater might say, “Maria occasionally controls her anger” or “Maria frequently controls her anger.” After hearing both statements and reflecting, the rater should feel more confident selecting the appropriate frequency for that particular item.
DECA-I/T – Scoring And Interpreting The Assessment
Q1. How do I score blank items on the DECA-I/T?
Q2. How do we score a child who is born premature?
Q3. Why are there 4 Individual Child Profiles for the Infant Assessment (DECA-I) and only one for the DECA-T?
Q4. What do the Strength, Typical and Area of Need ranges mean?
Typical is a T score from 41-59. This is the area that about 68% of children fall, it means that compared to others their age the child’s behavior is typical.
Area of Need is the category of T scores 40 or below meaning the child fell one standard deviation or more away from the norm and may need some support to further develop a protective factor.
Q5. What is the score a child needs to be considered “at risk” and needing a referral?
Q6. My district uses percent delay to identify if children need prevention services or a referral- How do I find a percent delay?
The DECA-I/T scores can be used in a similar way. Given that a T score of 50 is considered “average,” a 25% delay would be a score of 37 (50 minus 25% (12.5) is 37.5, which rounds to 37). Children with a T score of 37 on a protective factor scale could be considered 25% delayed. With this approach, the 25% delay concept results in a cut score of about one standard deviation from the mean, which is a value that has been used for many years as a reasonable rough estimate to indicate cause for concern.