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 Preschool Initiative that is not included below, please submit your question here!
DECA-Preschool – Assessment – General
Q1. How were the items and factors developed for the Preschool assessment (DECA-P2)?
Q2. How did the 3 factors get named Initiative, Self-Regulation and Attachment/Relationships?
Q3. Does this assessment come in Spanish?
Q4. How are Families included in the DECA Preschool Program?
Finally, “Partnerships with Families” is one of the five program elements used as the framework for developmentally appropriate strategies on the Reflective Checklists. Classroom staff are encouraged to reflect and improve upon their own skills in working with families by using strategies such as these below. For each of the items on the Reflective Checklist, pages of tips are offered in the resource Promoting Resilience in Preschoolers: A Strategy Guide for Early Childhood Professionals.
DECA-Preschool – Administering The Assessment
Q1. Can the DECA-P2 be used as a screener and an assessment?
DECA-P2 results are individualized to meet the needs and identify the strengths of the child. Results of the assessment should be used to plan for children to support their growth and development in the area of social and emotional health. If the DECA-P2 is used to assess children’s protective factors and results are used to plan for that child’s growth and/or plan for all of children’s growth, then it is being used as an assessment tool. If the DECA-P2 is used only to identify which children may need further observation or assessment, then it is being used as a screener.
Learn more about the DECA Preschool Program here.
Q2. How close in time should the parent rating and the teacher ratings be completed?
Q3. Who should serve as the DECA-P2 rater in a team teaching situation?
- He/she will most likely be available for the second and third administration
- He/she has at least a sixth grade reading level
- He/she has at least one year of teaching experience
- He/she knows the child best
If BOTH teachers are equally qualified to rate the child, based on the above criteria, there are two basic options:
- Randomly assign half of the children in the class to each teacher/rater
- Have both teachers rate all the children, and then use the rater comparison table (Found on pages 110 and 111 of the DECA-P2 User’s Guide and Technical Manual) to determine where teachers see significant differences in children so that the information can be discussed and used in planning.
Q4. Is it appropriate to translate the DECA-P2 Record Form for parents who do not speak English or Spanish, or who speak limited English or Spanish?
- These children should receive a teacher rating using the standardized assessment form.
- The results of a translated assessment should not be scored since the translated assessment is no longer standardized. Rather, the results should be reviewed and interpreted with caution and used to foster communication with the parents about the child’s behavior in the home and how to best promote the child’s protective factors in the home environment.
Q5. Is it appropriate to read the DECA-P2 Record Form to parents who have difficulty reading?
Q6. What guidance does Devereux provide around the number of visits that a home visitor should make before conducting a rating on a child?
Q7. For children who are age 3 or above, with a developmental age less than 3… which assessment is more appropriate, the DECA-T(Toddler 18-36 months) or DECA-P2 (Preschool 3-5 years)?
Q8. If my preschool setting has 3 years old and some “older two” year olds enrolled, is it appropriate to use the DECA-T (Toddler) or the DECA-P2 (Preschool)?
Q9. Is it appropriate to use the DECA-P2 with 6-year olds?
Q10. Should the DECA-P2 be used with children who have special needs?
Results should be communicated with families and used to develop comprehensive plans that identify goals and strategies for all the areas of need including those that will promote protective factors for the child. Additionally, for children who score in the area of need range across the board on protective factors, we recommend looking at the individual items on the protective factor scales to determine the child’s relative strengths and goals. This information, as well as continuous observations, can be very useful in the planning process. While Devereux does not have data on the representation of children with disabilities in our standardization sample, we know that children with disabilities were included based on their inclusion in the numerous Head Start Programs that participated in the standardization process.
Q11. How many times per year should a program administer the DECA-P2? Is there recommended timing for administration?
Because the DECA ratings on based on the child’s behavior in the past 4 weeks, the minimum amount of time that must elapse before the pretest and the posttest is four weeks so that you will be basing the posttest on a separate sample of the child’s behavior. However, most programs do not have the time or human resources to complete a DECA rating every four weeks. Consequently, our best practice model calls for three DECA ratings during a school year. The first would typically occur in early to mid-October after the child has been in the program for at least four weeks. This assessment is usually used to develop a plan to promote the child’s protective factors. The second rating occurs mid-year, often in late January. This rating is used to obtain feedback on whether the strategies are having their desired effect in promoting the child’s resilience. If the DECA scores are increasing, you can continue with the same plan. If, however, the scores on the DECA are not improving, you have an opportunity to try different strategies. The third and last rating occurs near the end of the school year and is used to evaluate and document overall progress across the program year. Of course, if you have sufficient time you could administer the DECA more frequently, perhaps every two months. For most programs, however, three times a year is a practical and useful model.
Q12. How should my staff interpret the terms Never / Rarely / Occasionally / Frequently / Very Frequently when responding to the assessment items?
DECA-Preschool – Scoring And Interpreting The Assessment
Q1. How do I score blank items on the DECA-P2?
Q2. 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’s scores fall.
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 in the negative direction.
Q3. Why is there no category for 'strength' in the behavioral concern domain?
Q4. Why aren't there different norms for different age levels?
Q5. Why are there different norms for parents and teachers?
Q6. My district uses percent delay to identify if children need prevention services or a referral- How do I find a percent delay?
Q7. Should the DECA-P2 results be used to refer a child for a formal evaluation?
Q8. Is it acceptable to photocopy the assessment results in order to give a copy to parents?
Q9. Why is the T-score in the Area of Need Range if all of the items are in the Typical or Strength Range?
DECA-Preschool – Outcomes And Results
Q1. Where do I find the information needed to interpret changes in a child’s T-scores from pre-test to post-test?
Q2. What amount of a change in a child’s DECA-P2 results should our program expect?
Q3. Can I do a pretest-posttest comparison to examine changes in a child’s social-emotional competence across Devereux assessments (e.g., a pretest DECA-P2 and a posttest DESSA)?
Q4. How can the DECA-P2 be used to measure outcomes for individual children, groups of children, and program evaluation and quality improvement purposes?
DECA-Preschool – Professional Development And Kit Resources
Q1. Do I need to buy DECA-P2 Record forms if I use the web-based eDECA system?
Q2. Can I use my 1999 Strategies guides with the 2012 DECA-P2 Record Form?
Q3. What training options are available?
Q4. What strategies and activities are available to promote resilience?
Q1. Can the DECA-C be used for children showing clear signs of developmental delays?
When the DECA-C was standardized, children with special needs were not eliminated from the standardization sample. In our experience, we have found that the DECA-C is useful in the assessment of children who may be presenting other developmental delays or disabilities. It would certainly validate the delays often associated with autism spectrum disorder, primarily the social-emotional impacts that would be measured on the DECA-C. Taking a strength-based approach to building social-emotional skills for all children can be beneficial. It’s important to take into consideration that the DECA-C is only one piece of information that would likely be taking place within a larger scale assessment process. Please let us know if you have any further questions. Depending on the intervention approach chosen, several of the DECA-C strategies can absolutely support a child on the autism spectrum.