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Reviews of Assessments & Resources

For a summary and technical information on the DECA-Preschool, Second Edition, assessment tool, click here.


Comprehensive Literature Review

A comprehensive look at research studies and reviews since the original development of the DECA and DECA program.

Chain, J., Dopp, A., Smith, G., Woodland, S., & LeBuffe, P. (2010). The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment Literature Review. Unpublished manuscript. The  Devereux Center for Resilient Children, Villanova, PA.

Selected Excerpts From Reviews

“It has been recommended as the best tool for early care and education, early childhood research, and assessing emotional intelligence in preschool settings in the U.S., Canada and England (Birkby, 2005; Reddy, 2007; Stainback-Tracy, 2004; Stewart-Brown & Edmunds, 2007)” (Chain et al., 2010).

Birkby, B. W. (2005). Early Childhood Mental Health Program (ECMH): Evaluation report FY 2005. Retrieved March 8, 2010, from View Report.

Reddy, L. (2007). Test reviews. Canadian Journal of School Psychology. 22(1), 121-127. View Abstract.

Stainback-Tracy, K. (2004). Screening for social and emotional development for infants, toddlers, & preschoolers in Colorado. Retrieved December 21, 2009, from View Report.

“The number of instruments reviewed found to be suitable for for pre-school settings was small, and the most suitable at the present appears to be the DECA” (Stewart-Brown & Edmunds, 2007).

Stewart-Brown, S. & Edmunds, L. (2007). Assessing emotional intelligence in children: A review of existing measures of emotional and social competence. In R. Bar-On, J. G. Maree, & M. J. Elias (Eds.), Educating people to be emotionally intelligent (pp. 241-257). Connecticut: Praeger. View Book Synopsis. View Pages with DECA.

“The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment accesses issues pertaining to attachment and self-control (which includes elements of emotion regulation, part of the emotional competence dimension covered here) and is very quick to complete” (Denham et al., 2009).


Denham, S. A., Wyatt, T. M., Bassett, H. H., Echeverria, D., & Knox, S. S. (2009). Assessing social-emotional development in children from a longitudinal perspective. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 63(11), 137-152. View Abstract.

“Test-retest and interrater reliability studies had favorable results” (Squires, 2000).

Squires, J. K. (2000). Identifying social/emotional and behavioral problems in infants and toddlers. The Transdisciplinary Journal, 10(2), 107-119. View Abstract.

“Results indicate that the DECA remains a reliable assessment 10 years after its publication, and supports its validity for use with children from low-income, rural, urban, and racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds (Lien & Carlson, 2009; Jaberg, Dixon, Weis, 2009; Crane, Winsler & Mincic, 2011)” (Chain et al., 2010).

Lien, M. T. & Carlson, J. S. (2009). Psychometric properties of the Devereux  Early Childhood Assessment in a Head Start sample. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 27(5), 386-396. View Abstract.

Jaberg, P. E, Dixon, D. J., & Weis, G. M. (2009). Replication evidence in support  of the psychometric properties of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 24(2), 158-166. View Abstract.

Crane, J., Mincic, M.S., Winsler, A. (2011). Parent-teacher agreement and reliability on the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) in English and Spanish for ethnically diverse children living in poverty. Early Education and Development, 22(3), 520-547. View Abstract.

“An advantage to the use of this assessment instrument is its Attachment subscale that examines the connection between the child and the parent. Although there are several observational assessments that measure parent-child interactions, no other parent/caregiver report instrument examines this dimension of social-emotional development” (Caselman, 2008).

Caselman, T. D., & Self, P. A. (2008). Assessment instruments for measuring young children’s social-emotional behavioral development. Children and Schools, 30(2), 103-115. View Abstract.

“DECA scores have also been found to positively predict literacy achievement, math achievement, language skills, school readiness (Fuccillo, 2008; Bracken et al., 1998)” (Chain et al., 2010)

Fuccillo, J. (2008). Specific learning behaviors as mediators of the association between teacher-child attachment and school readiness. Unpublished thesis, Universityof Miami.

Bracken, B. A, Keith L. K., & Walker, K.C. (1998). Assessment of preschool behavior and social-emotional functioning: A review of thirteen third-party instruments. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 16, 153-169. View Abstract.

“A particular strength may be its inclusion of a scale that taps behaviors frequently included within the approaches to learning construct—the Initiative scale” (Bridges et al. 2004).

Bridges, L. J., Berry, D. J., Johnson, R., Calkins, J., Margie, N. G. et al. (2004). Early childhood measures profiles. Washington, DC: Child Trends. View Report.

“Overall, the DECA-C can provide valuable information, especially in the area of protective factors and can be used with other sources of information in developing prevention and intervention programs” (Lowe, S. A. 2005).

Loew, S. A. (2005). Devereux Early Childhood Assessment – Clinical Form.  In R. A. Spies & B. S. Plake (Eds.), Mental Measurements Yearbook, 16th ed. (pp. 300-302).Nebraska: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. What is Buros Mental Measurements Yearbook?

“[The DECA-C] is likely to prove a useful tool both in individual assessment and in treatment outcomes research” (Ballard, 2005).

Ballard, J. C. (2005). Devereux Early Childhood Assessment – Clinical Form.  In R.A. Spies & B.S. Plake (Eds.), Mental Measurements Yearbook, 16th ed. (pp. 300-302). Nebraska: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. What is Buros Mental Measurements Yearbook?

“The developers have published a useful behavioral assessment targeted at identifying the strengths or adaptive characteristics of young children. The DECA is quick and reliable for early childhood practitioners to use and requires minimal training to administer and score” (Buhs, 2003).

Buhs, E. S. (2003). Devereux Early Childhood Assessment. In B. S. Plake, J. C. Impara, & R. A. Spies (Eds.), The Fifteenth Mental Measurements Yearbook. Lincoln, NE: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements. What is Buros Mental Measurements Yearbook?

“Test development, as described in the user’s guide and technical manual, appears to have been based on careful forethought and planning. Standardization samples have been systematically selected to conform to the general population, internal consistency is excellent, and test-retest reliability, particularly on the Total Protective Factors scales with teachers, is superior” (Chittooran, 2003).

Chittooran, M. M. (2003). Devereux Early Childhood Assessment. In B. S. Plake, J. C. Impara, & R. A. Spies (Eds.), The Fifteenth Mental Measurements Yearbook. Lincoln, NE: Buros Institute of Mental Measurements. What is Buros Mental Measurements Yearbook?

“There have been a number of reliable and valid assessment instruments developed within the past two decades that provide important developmental and diagnostic information on social-emotional behaviors in young children” (McCabe & Altamura, 2011).

McCabe, P. C. & Altamura, M. (2011). Empiracally valid strategies to improve social and emotional competence of preschool children. Psychology in Schools, 48 (5), 513-540.


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