What is the BESS?

  • Atlanta Public Schools is committed to creating a culture of student support, and supporting the needs of the whole child. One way we are addressing the whole child is by identifying student strengths and areas for growth relative to social, emotional, and behavioral well-being. In our continuing efforts to support the well-being of all students, we will administer a universal screener of social, emotional & behavioral health. The universal screener that was chosen by the District to help identify student strengths and areas for growth is the BASC-3 Behavior and Emotional Screening Scale (BASC-3 BESS).

    APS & SPARK are committed to creating a culture of student support and a focus on the whole child.  Our school will be administering a universal screener of social, emotional & behavioral health. The assessment has 3 components:  a brief rating scale completed by the homeroom teacher, a parent rating scale, as well as a self-rating scale for students ages 8 and above.  

    Together, this information helps us to understand the needs of all students, and to make effective plans to support those needs at the school, class, and individual levels.    The screener will be administered at SPARK during the Fall semester, Sep. 19 – Oct. 7.  

    K-5: All teachers fill out a student rating scale. Parents are invited to fill out a parent rating scale for students by clicking HERE. The Parent Notification letters can be found in the section dropdown below.  
    3-5: - In addition to all teachers filling out student rating scale, and parents invited to fill out a parent rating scale for students HERE, grade 3-5 students also fill out a self rating scale. If parents want to opt-out a student from completing the self rating scale, please complete the form that was sent home (form can also be accessed in the Parent Notification letters section found in the dropdown below). Deadline for opt out of student self rating scale is Friday, 9/16.

Why is the BESS administered?

    • Helps to put kids on your radar who otherwise may not be:
      • Students who may not know how to or choose not to advocate for themselves
      • Students whose academic and behavioral success masks social/emotional struggles
    • Creates an evidenced-based pathway for students to receive additional supports
    • Provides information to help you focus effort/time on students with the highest needs
    • Provides information to help you make “big picture” programming decisions and see large-scale trends at your school and allow us to see large-scale trends across the district

How are the BESS Scores Interpreted?

  • BASC-3 BESS Scores Explained:

    Normal Risk: 60 or lower
    Elevated Risk: 61-70
    Extremely Elevated Risk: 71 or higher

    Students are given an overall score (BERI T Score) that indicates how far their score is from the average of the norm group. The average BERI T score for the BESS is 50. The classification ranges for the BERI T score are:

    Screener Index Explanations

    BERI – Behavioral and Emotional Risk Index (Overall Risk)
    ERI – External Risk Index (Hyperactivity, Aggression, Conduct)
    IRI – Internal Risk Index (Anxiety, Depression)
    ARI – Adaptive Skills Risk Index (Social Skills, Leadership)
    SRI – Self Regulation Risk Index (Self-Control)
    PRI – Personal Adjustment Risk Index (Interpersonal, Relationships, Self-Esteem)

What Interventions are in place?

    • Regular counseling classroom instruction centered around the Social Emotional Learning Competencies 
    • Daily SEL lesson plans delivered by the classroom teacher 
    • Psychoeducational small groups w/ counselor & social worker
      • Self-Esteem 
      • Executive Functioning
      • Anxiety
      • Self-Regulation
    • Brief Individual Counseling Interventions
      • Morning Check-Ins

Parent Notification & Opt Out Letter

Frequently Asked Questions

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