Recommended Instruments -

Developmental and social-emotional screening of young children (0-5 years of age) in Minnesota

Recommended instruments

The following developmental and social-emotional screening instruments are recommended for use in Minnesota programs that provide screening for children 0-5 years of age. This list is approved as of July, 2017 and will be updated as new or revised developmental screening instruments are reviewed, and in response to statutory, rule, or regulatory changes that impact comprehensive screening programs in Minnesota.

All Instruments at a Glance lists all recommended developmental and social-emotional screening instruments by type, age, multiple languages (yes/no), and program.

Instruments at a Glance for Minnesota Clinics and Providers lists a subset of recommended screening instruments that are more practical for use in primary care clinics.

Developmental screening instruments

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Choosing a developmental screening instrument

Screening programs in Minnesota have varying requirements for developmental screening instruments. The list below differentiates between parent report or observational developmental screening instruments.

Minnesota's Early Childhood Screening program (described in Screening Programs) requires that both an observational instrument and a parent report tool be used for developmental screening. A developmental screener must measure the child's cognition, fine and gross motor skills, speech and language, and social-emotional development. The observational screening instruments listed below are approved by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Clinics, local public health programs, and other screening programs may choose to use a parent-report instrument for developmental screening.

Also refer to Choosing an instrument for more guidance.


Parent-report developmental screening instruments

(Detailed comparison table of parent-report instruments)

Observational developmental screening instruments

(Detailed comparison table of observational instruments)

Social-emotional screening instruments

Use of a separate social-emotional screening instrument is recommended as a best practice strategy to accurately identify potential problems in children, regardless of program rule or requirement. The general developmental screening instruments listed above do not meet the social-emotional component of screening required in some programs.

(Detailed comparison table of social-emotional instruments)

Instruments currently NOT recommended

The following instruments do not meet instrument review criteria. These instruments are not currently recommended for use in Minnesota's screening programs and not approved for use in Minnesota's Early Childhood Screening program.

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Survey of Wellbeing of Young Children (SWYC)

The SWYC does not meet review instrument review criteria and is not currently recommended for use in Minnesota's public screening programs. The SWYC is an instrument developed for surveillance of developmental milestones, social-emotional development, autism, and family risk factors. The instrument is currently undergoing a 5 year study to assess its accuracy as a screening instrument for young children in a variety of settings.

Infant Development Inventory (IDI) and Child Development Review Parent Questionnaire (CDR-PQ)

The IDI and CDR-PQ were developed in 1994 and 1990, respectively. These instruments are no longer recommended, due to the fact that they were normed more than 20 years ago and no longer meet instrument review criteria. For programs using these instruments, transition to currently recommended instruments is recommended by July, 2016. Recommended parent-report developmental screening instruments are listed above.

Early Screening Profiles (ESP)

Effective July 1, 2016, the ESP is no longer approved by the Minnesota Department of Education for use in school districts' Early Childhood Screening programs. The ESP is an observational developmental screening instrument that was developed in 1990. This instrument is no longer recommended because it does not meet Task Force instrument review criteria. For programs using this instrument, transition to currently recommended instruments is required by July 1, 2016. Recommended observational developmental screening instruments are listed above.

FirstSTEP Preschool Screening Tool

Effective July 1, 2016, FirstSTEP is no longer approved by the Minnesota Department of Education for use in school districts' Early Childhood Screening programs. The FirstSTEP is an observational developmental screening instrument that was developed in 1993. This instrument is no longer recommended because it does not meet Task Force instrument review criteria. For programs using this instrument, transition to currently recommended instruments is required by July 1, 2016. Recommended observational developmental screening instruments are listed above.

Denver II

The Denver II (1989) is no longer a recommended developmental screening instrument for use in Minnesota screening programs or for the Early Childhood Screening Program in Minnesota. The Denver II failed to meet review criteria.