Recommended Developmental and Social-emotional Screening Instruments

Recommended Screening 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, 2018 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 (PDF) 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 (PDF) lists a subset of recommended screening instruments that are more practical for use in primary care clinics.

Developmental screening instruments

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

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

Minnesota's Early Childhood Screening program through the local school districts 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.

Refer to Choosing an instrument for more guidance.


Parent-report developmental screening instruments

(Detailed comparison table of parent-report developmental screening instruments (PDF))

Observational developmental screening instruments

(Detailed comparison table of observational developmental screening instruments (PDF))

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 (PDF))

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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The Bayley 4 Screener (2019) has been reviewed and it is not recommended for use in Minnesota's public screening programs. The Bayley 4 Screener was normed against the Bayley 4 Assessment test only and is in fact a subset of the same items found within the assessment. Some of the publishers' comparison groups were based on very small sample sizes, some had an underrepresentation of girls and some were not representative across the age span of the tool. This means the publisher's sensitivity and sensitivity findings may not be generalizable to a broader population.

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 multi-year study to assess its accuracy as a screening instrument for young children in a variety of settings. If data results meet review criteria, this recommendation may change.

The ESI-3 (2019) has been reviewed and is not recommended for use in Minnesota's public screening programs. The ESI-3 uses the same items and content as the ESI-R 2008 edition, which was normed against an assessment tool that is now outdated (McCarthy Scales, 1972). The publishers offer re-standardization data for the ESI-3 using a norming sample matched to current US census data. However, the validity data is based on a very small sample size, with significant underrepresentation of girls. This means the publisher's sensitivity and specificity findings may not be generalizable to a broader population.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Updated Wednesday, 24-Mar-2021 18:45:08 CDT