Student Risk Screening Scale

The Houston County School District is committed to supporting students, families and schools on a wide range of social, behavioral, and emotional issues that may affect learning. Universal screening for behavioral and emotional risk can help schools identify students who would benefit from intervention and/or supports.

Last year, our District implemented the Student Risk Screening Scale-Internalizing and Externalizing (SRSS-IE) at two elementary schools. Beginning in Fall 2022, all elementary schools will participate in SRSS-IE.  The information from the screening is used by the teacher, counselor and school administrators to determine socio-emotional supports and services that may be needed by students. This project is a collaboration with Project Aware, a $1.8M grant-funded program that focuses on advancing the wellness and resilience of students.


SRSS-IE Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the Student Risk Screening Scale-Internalizing and Externalizing?

The Student Risk Screening Scale-Internalizing and Externalizing (SRSS-IE) is a brief universal behavioral screening tool completed by teachers.  This is a proactive way for teachers to identify behaviors in the classroom that may be obstacles to learning. The SRSS-IE is not a diagnostic tool. When completing the SRSS-IE, teachers are asked to rate the students on observable behaviors that are seen in the classroom setting. It is a brief 1-page screening tool, which teachers use to rate students on a 0-3 Likert Scale based on how often they display specific behaviors. This process takes less than 30 minutes to complete per class. The data that is discovered from the use of this tool will not be used to label students, but to drive District and school decisions around student supports and services.

The SRSS-IE is a tool that enables teachers to record classroom observations in a uniform and evidenced-based manner. The results will help our schools plan positive instructional experiences that will have lifelong benefits for our students.


Q: What is a universal screener?

A universal screener is a brief assessment completed on or by all students to identify which students are at risk for academic or non-academic difficulties. A universal screener can also be used for measuring the improvement of a group, class, grade, school, or district. A universal screener can be designed to screen any area of concern or interest including academics, social skills, language, externalized behaviors (e.g., physical or verbal aggression, self-injury, and disruption) and/or internalized behaviors (e.g., anxiety, depression, withdrawal, and isolation).


Q: What behaviors does the SRSS-IE measure?

The SRSS-IE includes 7 items that measure externalizing behaviors and an additional 5 items that measure internalizing behaviors. These include the following:

  • Steal
  • Lie, cheat, sneak;
  • Behavior problem;
  • Peer rejection;
  • Low academic achievement;
  • Negative attitude;
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Emotionally flat;
  • Shy, withdrawn;
  • Sad, depressed;
  • Anxious;
  • Lonely

Q: How were teachers trained to complete this tool?

Teachers attended an interactive training conducted by Georgia State University, in collaboration with the Georgia Department of Education. Our teachers screen (observe) behaviors in students every day. They are an integral part of their students' support system, and parents rely on teachers to create a safe and engaging environment. Part of creating that environment means that teachers serve as frontline observers in the world of socio-emotional and behavioral learning and development.


Q: How is the SRSS-IE data used?

The encrypted data is accessible to the current teacher, counselor, and school administration.  It is used to determine socio-emotional supports and services that may be needed by students.  The SRSS-IE is one piece of data that helps to drive education decisions.

Any student who appears to need additional support or services may be referred to student support personnel regardless of the results of the SRSS-IE.


Q: Which grades will participate?

This year, our SRSS-IE will be conducted in our primary and elementary schools.


Q: Why were teachers selected to complete this screener?

As trained professionals, teachers are uniquely qualified to observe student behavior and respond appropriately.  Assessment of student academic and behavioral progress, performance, and growth is a vital part of the teaching profession.


Q: Does this information follow the child throughout their educational career?

No. The SRSS-IE results do not follow the child from year to year. The SRSS-IE is not meant to assign a child a label, but rather to proactively observe for specific at-risk behaviors.


Q: Can I opt out of the SRSS-IE?

Yes.  Parents may opt out by contacting their child’s counselor by Wednesday, August 31.


Q: Where can I get more information on the SRSS-IE?

More information about this tool can be found at