Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Rebecca J. Bulotsky-Shearer

Second Committee Member

Daryl B. Greenfield

Third Committee Member

Randall Penfield


Appropriate assessment instruments are necessary to accurately identify children’s behavior problems and to develop interventions within the classroom. Due to increases in the cultural and linguistic diversity among the early childhood professionals, especially Spanish-speaking teachers, measures are needed in teachers’ dominant language. In response to such a need, the publishers of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA; LeBuffe & Naglieri, 1999), a widely-used measure of children’s classroom behavior, have developed a Spanish-language form of the measure (DECA-Spanish; LeBuffe & Naglieri, 2001). In the present study, the measurement properties of the Behavioral Concerns subscale of the DECA were examined to confirm the invariance between the two language forms and to evaluate the appropriateness of its use within a large sample of diverse, low-income preschool children. Using a multiple group confirmatory factor analysis, the two language forms were tested for configural and metric invariance. Due to inadequate model fit to the published factor structure, a new two-factor structure, that distinguished between items that refer to Externalizing versus Internalizing Behavior Concerns, was derived by means of exploratory factor analysis. Multiple group comparison models using two-factor structure resulted in adequate fit providing evidence that with this structure the English- and Spanish-language forms of the Behavioral Concerns subscale of the DECA were invariant. Due to the inability to confirm the factor structure, results from the DECA, using the published factor structure should be interpreted with caution, especially when used within a low-income diverse sample.


Preschool; Head Start; Behavior Problems; Social and Emotional Development; Measurement Invariance; Assessment