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Student Risk Screening Scale- Internalizing and Externalizing

The Student Risk Screening Scale- Internalizing and Externalizing (SRSS-IE; Drummond, 1994; Lane & Menzies, 2009) helps identify students who are at risk for externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors.


The SRSS-IE assessment is a universal screening tool that helps identify students who are at risk for behavioral problems. Teachers assess various risk factors for each student in their classroom to determine who is at-risk.

Responding to these students with additional support may prevent their behavior problems from escalating over time. In addition to screening for individual students, schools use the SRSS-IE to look at school-wide data for program evaluation.

The SRSS-IE is not an assessment of static traits or personality and it should not be used to determine eligibility or access to programs such as special education. The SRSS-IE should be used as one of many data sources to inform instruction and indicate student risk.

SRSS-IE Overview

SRSS-IE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Risk Factors Assessed

Risk is measured by examining the presence of problem behaviors, or risk factors. While protective factors, or positive traits, are important, their presence is not necessarily as predictive of a student’s risk for problem behaviors.

The risk factors listed must be unchanged for the SRSS-IE to be valid and reliable. Further, the SRSS-IE is most effective without operational definitions for the risk factors. Each teacher should assess students based on his or her own understanding of the risk factors.

The SRSS-IE shows if a student’s level of risk is low, moderate, or high. The risk level is based on the total score of all risk factors; scores on individual SRSS-IE items are not predictive of a student’s overall risk.

The SRSS has an assessment for elementary students and an assessment for secondary students. The SRSS-E7 is used for both elementary and secondary. It measures externalizing factors. The SRSS-I5 (used for elementary) and the SRSS-I6 (used for secondary) measures internalizing factors.

The SRSS-IE is designed for use K-12. Teachers rate elementary school students on 13 items (7 externalizing, 5 internalizing). Teachers rate secondary school students on the same 13 items. One of the externalizing items also included in the scoring for the internalizing scale.

SRSS Externalizing 7 (SRSS-E7)

The SRSS-E7 is validated for both elementary and secondary schools.

  1. Steal.
  2. Lie, cheat, sneak.
  3. Behavior problems.
  4. Peer rejection.
  5. Low academic achievement.
  6. Negative attitude.
  7. Aggressive behavior.

SRSS Internalizing 5 (SRSS-I5) Elementary

The SRSS-I5 is validated for elementary school students.

  1. Emotionally flat.
  2. Shy; withdrawn.
  3. Sad; depressed.
  4. Anxious.
  5. Lonely.

SRSS Internalizing 6 (SRSS-I6) Secondary

The SRSS-I6 is validated for secondary school students.

  1. Emotionally flat.
  2. Shy; withdrawn.
  3. Sad; depressed.
  4. Anxious.
  5. Lonely.
  6. Peer Rejection*

*Summed from the SRSS Externalizing Scale. 

Administering the Assessment

Every teacher rates each of their students on how often the student exhibits the risk factors outlined in the SRSS-IE, using a scale of 0-3. Ratings can be conducted at meetings, or teachers can complete them on their own time and turn them in by designated due dates.

Teachers should know a student for at least 6 to 8 weeks before assessing his or her risk factors and have clear evidence of a student’s behavior in order to provide a score. Teachers should not consider past scores or consult with anyone regarding specific students or operational definitions of the SRSS risk factors.

Each student should only receive one set of scores. Elementary schools are generally able to identify a primary teacher for each student. Secondary schools must choose an approach that ensures students only receive one score. Schools may choose one class period during the day in which all students are assessed. Another option is to choose one type of class (e.g., English) that is responsible for assessing students.

Estimated Time

  • 15 to 20 minutes per class.

Assessment Schedule

  • SRSS-IE is administered 3 times per year
    • Fall: September/October (4-6 weeks after the school year start)
    • Winter: December (prior winter break)
    • Spring: April/May (6 weeks prior to the end of the school year)

Data Entry

  • Teachers record individual student scores using the school's SRSS-IE tool.
  • The SRSS-IE coordinator or designated person aggregates the scores into grade-level scores.
  • The systems coach enters the grade-level data into the Michigan MTSS (MiMTSS) Data System during the data review coaching support session.



Drummond, T. (1994). The Student Risk Screening Scale (SRSS). Grants Pass, OR: Josephine County Mental Health Program.

Lane, K. L. & Menzies, H. M. (2009). Student Risk Screening Scale for Early Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior (SRSS-IE). Screening scale. Available at

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