How to Use the List

Consider the list a starting point.[2] It includes tools that you can use to screen for common mental health or behavioral issues or assess young people’s career readiness and life skills. To decide what tools best suit the needs of your programs and the youth you serve, you’ll need to investigate each tool further. This list provides as much information as possible at the time the list was compiled.

First, we recommend that you review assessment databases and their ratings, such as the Substance Use Screening & Assessment Instruments Database at the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington, the Educational Testing Service, and the Health Services and Sciences Research Resources database at the National Institutes of Health U.S. National Library of Medicine. More information about searching these sources as well as additional links to other instrument databases can be found at this compilation of instruments from the University of Vermont.

We also suggest that you look up the tools in this table in journal article databases like Google Scholar and PubMed Central. The ratings and the information in the articles will help you get a better sense of the tools you are interested in, and whether they are a good match for your organization’s needs.

Next, we recommend that you contact the publisher(s) and ask the following questions:

  • What qualifications do you need to obtain or purchase the tool? Some publishers require staff to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree to purchase the tool.
  • What qualifications do you need to administer the tool? Some publishers require staff with an advanced degree to interpret and report results.
  • What information do you need to provide to obtain a license to use the tool?
  • How much does the tool cost?
  • Is training required to use the tool? And if so, how much does that training cost?

Selecting the right tools for you will take some time and research. This list should help you get started.


[2] Several instruments in the table list the level of Response to Intervention (RTI) on which they fit. The RTI method is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of young people with specific learning and behavior needs. It groups instruments into one of three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Benchmarks all youth for behavior and/or social skills and identifies cases where social/emotional/behavior problems could interfere with learning.
  • Tier 2: Identifies appropriate interventions that improve behavior and social skills, and monitors behavior progress.
  • Tier 3: Monitors individuals with severe behavior or emotional problems more frequently or identify those needing to be referred to a behavioral specialist.