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Comparability of the Social Skills Rating System to the Social Skills Improvement System: Content and Psychometric Comparisons Across Elementary and Secondary Age Levels

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Abstract

This study compared the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS; Gresham & Elliott, 1990) with the revision of the SSRS, now called the Social Skills Improvement System-Rating Scales (SSIS-RS; Gresham & Elliott, 2008), across three raters (teacher, parent, and student) for elementary- and secondary-aged students. A detailed comparison of these two instruments' comparability has not been previously reported and was considered important because of the frequent use of the SSRS in many externally funded research studies and school districts across the country. Comparisons between the two instruments focused on key reliability and validity estimates across the rating scales for three raters (teacher, parent, and student) using forms for elementary- and secondary-aged students. As hypothesized, the two instruments had high internal consistency estimates and moderately high validity indices for total scores for both social skills and problem behavior scales. The reliability comparisons revealed the SSIS-RS was superior to the SSRS with regard to internal consistency estimates. The validity estimates revealed expected convergent relationships with the strongest relationships consistently found among the various common subscales across all forms of the two instruments. The authors concluded that the SSIS-RS offers researchers and practitioners assessing social behavior of children and youth a broader conceptualization of key social behaviors and psychometrically superior assessment results when using the SSIS-RS over the SSRS. Future research on the SSIS-RS is also identified and contextualized within a multitiered intervention system. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Comparability of the Social Skills Rating System to the Social
Skills Improvement System: Content and Psychometric Comparisons
Across Elementary and Secondary Age Levels
Frank M. Gresham
Louisiana State University
Stephen N. Elliott
Learning Sciences Institute, Arizona State
University
Michael J. Vance
Louisiana State University
Clayton R. Cook
University of Washington
This study compared the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS; Gresham & Elliott, 1990)
with the revision of the SSRS, now called the Social Skills Improvement System-
Rating Scales (SSIS-RS; Gresham & Elliott, 2008), across three raters (teacher, parent,
and student) for elementary- and secondary-aged students. A detailed comparison of
these two instruments’ comparability has not been previously reported and was con-
sidered important because of the frequent use of the SSRS in many externally funded
research studies and school districts across the country. Comparisons between the two
instruments focused on key reliability and validity estimates across the rating scales for
three raters (teacher, parent, and student) using forms for elementary- and secondary-
aged students. As hypothesized, the two instruments had high internal consistency
estimates and moderately high validity indices for total scores for both social skills and
problem behavior scales. The reliability comparisons revealed the SSIS-RS was supe-
rior to the SSRS with regard to internal consistency estimates. The validity estimates
revealed expected convergent relationships with the strongest relationships consistently
found among the various common subscales across all forms of the two instruments.
The authors concluded that the SSIS-RS offers researchers and practitioners assessing
social behavior of children and youth a broader conceptualization of key social
behaviors and psychometrically superior assessment results when using the SSIS-RS
over the SSRS. Future research on the SSIS-RS is also identified and contextualized
within a multitiered intervention system.
Keywords:
SSIS-RS, SSRS, comparability, convergent validity
Children and youth who experience difficulties
in their interpersonal relationships are at risk for
difficulties in areas of educational, psychosocial,
and vocational domains of functioning (Berndt &
McCandless, 2009; Hartup, 2009; Kupersmidt,
Coie, & Dodge, 1990; Newcomb, Bukowski, &
Pattee, 1993; Parker & Asher, 1987). Difficulties
with social skills are characteristic of individuals
with a range of disabilities, including emotional
and behavioral disorders (Gresham, Cook, Crews,
& Kern, 2004; Maag, 2005; Walker & Gresham,
2003), specific learning disabilities (Gresham,
1992; Gresham, MacMillan, Bocian, Ward, &
Forness, 1998; Kavale & Forness, 1996), attention
deficit/hyperactivity disorder (Hinshaw & Blach-
man, 2005; MTA Cooperative Group, 1999;
Smith, Barkley, & Shapiro, 2007), conduct disor-
der (Conduct Problems Prevention Research
Group, 1999, 2002), and mild mental retardation
(Gresham & Reschly, 1987).
Frank M. Gresham, Department of Psychology, Loui-
siana State University; Stephen N. Elliott, Learning Sci-
ences Institute, Arizona State University; Michael J.
Vance, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State Uni-
versity; and Clayton R. Cook, Department of Educational
Psychology, University of Washington.
This research was supported, in part, by grants
R324A087113 and R324A090098 from the Institute of Ed-
ucational Sciences, United States Department of Education.
Correspondence concerning this article should be ad-
dressed to Frank M. Gresham, Department of Psychology,
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. E-
mail: gresham@lsu.edu
School Psychology Quarterly © 2011 American Psychological Association
2011, Vol. 26, No. 1, 27– 44 1045-3830/11/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0022662
27
Table 1
Scale Features of SSRS and SSIS-RS
Rating scale features SSRS rating scale SSIS-RS rating scale
Scales Social skills Social skills
Problem behaviors Problem behaviors
Academic competence (teacher only) Academic competence (teacher only)
Social skills subscales Cooperation (10 items all forms)
Cooperation (6 items parent/teacher, 7
items student)
Assertion (10 items all forms) Assertion (7 items all forms)
Responsibility (10 items all forms)
Responsibility (6 items
parent/teacher, 7 items student)
Self-control (10 items all forms)
Self-control (7 items parent/teacher, 6
items student)
Communication (7 items
parent/teacher, 6 items student)
Empathy (6 items all forms)
Engagement (7 items all forms)
Problem behaviors subscales Externalizing (6 items all forms) Externalizing (12 items all forms)
Internalizing (6 items all forms)
Internalizing ( 10 items
parent/student, 7 items teacher)
Bullying (5 items all forms)
Hyperactivity/inattention (7 items all
forms)
Autism spectrum (15 items parent/
teacher, 0 student)
Rating dimensions &
descriptive anchors Frequency (Never, Sometimes, or Very Often)
Frequency (Never, Seldom, Often, or
Almost Always)
Importance (Not Important, Important, or
Critical)
Importance (Not Important, Important,
or Critical)
Points on scales 3-point Frequency rating 0 to 2 4-point Frequency rating 0 to 3
3-point Importance rating 0 to 2 3-point Importance ratings 0 to 2
Respondent forms Parent form Parent form
Teacher form Teacher form
Student elementary form Student ages 8–12 form
Student secondary form Student ages 13–18 form
Number of social skills
items Parent form 39 items Parent form 46 items
Teacher form 30 items Teacher form 30 items
Student elementary form 34 items Student ages 8–12 form 46 items
Student secondary form 34 items Student ages 13–18 form 46 items
Number of problem
behaviors items Parent form 10 items Parent form 33 items
Teacher form 10 items Teacher form 30 items
Student elementary form 0 items Student ages 8–12 form 29 items
Student secondary form 0 items Student ages 13–18 form 29 items
Number of academic
competence items Teacher form 9 items Teacher form 7 items
Average time to complete
form Parent form 20 min Parent form 15–20 min
Teacher form 15 min Teacher form 15–20 min
Student forms 20 min Student forms 25 min
Other system components Assessment-intervention record (AIR) Performance screening guide (PSG)
Intervention guide (IG) Class-wide intervention program (CIP)
Computerized scoring ASSIST Intervention guide (IG)
Computerized scoring ASSIST
Note. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System
(Gresham & Elliott, 2008).
28 GRESHAM, ELLIOTT, VANCE, AND COOK
Social skills are learned, socially acceptable
behaviors that allow a person to positively in-
teract with others. Social skills are important for
success in both academic and peer-group set-
tings. Essential social skills for success at
school, according to teacher reports, include
listening to others, following classroom rules,
complying with teacher directives, asking for
help, cooperating with peers, and controlling
temper in conflict situations (Lane, Givner, &
Pierson, 2004; Lane, Pierson, & Givner, 2003;
Meir, DiPerna, & Oster, 2006).
In addition to being related to a number of
disabilities and valued by teachers, social skills
are central to the assessment of social compe-
tence. Deficits in social competence are part of
several diagnostic criteria. In the current federal
definition of emotional disturbance specified in
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Im-
provement Act (2004), two of the five criteria
indicate social competence deficits as part of the
disability: (a) an inability to build or maintain
satisfactory interpersonal relationships with
peers and teachers, and (b) the expression of
inappropriate behavior under normal circum-
stances. Difficulties in interpersonal relation-
ships are also part of many diagnostic criteria
specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Man-
ual of Mental Disorders (DSM–IV TR, Ameri-
can Psychiatric Association, 2000). For exam-
ple, the diagnostic criteria for attention deficit/
hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, and
oppositional defiant disorder all specify that to
make these diagnoses, there must be clear evi-
dence of clinically significant impairment in so-
cial functioning. Similarly, children diagnosed
with autistic disorder must have severe and sus-
tained gross impairment in reciprocal social inter-
action (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).
Considering the importance of both real
world consequences and access to intervention
services hinged upon appropriate interpersonal
relationships and social competence, the accu-
rate measurement and interpretation of chil-
dren’s social skills deficits is an important first
step in the effective treatment of such difficul-
ties. The Social Skills Rating System or SSRS
(Gresham & Elliott, 1990), with its focus on
Table 2
Participant Characteristics
Characteristic
Teacher Parent Student
Elementary Secondary Elementary Secondary Elementary Secondary
N 146 75 126 114 139 85
Age
Mean (years:months) 9:2 14:7 8:7 14:9 10:5 14:11
SD (months) 25 16.2 25 18.1 15.4 20.8
Sex
Female 79 41 52 64 69 44
Male 67 34 74 50 70 41
Race/ethnicity
African American 33 9 6 7 14 8
Hispanic 27 6 3 9 17 4
White 73 52 112 97 100 66
Other 13 8 5 1 8 7
Mother’s education
Grade 11 or less 16 4 4 2 11 4
Grade 12 or GED 52 23 34 29 46 16
1–3 years of college 50 26 43 41 46 35
4 or more years of college 28 22 45 42 36 30
Region
Northeast 11 9 45 30 9 21
North Central 28 19 41 38 54 36
South 66 17 34 26 57 6
West 41 30 6 20 19 22
Test interval (days)
Range 30–72 0–89 32–90 29–88 56–89 26–86
Mean 53.4 29.2 60.2 63.1 68 60.7
29COMPARABILITY OF SSRS AND SSIS-RS
children’s prosocial behavior, has been one of
the most widely used measures of children’s
social behaviors in schools across the United
States and a number of foreign countries. Since
it was nationally normed in 1988 –1989, the
SSRS instrument also has played a prominent
role in social behavior research with children
ages 3 through 18. For example, during the
period 2003–2008, the SSRS was used as a
measure of social skills in studies published in
more than 50 peer-reviewed journals represent-
ing the fields of education, psychiatry, develop-
mental psychology, school psychology, mental
health, and nursing. During those same years,
the authors (representing 13 countries) of 127
published studies and 53 doctoral dissertations
reported using the student, parent, or teacher
forms of the SSRS to measure child and ado-
lescent social skills and problem behavior (El-
liott, 2008). The SSRS has been used in numer-
ous federal research grants funded by the Office
of Special Education Programs (OSEP), the In-
stitute of Educational Sciences (IES), national
evaluations of the Head Start program, the Na-
tional Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and
the National Institute of Child Health and Hu-
man Development (NICHD). The SSRS is also
used internationally and has been translated by
researchers into a number of languages, including
Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Norwegian, Dutch,
German, Russian, and Korean (Elliott, 2008).
As evidenced by its widespread use and the
substantial body of scholarly research, the
SSRS has been a useful “lens” for many re-
searchers and practicing psychologists to study
adults’ and students’ perceptions of prosocial
behavior— cooperation, assertion, responsibil-
ity, empathy, and self-control—of children and
youth. After nearly two decades of use, how-
ever, the SSRS was revised in 2008 and re-
named the Social Skills Improvement System
(SSIS-RS; Gresham & Elliott, 2008). The de-
velopment of the SSIS-RS was significantly in-
fluenced by the extant research with the SSRS,
pressing social behavior assessment needs in the
areas of autism spectrum disorders and bully-
ing, and an evolving theory of social skills as
academic enablers (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Pas-
torelli, Bandura, & Zimbardo, 2000). This re-
sulted in an expanded definition of social skills
Table 3
Comparisons of SSRS and SSIS-RS Internal Consistency Estimates for Teacher Form
Teacher rating
SSRS SSIS-RS Comparison
Zr Zr Z-test p
Elementary form
Cooperation 0.92 1.59 0.86 1.29 3.37
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Assertion 0.86 1.29 0.83 1.19 1.12 0.131
Self-control 0.91 1.53 0.90 1.47 0.67 0.250
Total social skills 0.94 1.74 0.97 2.09 3.93
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Externalizing 0.88 1.38 0.93 1.66 3.15
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Internalizing 0.78 1.04 0.83 1.19 1.69
0.046
Hyperactivity 0.87 1.33 0.90 1.47 1.57 0.058
Total problem behavior 0.88 1.38 0.95 1.83 5.06
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Academic competence 0.95 1.83 0.97 2.09 2.92
ⴱⴱ
0.002
Secondary form
Cooperation 0.92 1.59 0.86 1.29 2.98
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Assertion 0.86 1.29 0.87 1.33 0.40 0.346
Self-control 0.89 1.42 0.93 1.66 2.38
ⴱⴱ
0.009
Total social skills 0.93 1.66 0.97 2.09 4.27
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Externalizing 0.89 1.42 0.94 1.74 3.18
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Internalizing 0.80 1.1 0.90 1.47 3.68
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Hyperactivity
Total problem behavior 0.86 1.29 0.96 1.95 6.56
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Academic competence 0.95 1.83 0.96 1.95 1.19 0.117
Note. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System
(Gresham & Elliott, 2008); ␣⫽correlation alpha; Z
r
Fisher transformation of correlation alpha.
p .05.
ⴱⴱ
p .01.
30 GRESHAM, ELLIOTT, VANCE, AND COOK
that includes communication and engagement
behaviors along with the five original SSRS
social behavior domains. Additionally, the
SSIS-RS is directly related to a series of screen-
ing measures (Performance Screening Guide,
or, PSG) and a tiered model of social skills
instruction that can be implemented via interven-
tion manuals within the general education setting
(Elliott & Gresham, 2007a, 2007b, 2008).
The Social Skills Improvement System-Rating
Scales (SSIS-RS; Gresham & Elliott, 2008) has
continued and refined the assessment to interven-
tion linking method of the SSRS. The linking of
assessment results to intervention is accom-
plished through the application of a social
behavior analysis framework, where social
skills are operationally defined as strengths,
performance deficits, or acquisition deficits
with or without competing problem behav-
iors. A social skill strength can be defined as
an individual knowing how to perform, and
performing, specific social skills in a consis-
tent and appropriate manner. Social skills
strengths are important because they can be
used as building blocks for the improvement
of less well-developed social skills for indi-
viduals (Elliott & Gresham, 2007a; Gresham
& Elliott, 2008). Performance deficits can be
conceptualized as the failure to perform a
given social skill at acceptable levels even
though the individual knows how to perform
the social skill. These types of social skills
deficits can be thought of as “won’t do” prob-
lems, in that the child knows what to do but
does not want to perform a particular social
skill. These types of social skill deficits can
best be thought of as motivational or perfor-
mance issues rather than learning or acquisi-
tion issues. In contrast, an acquisition deficit
results from either the absence of knowledge
about how to perform a given social skill or
difficulty in knowing which social skill is
appropriate in specific situations. Acquisition
deficits can be characterized as “can’t do”
problems because the child cannot perform a
given social skill under the most optimal con-
ditions of motivation. In short, social skills
acquisition deficits result from faulty instruc-
tion of appropriate social behaviors and/or
Table 4
Comparisons of SSRS and SSIS-RS Internal Consistency Estimates for Parent Form
Parent rating
SSRS SSIS-RS Comparison
Zr Zr Z-test p
Elementary form
Cooperation 0.77 1.02 0.83 1.19 1.71
0.044
Assertion 0.74 0.95 0.75 0.97 0.20 0.420
Responsibility 0.65 0.78 0.84 1.22 4.42
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Self-control 0.80 1.1 0.84 1.22 1.20 0.114
Total social skills 0.87 1.33 0.95 1.83 5.02
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Externalizing 0.75 0.97 0.89 1.42 4.52
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Internalizing 0.71 0.89 0.82 1.16 2.71
ⴱⴱ
0.003
Hyperactivity 0.77 1.02 0.85 1.26 2.41
ⴱⴱ
0.008
Total problem behavior 0.87 1.33 0.94 1.74 4.12
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Secondary form
Cooperation 0.78 1.05 0.85 1.26 1.81
0.035
Assertion 0.81 1.13 0.77 1.02 0.95 0.171
Responsibility 0.74 0.95 0.86 1.29 2.93
ⴱⴱ
0.002
Self-control 0.82 1.16 0.85 1.26 0.86 0.194
Total social skills 0.90 1.47 0.96 1.95 4.14
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Externalizing 0.82 1.16 0.90 1.47 2.67
ⴱⴱ
0.004
Internalizing 0.72 0.91 0.87 1.33 3.62
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Hyperactivity
Total problem behavior 0.81 1.13 0.95 1.83 6.04
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Note. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System
(Gresham & Elliott, 2008); ␣⫽ correlation alpha; Z
r
Fisher transformation of correlation alpha.
p .05.
ⴱⴱ
p .01.
31COMPARABILITY OF SSRS AND SSIS-RS
faulty learning of appropriate social behav-
iors.
SSRS and SSIS-RS Structure and Behavior
Ratings
The SSRS (Gresham & Elliott, 1990) is a
broad-based, multirater assessment of students’
social behavior that examines teacher-student
relations, peer interactions, and academic per-
formance. The SSRS is the only social skills
rating scale that yields information from three
key rating sources: teachers, parents, and stu-
dents. The SSRS solicits information from these
three sources in Grades 3–12 and from parents
and teachers for children ages 3–5. The SSRS
has three forms reflecting three developmental
age ranges: preschool (ages 3–5 years), elemen-
tary (grades K– 6), and secondary (grades
7–12). The SSRS focuses on a comprehensive
assessment of social skills; however, it also
includes problem behaviors that often compete
with the acquisition and/or performance of so-
cially skilled behaviors. Additionally, the
teacher version of the SSRS includes a measure
of academic competence because poor social
skills, competing problem behaviors, and poor
Table 5
Comparisons of SSRS and SSIS-RS Internal
Consistency Estimates for Student Form
Scale
SSRS SSIS-RS Comparison
Z
r
Z
r
Z-test p
Elementary form
Cooperation 0.68 0.83 0.79 1.07 2.64
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Assertion 0.51 0.56 0.75 0.97 4.50
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Empathy 0.74 0.95 0.80 1.1 1.65
0.050
Self-control 0.63 0.74 0.79 1.07 3.62
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Total social
skills 0.83 1.19 0.94 1.74 6.04
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Secondary form
Cooperation 0.69 0.85 0.83 1.19 3.70
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Assertion 0.67 0.81 0.75 0.98 1.84
0.033
Empathy 0.77 1.02 0.83 1.19 1.85
0.032
Self-control 0.68 0.83 0.83 1.19 3.92
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Total social
skills 0.83 1.19 0.95 1.84 7.06
ⴱⴱ
0.001
Note. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham &
Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System
(Gresham & Elliott, 2008); ␣⫽correlation alpha; Z
r
Fisher transformation of correlation alpha.
p .05.
ⴱⴱ
p .01.
Table 6
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Teacher Elementary Form (Social Skills)
SSRS Teacher
elementary form
SSIS-RS Teacher elementary form
Social skills Communication Cooperation Assertion Responsibility Empathy Engagement Self-control
r adj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.74 0.45 0.65 0.66 0.61 0.64 0.54 0.53 0.64 0.66 0.56 0.58 0.69 0.69 0.57 0.60
Cooperation 0.58 0.59 0.55 0.56 0.69 0.72 0.32 0.31 0.61 0.63 0.39 0.41 0.44 0.44 0.41 0.43
Assertion 0.62 0.62 0.50 0.51 0.37 0.40 0.68 0.67 0.44 0.46 0.53 0.55 0.68 0.68 0.35 0.37
Self-control 0.71 0.72 0.64 0.65 0.56 0.59 0.32 0.31 0.67 0.69 0.57 0.59 0.59 0.59 0.72 0.74
Problem behaviors 0.56 0.57 0.49 0.50 0.62 0.65 0.26 0.25 0.57 0.59 0.31 0.33 0.43 0.43 0.54 0.57
Externalizing 0.47 0.48 0.46 0.47 0.46 0.49 0.08 0.08 0.52 0.54 0.36 0.38 0.30 0.30 0.55 0.58
Internalizing 0.34 0.35 0.25 0.26 0.30 0.32 0.31 0.30 0.24 0.25 0.14 0.15 0.45 0.45 0.25 0.27
Hyperactivity 0.56 0.57 0.52 0.53 0.73 0.76 0.20 0.20 0.66 0.68 0.32 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.53 0.56
Note. N 146. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based
on scale standard scores and subscale raw scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of range using the variability
correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS sample.
All values between .256 and .324 significant at p .05. All values greater than .324 significant at p .01.
32 GRESHAM, ELLIOTT, VANCE, AND COOK
academic performance often co-occur
(Gresham & Elliott, 1990).
The SSIS-RS is a revision to the SSRS, as-
sociated with a tiered model of social skills
instruction. Similar to the SSRS, the SSIS-RS is
meant to assist parents, teachers, and students in
identifying significant social skills deficits. Like
the SSRS, the SSIS-RS provides a framework
for developing interventions for students who
are experiencing social skills deficits. The
SSIS-RS has a number of advantages over the
SSRS, including (a) updated national norms; (b)
four additional subscales (communication, en-
gagement, bullying, and autism spectrum); (c)
greater overlap in topics covered across raters,
improved psychometric properties, validity
scales; (d) Spanish versions of parent and stu-
dent forms; (e) scoring and reporting software;
and (f) a direct link from item scores to skill-
focused interventions. Table 1 provides a com-
parison of key features of the SSRS to the
SSIS-RS.
SSIS-RS: Directly Linking Assessment to
Intervention
Unlike the SSRS, which was used primarily
as an assessment tool, the SSIS-RS is part of a
larger, multitiered intervention system and di-
rectly linked to intervention tools. In addition to
the SSIS-RS rating scales, the SSIS-RS System
includes a Performance Screening Guide (PSG),
Classwide Intervention Program (CIP), and an
Intervention Guide (IG). These are tools to as-
sess, instruct, and monitor progress in a tiered
model of instruction. These tools are to be used
flexibly; that is, the assessments can be used
alone or in combination with either or both of
the classwide or small group manualized inter-
vention programs.
The Performance Screening Guide (PSG) is a
criterion-related performance measure meant to
be used as universal screener for teachers to use
to assess all students within a setting. It focuses
on observable behaviors in four skill areas: pos-
itive social behaviors, motivation to learn, read-
ing skills, and math skills. Unlike other univer-
sal screening tools, the PSG uses criterion-
related goals rather than relative classwide
norms. With this tool, educators can quickly
identify students within their classrooms who
are at risk for experiencing behavioral or aca-
demic difficulties.
As a means to proactively teach social skills
within the general education setting, the
SSIS-RS evidence-based practices start with the
Classwide Intervention Program (CIP). The CIP
is a scripted general education program that
teaches 10 of the most important social skills as
rated by teachers and parents. These skills rep-
resent seven critical skill domains covered in
the SSIS-RS: Communication, Cooperation,
Table 7
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Teacher Elementary Form (Problem Behavior)
SSRS Teacher
elementary form
SSIS-RS Teacher elementary form
Problem
behavior Externalizing Bullying
Hyperactivity/
inattention Internalizing
Autism
spectrum
r adj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.56 0.65 0.54 0.63 0.38 0.52 0.54 0.59 0.36 0.41 0.72 0.77
Cooperation 0.50 0.59 0.53 0.62 0.33 0.46 0.56 0.61 0.22 0.26 0.55 0.60
Assertion 0.37 0.45 0.29 0.36 0.18 0.26 0.29 0.32 0.37 0.42 0.65 0.70
Self-control 0.66 0.74 0.70 0.78 0.57 0.72 0.60 0.64 0.36 0.41 0.71 0.76
Problem behavior 0.77 0.83 0.75 0.82 0.56 0.71 0.75 0.79 0.52 0.58 0.60 0.65
Externalizing 0.68 0.76 0.76 0.83 0.68 0.81 0.62 0.66 0.36 0.41 0.48 0.53
Internalizing 0.54 0.63 0.41 0.49 0.23 0.33 0.46 0.50 0.63 0.69 0.47 0.52
Hyperactivity 0.77 0.83 0.79 0.49 0.57 0.72 0.82 0.85 0.38 0.43 0.58 0.63
Note. N 146. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills
Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based on scale standard scores and subscale raw
scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of
range using the variability correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of
the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS sample. All values between
.256 and .324 significant at p .05. All values greater than .324 significant at p .01.
33COMPARABILITY OF SSRS AND SSIS-RS
Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, Engage-
ment, and Self-Control.
If students do not respond appropriately to
the CIP, as reflected in PSG postintervention
scores, a teacher can then fill out the SSIS-RS to
gain a better understanding of specific skill do-
mains that the student is lacking in. Once com-
pleted, the SSIS-RS results can be use to spe-
cifically target skill domains using the SSIS-
Intervention Guide (IG). The SSIS-IG offers a
program with 20 keystone social skill units,
including the top 10 skills taught within the
CIP. Additionally, there are 46 separate be-
haviors assessed in the SSIS-RS that can be
targeted by using one of the 20 keystone
behaviors found within the IG. The IG man-
ual also includes a section on performance-
based interventions for students who know
how to engage in appropriate behaviors but
are currently not being reinforced for engag-
ing in these behaviors.
The addition of the CIP and IG manualized
intervention programs bolster the validity and
utility of the SSIS-RS. This is especially true
given the programs ability to assess features
commonly associated with autism spectrum dis-
orders. As the rates of students being identified
with ASDs is increasing, it is important not only
to assess these behaviors but also to have evi-
denced-based practices for intervening to in-
creasing prosocial behaviors. The CIP and IG
manuals provide a number of lessons meant to
directly teach and reinforce prosocial behaviors.
They include components of instruction, peer
modeling, positive and negative examples, and
role play. Additionally, the Intervention Guide
provides teachers with information regarding
appropriate reinforcement contingencies that
could be useful for increasing prosocial be-
haviors for students with autism spectrum
disorders.
Purpose of the Current Study
The purpose of the present study was to com-
pare the SSRS Social Skills Rating System
(SSRS; Gresham & Elliott, 1990) with the re-
vision of the SSRS, now called the Social Skills
Improvement System-Rating Scales (SSIS-RS;
Gresham & Elliott, 2008), across three raters
(teacher, parent, and student) for elementary-
and secondary-aged students. Both the SSRS
and SSIS-RS are in use in many research studies
Table 8
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Teacher Secondary Form (Social Skills)
SSRS Teacher
secondary form
SSIS-RS Teacher secondary form
Social skills Communication Cooperation Assertion Responsibility Empathy Engagement Self-control
r adj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.59 0.62 0.52 0.51 0.33 0.32 0.47 0.50 0.41 0.39 0.46 0.5 0.60 0.60 0.43 0.50
Cooperation 0.52 0.55 0.47 0.46 0.65 0.64 0.05 0.05 0.66 0.64 0.37 0.41 0.28 0.28 0.49 0.56
Assertion 0.41 0.44 0.36 0.35 0.03 0.03 0.65 0.68 0.07 0.07 0.31 0.34 0.65 0.65 0.15 0.18
Self-control 0.61 0.64 0.55 0.54 0.39 0.38 0.24 0.26 0.52 0.50 0.56 0.6 0.50 0.50 0.63 0.70
Problem behaviors 0.49 0.52 0.48 0.47 0.27 0.26 0.24 0.26 0.37 0.35 0.34 0.37 0.52 0.52 0.46 0.53
Externalizing 0.49 0.52 0.41 0.40 0.50 0.49 0.07 0.07 0.56 0.54 0.44 0.48 0.31 0.31 0.66 0.73
Internalizing 0.32 0.34 0.38 0.37 0.01 0.01 0.35 0.37 0.11 0.10 0.17 0.19 0.51 0.51 0.18 0.21
Note. N 75. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based
on scale standard scores and subscale raw scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of range using the variability
correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS
sample.
All values between .235 and .306 significant at p .05. All values greater than .306 significant at p .01.
34 GRESHAM, ELLIOTT, VANCE, AND COOK
and schools. Many of the research studies where
the SSRS is still used are longitudinal investi-
gations. Research reports on the SSIS-RS have
recently focused on cross-informant agreement
(Gresham, Elliott, Cook, Vance, & Kettler,
2010) and on base rates of acquisition and per-
formance deficits for children ages 3 to 18
(Gresham, Elliott, & Kettler, in press). A de-
tailed comparison of these two popular social
skills measures, however, has not been reported.
The comparisons of the two instruments fo-
cused on validity and reliability estimates. The
validity evidence of interest was the convergent
and divergent relationships between total and
common scales for the two social behavior mea-
sures. The reliability evidence used was coeffi-
cient alphas for each of the total scales and com-
mon subscales. All psychometric comparisons
were based on Pearson product moment correla-
tions (Pearson rs) across the various scales and
subscales of the SSRS and SSIS-RS. It was hy-
pothesized that the SSRS and SSIS-RS would be
comparable instruments based on a common guid-
ing theory and moderate to high Pearson correla-
tions across common scales and subscales of the
two instruments.
Method
Participants
The sample for the current study was col-
lected from several sites from the SSIS-RS na-
tional norm. These sites were primarily regular
school settings. Permission and consent was
collected for every form, and care was taken
throughout to maintain confidentiality. At the
maximum level, raters (parents and teachers)
were allowed to complete ratings on six stu-
dents, though the median number of ratings for
teachers was two. The sample consisted of over
200 ratings for teachers, parents, and students.
Given that this sample was collected in addition
to the SSIS-RS standardization sample, the
sample consisted of individuals representing all
major demographic categories. Teacher ratings
were completed by 146 elementary and 75 sec-
ondary teachers. Parent ratings were completed
by at least one parent of 126 elementary and 114
secondary students. Self-report ratings were
completed by 139 elementary and 85 secondary
students. Additional demographic characteris-
tics are included in Table 2.
Materials and Procedures
Two instruments were used to investigate
their statistical comparability: the Social Skills
Rating System (SSRS; Gresham & Elliott, 1990)
and the Social Skills Improvement System-
Rating Scales (SSIS-RS, Gresham & Elliott,
2008). These two instruments were completed
within a day or two of each other and in coun-
terbalanced order across all participants within a
given site.
Table 9
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Teacher Secondary Form (Problem Behavior)
SSRS Teacher
secondary form
SSIS-RS Teacher secondary form
Problem
behavior Externalizing Bullying
Hyperactivity/
inattention Internalizing
Autism
spectrum
r adj rr adj rradj rradj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.61 0.59 0.49 0.48 0.45 0.49 0.48 0.44 0.59 0.55 0.66 0.63
Cooperation 0.70 0.68 0.76 0.75 0.59 0.63 0.77 0.74 0.31 0.28 0.51 0.48
Assertion 0.26 0.25 0.06 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.07 0.06 0.53 0.49 0.52 0.49
Self-control 0.69 0.67 0.64 0.63 0.61 0.65 0.58 0.54 0.55 0.51 0.67 0.64
Problem behavior 0.72 0.70 0.55 0.54 0.47 0.51 0.53 0.49 0.77 0.74 0.68 0.65
Externalizing 0.75 0.73 0.84 0.83 0.78 0.81 0.72 0.68 0.38 0.35 0.54 0.51
Internalizing 0.51 0.51 0.22 0.21 0.14 0.16 0.25 0.23 0.82 0.79 0.60 0.57
Note. N 75. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention
System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based on scale standard scores and subscale raw scores for both
SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of range using the
variability correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS norm
group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS sample. All values between .235 and .306
significant at .05. All values greater than .306 significant at p .01.
35COMPARABILITY OF SSRS AND SSIS-RS
SSRS. The SSRS is a broad, multirater
assessment of students’ social behavior and, for
the teacher version, academic competence
across three developmental levels: preschool,
elementary, and secondary. For the purposes of
this investigation, the authors only analyzed rat-
ings of the elementary and secondary level.
Each item on the SSRS is rated on a 3-point
frequency scale (0 Never, 1 Sometimes,
2 Very Often) based on the rater’s perception
of the frequency of the behavior. In addition, all
SSRS forms (except the Student Elementary
Form) use a 3-point Importance rating (0 Not
Important, 1 Important, 2 Critical) as a
means of identifying deficits requiring immedi-
ate intervention. These importance ratings were
not of interest in the current investigation, as
they do not lead to changes in subscale scores.
The SSRS includes five social skills domains:
Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empa-
thy, and Self-Control. Three of these domains
are consistent across teacher, parent, and stu-
dent raters. Responsibility is only included on
the parent form, and Empathy is only found on
the student form. The SSRS also has three prob-
lem behavior domains: Externalizing, Internal-
izing, and Hyperactivity. The Academic Com-
petence scale is included only on the teacher
form at the elementary and secondary levels,
and reflects student performance in reading,
mathematics, overall academic achievement,
motivation, and parental encouragement. Scores
on the three main scales (Total Social Skills,
Total Problem Behaviors, and Total Academic
Competence) are expressed as standard scores
(M 100, SD 15).
The SSRS was normed on over 4,000 stu-
dents from preschool through high school, with
equal numbers of males and females in the
normative sample. The SSRS demonstrates ex-
cellent psychometric properties in terms of in-
ternal consistency and test-retest reliabilities,
relationships with other measures, and factor
structures (see Gresham & Elliott, 1990). The
SSRS manual contains a comprehensive presen-
tation of this information.
SSIS-RS. The SSIS-RS (Gresham & Ell-
iott, 2008) is a revision of the SSRS that retains
many of the features of the SSRS and several
additions and improvements. The SSIS-RS has
updated national norms, four additional sub-
scales (Communication, Engagement, Bullying,
and Autism Spectrum), greater overlap across
Table 10
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Parent Elementary Form (Social Skills)
SSRS Parent
elementary form
SSIS-RS Parent elementary form 5–12
Social skills Communication Cooperation Assertion Responsibility Empathy Engagement Self-control
r adj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradjnrradj r
Social skills 0.73 0.73 0.61 0.62 0.56 0.59 0.55 0.56 0.58 0.59 0.58 0.59 0.60 0.61 0.69 0.69
Cooperation 0.57 0.57 0.46 0.47 0.48 0.51 0.39 0.40 0.53 0.54 0.53 0.54 0.39 0.40 0.58 0.58
Assertion 0.60 0.60 0.46 0.47 0.38 0.40 0.54 0.55 0.50 0.51 0.50 0.51 0.61 0.62 0.50 0.50
Responsibility 0.64 0.64 0.52 0.53 0.47 0.50 0.58 0.59 0.53 0.54 0.53 0.54 0.55 0.56 0.53 0.53
Self-control 0.69 0.69 0.63 0.64 0.63 0.66 0.41 0.42 0.45 0.46 0.45 0.46 0.44 0.45 0.76 0.76
Problem behaviors 0.55 0.55 0.50 0.51 0.44 0.47 0.30 0.31 0.51 0.52 0.35 0.36 0.39 0.40 0.64 0.64
Externalizing 0.63 0.63 0.55 0.56 0.52 0.55 0.33 0.34 0.57 0.58 0.42 0.43 0.44 0.45 0.75 0.75
Internalizing 0.39 0.39 0.40 0.41 0.25 0.27 0.22 0.23 0.32 0.33 0.22 0.23 0.38 0.39 0.42 0.42
Hyperactivity 0.49 0.49 0.45 0.46 0.47 0.50 0.26 0.27 0.50 0.51 0.30 0.31 0.24 0.25 0.59 0.59
Note. N 126. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based
on scale standard scores and subscale raw scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of range using the variability
correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS sample.
All values between .256 and .324 significant at p .05. All values greater than .324 significant at p .01.
36 GRESHAM, ELLIOTT, VANCE, AND COOK
forms, improved psychometric properties, va-
lidity scales, and a direct link to interventions.
All forms of the SSIS-RS include common
social skills across seven subdomains: Commu-
nication, Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibil-
ity, Empathy, Engagement, and Self-Control.
Each item on the SSIS-RS is rated on a 4-point
frequency scale (0 Never, 1 Seldom, 2
Often, and 3 Almost Always) based on the
rater’s perception of the frequency of the be-
havior. In addition, all SSIS-RS forms (except
the Student Elementary Form) use a 3-point
Importance rating (0 Not Important, 1
Important, 2 Critical) as a means of identi-
fying deficits requiring immediate intervention.
These importance ratings were not of interest in
the current investigation, as they do not lead to
changes in subscale scores.
The teacher and parent forms include prob-
lem behaviors from the following five sub-
domains: Externalizing, Bullying, Hyperactivi-
ty/Inattention, Internalizing, and Autism Spec-
trum. The teacher form includes an Academic
Competence scale measuring student perfor-
mance in reading, math, motivation, parental
support, and general cognitive functioning.
Scores on the three main scales (Total Social
Skills, Total Problem Behaviors, and Total Ac-
ademic Competence) are expressed as standard
scores (M 100, SD 15).
The SSIS-RS was normed on a nationwide
sample totaling 4,700 children and adolescents
aged 3 through 18 years who were assessed in
115 sites in 36 states. Demographic targets for
the norm sample were based on Current Popu-
lation Survey, March 2006 (U.S. Census Bu-
reau, 2006) and were applied to the three norm
groups (ages 3–5 years, ages 5–12 years, and
ages 13–18 years). Each age group sample was
designed to have equal numbers of males and
females and to match the U.S. population with
regard to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status,
and geographic region.
The SSIS-RS shows strong psychometric
properties in terms of internal consistency and
test-retest reliability estimates. Median scale re-
liabilities of the Social Skills and Problem Be-
havior scales are in the mid- to upper .90s for
every age group on each form. Coefficient alpha
is also in the upper .90s for the Academic Com-
petence scale. Median subscale reliabilities are
in the high .80s for the Teacher Form, the mid-
.80s for the Parent Form, and near .80 for the
Student Form. All alpha coefficients are equal
to or exceed .70.
Test-retest indices for Total Social Skills
were .82 for the Teacher Form, .84 for the
Parent Form, and .81 for the Student Form.
Test-retest indices for Total Problem Behavior
were .83 for the Teacher Form, .87 for the
Table 11
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Parent Elementary Form (Problem Behavior)
SSRS Parent
elementary form
SSIS-RS Parent elementary form 5–12
Problem
behavior Externalizing Bullying
Hyperactivity/
inattention Internalizing
Autism
spectrum
r adj rradj rradj rr adj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.54 0.54 0.46 0.46 0.41 0.41 43.00 43.00 0.48 0.51 0.71 0.70
Cooperation 0.43 0.43 0.43 0.43 0.31 0.31 0.33 0.33 0.38 0.41 0.47 0.46
Assertion 0.49 0.49 0.35 0.35 0.35 0.35 0.34 0.34 0.49 0.52 0.68 0.67
Responsibility 0.41 0.41 0.31 0.31 0.29 0.29 0.36 0.36 0.35 0.37 0.62 0.61
Self-control 0.58 0.58 0.58 0.58 0.48 0.48 0.51 0.51 0.43 0.46 0.66 0.65
Problem behavior 0.70 0.70 0.68 0.68 0.52 0.52 0.68 0.68 0.53 0.56 0.62 0.61
Externalizing 0.65 0.65 0.68 0.68 0.54 0.54 0.62 0.62 0.46 0.49 0.61 0.60
Internalizing 0.57 0.57 0.48 0.48 0.37 0.37 0.48 0.48 0.58 0.59 0.52 0.51
Hyperactivity 0.65 0.65 0.70 0.70 0.46 0.46 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.72 0.51 0.50
Note. N 126. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills
Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based on scale standard scores and subscale raw
scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of
range using the variability correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of
the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS sample. All values between
.256 and .324 significant at .05. All values greater than .324 significant at p .01.
37COMPARABILITY OF SSRS AND SSIS-RS
Parent Form, and .77 for the Student Form.
Median subscale stability indices for the Social
Skills subscales were in the .80s across Teacher,
Parent, and Student Forms, and in the .80s for
the Problem Behavior subscales across all three
raters. The stability estimate for the Academic
Competence scale was .92.
Analysis
To evaluate the convergent and divergent va-
lidity of the SSRS scores and the newly devel-
oped SSIS-RS scores, correlations in the form
of Pearson’s rs were run among scales and
subscales representing similar content. Addi-
tionally, adjusted rs are reported to correct for
restriction of range. This correction was com-
puted using the variability correction of Cohen,
Cohen, West, and Aiken (2003, p. 58). In this
correction, the numerator is the standard de-
viation of the SSIS-RS norm group (unre-
stricted sample), and the denominator is the
standard deviation of the entire SSIS-RS sam-
ple (restricted sample).
To evaluate differences between the magni-
tudes of reliability (as estimated by the coeffi-
cient alpha) derived from the SSRS and SSIS-
RS, z tests were calculated. This statistical pro-
cedure required transforming each correlation
coefficient into comparable units via the Fish-
er’s Zr transformation formula, computing the
difference between these transformed values
and dividing it by the square root of one over
the size of the sample (Cohen et al., 2003).
Because a number of the scales in the SSIS-RS
are newly developed, only data collected from
similar scales on the SSRS could be analyzed.
Results
The results are discussed according to each
rater (teacher, parent, and student). Under each
rater, comparisons and differences between the
SSRS and SSIS-RS were made separately for
the elementary and secondary forms. All the
data were evaluated and reported in the form of
correlation coefficients.
Comparability of Reliability Estimates
The analyses comparing the coefficient al-
phas for the SSRS and SSIS-RS for each rater
type and each form indicated that, in all cases,
Table 12
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Parent Secondary Form (Social Skills)
SSRS Parent
secondary form
SSIS-RS Parent secondary form 13–18
Social skills Communication Cooperation Assertion Responsibility Empathy Engagement Self-control
r adj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.66 0.69 0.53 0.54 0.51 0.52 0.42 0.43 0.52 0.56 0.58 0.57 0.50 0.53 0.66 0.69
Cooperation 0.54 0.55 0.37 0.38 0.57 0.58 0.23 0.24 0.53 0.57 0.48 0.47 0.26 28.00 0.51 0.54
Assertion 0.47 0.50 0.36 0.37 0.17 0.18 0.48 0.49 0.22 0.24 0.33 0.32 0.68 0.71 0.38 0.41
Responsibility 0.59 0.62 0.52 0.53 0.49 0.50 0.34 0.35 0.49 0.53 0.58 0.57 0.34 0.37 0.55 0.58
Self-control 0.52 0.55 0.45 0.46 0.46 0.47 0.21 0.22 0.47 0.51 0.52 0.51 0.24 0.26 0.61 0.64
Problem behaviors 0.48 0.51 0.37 0.38 0.36 0.37 0.29 0.30 0.39 0.42 0.35 0.34 0.36 0.39 0.56 0.59
Externalizing 0.53 0.56 0.41 0.42 0.50 0.51 0.20 0.21 0.50 0.54 0.48 0.47 0.27 0.29 0.64 0.67
Internalizing 0.29 0.31 0.22 0.23 0.11 0.11 0.33 0.34 0.14 0.15 0.13 0.13 0.39 0.42 0.29 0.31
Note. N 114. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based
on scale standard scores and subscale raw scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of range using the variability
correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS sample.
All values between .256 and .324 significant at p .05. All values greater than .324 significant at p .01.
38 GRESHAM, ELLIOTT, VANCE, AND COOK
the SSIS-RS had significantly higher correla-
tions for Total social skills, Total problem be-
havior, and academic competence. With the
lowest coefficient alpha of any of the total scores
being .94, the SSIS-RS has scales with very high
internal consistency that are noticeably more co-
hesive than its predecessor, the SSRS. See Ta-
bles 3, 4, and 5 for the actual descriptive and
inferential statistics to support these observations.
An examination of the reliability data tables for
the Teacher, Parent, and Student forms also indi-
cates that even though the SSIS-RS subscales are
consistently shorter (6 or 7 items) than the SSRS
subscales (10 items), they almost always yield
similar or larger coefficient alphas. The exception
to this latter claim is on the Teacher form, where
three social skills subscales and one problem be-
havior subscale yield nonsignificant, but lower,
reliability estimates.
Convergent and Divergent Validity
Evidence Across Common Scales
Teacher ratings.
Elementary form. The results for the ele-
mentary form from the teacher versions indicated
that there were high levels of agreement across the
SSRS and SSIS-RS Total and Subscale scores.
Teacher ratings of social skills for elementary-
aged children between ages 5 and 12 were mod-
erately high, showing an adjusted coefficient of
.75. Subscales that represented similar social skills
content across the two measures (i.e., Coopera-
tion, Assertion, and Self-Control) had adjusted rs
of .72, .67, and .74, respectively (see Table 6).
Additionally, all SSIS-RS teacher ratings of Social
Skills had negative correlations with SSRS ratings
of problem behaviors, showing good divergent
validity. Teacher ratings of problem behavior
were moderately high, showing an adjusted coef-
ficient of .83. Subscales that represented similar
problem behavior indices (Externalizing, Internal-
izing, and Hyperactivity) had adjusted rs of .83,
.69, and .85, respectively (see Table 7). All prob-
lem behaviors rated by teachers on the SSIS-RS
were negatively correlated with appropriate social
behaviors as rated on the SSRS teacher forms.
Secondary form. Teacher ratings of social
skills for elementary-aged children between
ages 13 and 18 were moderate, showing an
adjusted coefficient of .62. Subscales that rep-
resented similar social skills content across the
two measures (i.e., Cooperation, Assertion, and
Self-Control) had adjusted rs of .64, .68, and
.70, respectively (see Table 8). All social skills,
as rated on the SSIS-RS teacher secondary
forms, were negatively correlated with teacher
ratings of problem behaviors on the SSRS, giv-
ing additional evidence of divergent validity.
Teacher ratings of problem behavior were mod-
erately high, showing an adjusted coefficient of
.83. Subscales that represented similar problem
Table 13
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Parent Secondary Form (Problem Behavior)
SSRS Parent
secondary form
SSIS-RS Parent secondary form 13–18
Problem
behavior Externalizing Bullying
Hyperactivity/
inattention Internalizing
Autism
spectrum
r adj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.53 0.62 57.00 0.64 0.47 0.56 0.49 0.59 0.34 0.37 0.55 0.59
Cooperation 0.38 0.46 0.50 0.57 0.43 0.52 0.43 0.53 0.16 0.18 0.33 0.37
Assertion 0.47 0.55 0.32 0.37 0.27 0.27 0.37 0.46 0.46 0.50 0.57 0.61
Responsibility 0.39 0.47 0.50 0.57 0.42 0.51 0.35 0.44 0.15 0.16 0.45 0.49
Self-control 0.44 0.52 0.54 0.61 0.49 0.59 0.39 0.48 0.21 0.23 0.40 0.44
Problem behavior 0.70 0.77 0.63 0.69 0.56 0.66 0.52 0.62 0.62 0.66 0.46 0.50
Externalizing 0.62 0.70 0.71 0.77 0.66 0.75 0.54 0.64 0.37 0.40 0.40 0.44
Internalizing 0.56 0.65 0.36 0.42 0.28 0.35 0.35 0.44 0.67 0.70 0.40 0.44
Note. N 114. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills
Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based on scale standard scores and subscale raw
scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of
range using the variability correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of
the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS sample. All values between
.256 and .324 significant at p .05. All values greater than .324 significant at p .01.
39COMPARABILITY OF SSRS AND SSIS-RS
behavior indices (Externalizing and Internaliz-
ing) had adjusted rs of .83, .79, respectively (see
Table 9). Additionally, all problem behaviors as
rated on the SSIS-RS teacher secondary forms
were negatively correlated with appropriate so-
cial skills, as rated by teachers on the SSRS.
Parent ratings.
Elementary form. Parent ratings of social
skills for elementary-aged children between
ages 5 and 12 were moderate, showing an adjusted
coefficient of .73. Subscales that represented sim-
ilar social skills content across the two measures
(i.e., Cooperation, Assertion, and Self-Control)
had adjusted rs of .51, .55, and .76, respectively
(see Table 10). Parent ratings of problem behav-
iors on the SSRS were negatively correlated with
parent ratings of social skills. Parent ratings of
problem behavior were moderately high, showing
an adjusted coefficient of .7. Subscales that repre-
sented similar problem behavior indices (Exter-
nalizing, Internalizing, and Hyperactivity) had ad-
justed rs of .68, .59, and .72, respectively (see
Table 11). Parent ratings of problem behavior on
the SSIS-RS were all negatively correlated with
parent ratings of social skills on the SSRS, pro-
viding additional data regarding the divergent va-
lidity of both scales.
Secondary form. Parent ratings of social
skills for elementary-aged children between ages
of 13 and 18 were moderate, showing an adjusted
coefficient of .69. Subscales that represented sim-
ilar social skills content across the two measures
(i.e., Cooperation, Assertion, and Self-Control)
had adjusted rs of .58, .49, and .58, respectively
(see Table 12). Parent ratings of problem behavior
were moderately high, showing an adjusted coef-
ficient of .77. Subscales that represented similar
problem behavior indices (Externalizing and In-
ternalizing) had adjusted rs of .77 and .70, respec-
tively (see Table 13). Across both scales, parent
ratings of problem behaviors were negatively cor-
related with positive ratings of social skills (see
Tables 12 and 13).
Student ratings.
Elementary form. For students between
the ages of 8 and 12, ratings of their own social
skills had an adjusted correlation of .64. For
subscales that represented similar content
across the two measures (Cooperation, Asser-
tion, Empathy and Self Control), there was an
adjusted correlation of .46, .33, .58, and .56,
respectively (see Table 14). Student ratings on
the SSIS-RS of their own problem behaviors
Table 14
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Student 8 –12 (Social Skills)
SSRS Student
elementary
form
SSIS-RS Student 8–12
Social skills Communication Cooperation Assertion Responsibility Empathy Engagement Self-control
r adj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.57 0.64 0.42 0.44 0.40 0.43 0.41 0.46 0.56 0.62 0.46 0.49 0.34 0.37 0.48 0.53
Cooperation 0.46 0.52 0.28 0.30 0.43 0.46 0.32 0.36 0.50 0.56 0.37 0.40 0.15 0.16 0.42 0.47
Assertion 0.45 0.51 0.30 0.32 0.29 0.31 0.29 0.33 0.47 0.53 0.33 0.36 0.35 0.38 0.38 0.43
Empathy 0.57 0.64 0.49 0.52 0.37 0.40 0.47 0.52 0.51 0.57 0.55 0.58 0.34 0.37 0.33 0.37
Self-control 0.56 0.63 0.42 0.44 0.41 0.44 0.40 0.45 0.50 0.56 0.46 0.49 0.28 0.30 0.51 0.56
Note. N 139. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based
on scale standard scores and subscale raw scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of range using the variability
correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS
sample.
All values between .256 and .324 significant at p .05. All values greater than .324 significant at p .01.
40 GRESHAM, ELLIOTT, VANCE, AND COOK
were all negatively correlated with ratings of
appropriate social skills ratings on the SSRS
(see Table 15), showing additional divergent
validity for these scales.
Secondary form. For students between the
ages of 13 and 18, ratings of their own social
skills had an adjusted correlation of .36. For
subscales that represented similar content
across the two measures (Cooperation, Asser-
tion, Empathy and Self Control), there was an
adjusted correlation of .43, .12, .43, and .40,
respectively (see Table 16). Similar to students
between 8 and 12, students between 13 and 19
also provided ratings of social skills behaviors
on the SSRS that were negatively correlated
with ratings of problem behavior on the
SSIS-RS (see Table 17).
Discussion
This study compared the Social Skills Rating
System (SSRS; Gresham & Elliott, 1990) to its
revised and renormed version, called the Social
Skills Improvement System-Rating Scales
(SSIS-RS; Gresham & Elliott, 2008). The com-
parisons focused on key reliability and validity
estimates across these rating scales for three
types of raters (teacher, parent, and student)
using forms for elementary- and secondary-
aged students. The database for the study con-
sisted of ratings from over 500 respondents and
extant reliability indices from the technical
manuals of both instruments. All the compari-
sons were based on Pearson product moment
correlations (Pearson rs) across the various
common scales and subscales of the SSRS and
SSIS-RS. The estimate of reliability was com-
mon across the two instruments, developed two
decades apart, and provides evidence concern-
ing the consistency with which items within
subscales measure the same construct.
As hypothesized, these two instruments had
high internal consistency estimates and moder-
ately high validity indices for total scores for
both social skills and problem behavior scales.
The reliability comparisons revealed that the
SSIS-RS was superior to the SSRS with regard
to internal consistency. This was true for Total
scales, as well as virtually all common sub-
scales even when the subscales were 3 to 4
items shorter. This finding may surprise some
readers, but at least two variables likely account
for the finding. First, the frequency ratings on
the SSIS-RS were completed on a 4-point scale
rather than on a 3-point scale like the SSRS.
Second, the SSIS-RS item writing and piloting
efforts benefited from lessons with the SSRS
and thus resulted in more objective descriptions
of behaviors.
The validity evidence was comprised of cor-
relation matrices that revealed expected conver-
gent relationships, with the strongest relation-
ships consistently found between like-named
subscales across all forms of the two instru-
ments. This result is not surprising and rein-
forces that these instruments share a guiding
theory, and both have well-written items reflect-
ing observable social behaviors.
Table 15
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Student 8 –12 (Problem Behaviors)
SSRS Student
elementary
form
SSIS-RS Student 8–12
Problem
behaviors Externalizing Bullying
Hyperactivity/
inattention Internalizing
r adj rradj rradj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.32 0.34 0.30 0.30 0.26 0.28 0.30 0.31 0.21 0.23
Cooperation 0.37 0.39 0.39 0.39 0.32 0.34 0.35 0.36 0.17 0.19
Assertion 0.28 0.30 0.25 0.25 0.21 0.23 0.24 0.25 0.24 0.26
Empathy 0.24 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.23 0.25 0.23 0.23 0.11 0.12
Self-control 0.33 0.35 0.33 0.33 0.33 0.35 0.30 0.31 0.17 0.19
Note. N 139. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills
Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based on scale standard scores and subscale raw
scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of
range using the variability correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of
the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS sample. All values between
.256 and .324 significant at p .05. All values greater than .324 significant at p .01.
41COMPARABILITY OF SSRS AND SSIS-RS
Based on the empirical evidenced examined
in this study, it can be claimed that the SSIS-RS
measures similar constructs—social skills and
problem behaviors—as the SSRS and does so in
a manner that is likely to yield more reliable
scores. These findings, together with recent re-
search on the interrater reliability (Gresham et
al., 2010) and the utility of the SSIS-RS to
identify acquisition and performance deficits for
intervention (Gresham et al., in press), provide
critical evidence that the SSIS-RS, when used
appropriately, can yield highly reliable and
valid scores for key social behaviors. In sum-
mary, the data indicate that the SSIS-RS is an
improved version of the SSRS. The SSIS-RS, as
described in the Introduction, is part of a tiered
model of social skills instruction that can be
implemented within the general education set-
ting. Accurate measurement of social behavior
is an essential element in any multitiered inter-
vention model. The basic psychometric evi-
dence documented for the SSIS-RS in this study
suggests the resulting score information meets
high technical standards needed to make impor-
tant decisions.
Though this study suggests that there is a
moderate correlation between the new social
skills instrument and its predecessor, the
SSIS-RS has more to offer above and beyond
the SSRS, including updated national norms,
four additional subscales (communication, en-
gagement, bullying, and autism spectrum),
greater overlap in topics covered across raters,
improved psychometric properties, validity
scales, Spanish versions of parent and student
forms, scoring and reporting software, and a
direct link from scores to interventions (as
found in the Classroom Intervention Program,
Gresham & Elliott, 2008). The four new
SSIS-RS social behavior subscales do not have
a parallel subscale on the SSRS, but given that
the same procedures and professionals were in-
volved in their development, it is reasonable to
expect them to share the technical qualities ev-
idenced by the subscales common to both the
SSIS-RS and SSRS. The Autism Spectrum and
Bullying subscales are the direct result of the
changing landscape of childhood disorders and
schools, whereas they Communication and En-
gagement subscales evolved from the existing
SSRS Cooperation and Assertion subscales.
More research evidence on the predictive and
discriminant validity of the measure is needed,
Table 16
Correlations Between SSRS and SSIS-RS for Student 13–18 (Social Skills)
SSRS Student
13–18
SSIS-RS Student secondary form 13–18
Social skills Communication Cooperation Assertion Responsibility Empathy Engagement Self-control
r adj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj rradj r
Social skills 0.35 0.36 0.27 0.29 0.31 0.38 0.31 0.30 0.27 0.32 0.09 0.08 0.43 0.42 0.31 0.33
Cooperation 0.27 0.28 0.16 0.17 0.35 0.43 0.28 0.27 0.28 0.33 0.11 0.10 0.19 0.19 0.21 0.22
Assertion 0.22 0.23 0.19 0.20 0.09 0.11 0.10 0.12 0.10 0.12 0.00 0.00 0.46 0.45 0.11 0.12
Empathy 0.50 0.52 0.51 0.53 0.29 0.36 0.35 0.41 0.35 0.41 0.45 0.43 0.56 0.55 0.26 0.27
Self-control 0.23 0.24 0.14 0.15 0.36 0.44 0.24 0.28 0.24 0.28 0.04 0.04 0.12 0.12 0.38 0.40
Note. N 85. SSRS Social Skills Rating System (Gresham & Elliott, 1990); SSIS-RS Social Skills Intervention System (Gresham & Elliott, 2008); r Pearson’s r based
on scale standard scores and subscale raw scores for both SSIS-RS and SSRS; adj r adjusted Pearson’s r. All correlations were corrected for restriction of range using the variability
correction of Cohen et al. (2003, p. 58), where the numerator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS norm group and the denominator is the standard deviation of the SSIS-RS
sample.
All values between .220 and .286 significant at p .05. All values greater than .286 significant at p .01.
42 GRESHAM, ELLIOTT, VANCE, AND COOK
as is concurrent reliability and validity evidence
with other methods (i.e., direct observations) of
social behavior. The Spanish version of the
SSIS-RS also would benefit from additional ex-
amination, as would the new Autism Spectrum
subscale. Researchers and practitioners inter-
ested in measuring the social behavior of young
children and youth, however, will find similar,
but psychometrically superior, assessment re-
sults to the SSRS when using the SSIS-Rating
Scales and will find these results can be used to
directly inform intervention actions.
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44 GRESHAM, ELLIOTT, VANCE, AND COOK
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