The usefulness of the Denver Developmental Screening Test to predict kindergarten problems in a general community population.
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The Denver Developmental Screening Test (DDST) was administered to 2,569 children five to seven months prior to starting kindergarten in September 1980 in a geographically well-defined community. The test was administered by trained public health nurses. At the end of the 1980-1981 school year, all 163 kindergarten teachers in the area completed a rating form for each child in their class. The rating form determined global ratings of: 1) learning abilities; 2) classroom behavior; 3) amount of special attention required; and 4) referrals to special education services outside the classroom. The specificity of the DDST in predicting kindergarten teacher ratings was 99 per cent for all areas. Test sensitivity varied from 5 per cent to 10 per cent in detecting problems in the four areas. The predictive values of an positive test varied from 31 per cent for behavior problems to 62 per cent for extra attention required in the classroom. Negative test predictive values varied from 79 per cent to 93 per cent. These results based on kindergarten teacher ratings suggest that, because of the low sensitivity and modest predictive value, the DDST may be relatively inefficient to use in a school entry screening program in a general community population of children.
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