Reliability and Validity of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) as a Function of Parent and Teacher Ratings

Otilia C. Barbu, Deborah Levine-Donnerstein, Ronald W Marx, David B Yaden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


This study examined reliability and validity of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA), based on samples of parents and teachers' ratings of 1,145 entering kindergartners in the Southwest. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that DECA presented good reliability and validity for manifest variables, corroborating previous findings. Three latent variables (initiative, self-control, and attachment) substantiated reliability estimates but showed insufficient discriminant validity because of multicollinearity among latent variables. We recommended caution in interpreting and applying results of DECA assessments in practice because of a lack of discriminant validity. Thus, these findings addressed the need for researchers, educators, and policy makers to consider alternative instruments for early identification of social and emotional problems in young children until new research and a revised DECA model show evidence for the validity of outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-481
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Psychoeducational Assessment
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013



  • confirmatory factor analysis
  • DECA
  • reliability
  • validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Education

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