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ADHD - The Vanderbilt Assessment Scales


Scale name: NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scales- for Child ADHD diagnoses

Scales overview: The NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scales are behavior rating scales used by clinicians as part of the diagnosis of ADHD in children. The scales assess ADHD symptoms and other conditions that may occur with ADHD or should be ruled out.

Response Type: Most of the items are rated on a 4-point scale of frequency: Never, Occasionally, Often, Very Often

Scale items

The parent scale: Items 1 to 47 assess symptoms and items 48 to 55 assess performance.

The teacher scale: Items 1 to 35 assess symptoms, items 36 to 38 assess academic performance, and items 39-43 assess classroom performance.

There are parent and teacher follow-up forms available.

The NICHQ provides scoring guidelines in their scale packet.


Bard et al. (2013) reported coefficient alpha values from .91 to .94 on the parent form and test-retest reliability was above .80 for the total scale scores.

Wolraich et al. (2013) reported KR20 values between .85 and .94 for the teacher form.


Bard et al. (2013) reported a 4-factor structure on the parent form after removing conduct items that were not frequently endorsed.

Wolraich et al. (2013) reported a 4-factor structure for the teacher form. The scores on the teacher form were positively correlated ( > .72) with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.

Scale Use

The scales may be used by clinicians who are licensed or certified to make diagnoses in children. The scores are part of the diagnostic process which includes an interview, psychosocial history, and observations. Psychologists may administer other tests as part of a comprehensive assessment.

The Vanderbilt scales assess or screen for four dimensions of the wholistic SCOPES model of functioning:

Cognition e.g., attention, learning

Emotion and mood e.g., anger, sadness, anxiety

Observable behavior 

Social context e.g., relationships, functioning in home and school contexts


National Institute for Children’s Health Quality


References for the scale


Bard, D. E., Wolraich, M. L., Neas, B., Doffing, M., & Beck, L. (2013). The psychometric properties of the Vanderbilt attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnostic parent rating scale in a community population. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP34(2), 72–82.

Wolraich, M. L., Bard, D. E., Neas, B., Doffing, M., & Beck, L. (2013). The psychometric properties of the Vanderbilt attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnostic teacher rating scale in a community population. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP34(2), 83–93.


Wolraich, M. L., Lambert, W., Doffing, M. A., Bickman, L., Simmons, T., & Worley, K. (2003). Psychometric properties of the Vanderbilt ADHD diagnostic parent rating scale in a referred population. Journal of pediatric psychology28 (8), 559–567.


Reference for using scales in research:

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Reference for clinicians on understanding assessment

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Resource Link:  A – Z Test Index

Related Reference for evidence-based child-behavior management.

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The information about scales and measures is provided for clinicians and researchers based on professional publications. The links to authors, materials, and references can change. You may be able to locate details by contacting the main author of the original article or another author on the article list.


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