Junior schoolchildren were screened for high risk of emotional and educational disorder. The information was gathered from the school, using standard and objective tests. The multiple criterion screen employed, comprised: (a) classroom behaviour scale (Rutter B Scale), rated by teachers; (b) sociometric tests; choice of companions by classmates. From these, lack of positive choices was taken as a measure of isolation and a high rate of negative choices, as a measure of rejection; (c) Reading quotient of 75 or below on the Young Reading Test; (d) Absence from school for reasons considered by teachers to be trivial.
The number of cases identified by the screening was found to be 322 children per thousand. They may be seen as representing a high risk rate.
Using extreme scores as indicative of high risk, approximately 17 per cent of children were identified on the basis of the behaviour test; 12 per cent by the reading test; 9 per cent by the isolation test; 8 per cent by the rejection test and 3 per cent by the absenteeism test. Seventy per cent of the identified children were rated clinically as disturbed. Absenteeism identified the smallest percentage of cases and made the smallest independent contribution to identification. Isolation was not impressively related to neurotic or antisocial beha viour. The three important criteria, therefore, were behaviour, rejection and reading.
Corrected disturbance rates for our population of 7-8-year-old children, including those not identified by the screen, were 6-8 per cent markedly maladjusted and 33.7 per cent somewhat maladjusted.