Assessment of Trauma

Assessment of Trauma

0.50 USBE Credit
Assessment of students, particularly when related to behavior or mental health concerns, should consider a history of trauma and the impacts of trauma on a student’s behavior and mental health. Trauma-informed assessment will better allow teams to determine appropriate interventions or supports. Consideration of trauma that students may have experienced should be given to ensure appropriate selection of assessment methods, administration of assessment, and interpretation of results for students.


To earn this 0.5 USBE credit microcredential you will submit two evidence items demonstrating your effective and consistent assessment of trauma to inform your practice. You will also complete a short written or video reflective analysis.


You will be charged $20 by the badge provider. You'll be charged at the point you submit your badge for final review.


This microcredential is not intended to comprehensively address special education evaluation or academic assessments. It could be assessment related to screening, special education or 504 eligibility, or some other type of assessment not-related to special education.

Before administering assessments be sure that appropriate parental consent is obtained and guidelines from 53E-9-203 are followed. Screenings and assessments should only be conducted by professionals appropriately trained on that reporting tool.


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years).

Complex trauma: Exposure to multiple traumatic events from an early age, and the immediate and long-term effects of these experiences over development.

Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA): A process that identifies a target behavior, as well as the factors that maintain the behavior including antecedents, setting events, and consequences.

Trauma: An event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.


During math instruction Mr. Scott called out a student, Camden, for putting his head on the desk. Camden turned to Mr. Scott and yelled “You can’t tell me what to do! You’re not the boss of me!” Mr. Scott walks up to Camden and said “Don’t talk to me like that. If you do that again you’re going to the office.” Camden shoved his book off his desk, stood up and yelled “I hate this class! You’re the worst teacher ever! You can’t boss me around.” Mr. Scott told Camden to go to the office and he stormed out of the room and went down to the office where an administrator gave him in-school suspension for the rest of the day.

The ability to assess trauma and its impact can guide educators to identify behaviors influenced by trauma. In this scenario, an educator might use these trauma assessment skills to react in in a manner that is supportive of healing, rather than punitive.


Student Performance Data: Submit one of the following:

1) Submit a completed screener used to identify students who may have experienced trauma or are having behavior or mental health concerns. This may include data related to externalizing and internalizing behavior, or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Any student-identifying information should be removed before submitting. Examples of screeners that might be used include the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Trauma Version, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), the Pediatric Emotional Distress Scale (PEDS), or the Student Risk Screening Scale (SRSS). The completed screener should include data for at least 25 students. Include with this screener a narrative or chart that demonstrates that the applicant has gone beyond simply collecting data to analyzing the data.

2) Submit an evaluation summary (with student-identifying information removed) that evaluates a student’s social-emotional functioning. Examples of instruments used may include the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the Social Skills Rating Scale (SSRS), the Emotional Quotient Inventory Youth Version (EQ-i:YV), or another valid and reliable tool. The data should be displayed visually (a graph or chart) that outlines a profile of the student’s skills at a given time, or progress on skills over time.

Be sure to maintain confidentiality of any student information (FERPA).

Testimonial: Submit a narrative of a supervisor or administrator speaking to the skillset of the applicant. The testimonial should describe how the applicant uses various observation tools, standardized tools, and/or interviews to assess an individual student’s developmental history, behavior, and exposure to trauma.

Other: Complete and submit the trauma-sensitive assessment and planning checklist. This can be found on the Building Trauma-Sensitive Schools resource on the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments’ Safe Supportive Learning website. Provide evidence of how you used items from the checklist to inform a behavior support plan or individualized education plan.

Candidates are required to make 2 evidence submission(s).

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: The evidence demonstrates the educator understands how to collect and analyze data. The educator must have been involved in the data collection or analyzing process and not simply sharing data the others have collected and analyzed.

Criterion 2: The submission demonstrates a connection of the assessment skills being used to directly measuring trauma (e.g., assessing the number of ACEs experienced) or indirectly measuring trauma (evaluating behaviors or social emotional skills that might be directly affected by exposure to trauma, or as an indicator of trauma experienced).


  1. Describe how you use trauma-informed practices to guide your assessment practices in your role, or how you have helped another educator use trauma-informed practices in their assessment practices.

  2. Describe how the students you work with or students in classrooms/schools you support benefit from your use of trauma-informed assessment practices.

  3. How do you plan on further developing your assessment skills or helping other educators develop their assessment skills related to trauma?

Review Criteria

Criterion 1: Responses demonstrate a thorough analysis of their skills or the impact of their practices related to trauma-informed assessment. This may include an analysis of the educator's strengths and weaknesses in using trauma-informed assessment practices.

Criterion 2: Response include specific examples to support the analysis (examples of specific assessment tools used, examples of how students benefit from their practices, or examples of specific ways they plan on improving their practices or the practices of somebody they are supporting).

Criterion 3: Response demonstrates that the applicant consistently engages in a trauma sensitive manner, and/or consistently promotes a trauma sensitive approach in assessment, when conducting assessments, and not simply in isolation for this micro-credential.


Adverse Childhood Experience Questionnaire
The ACEs questionnaire can be found on multiple locations online. This site provides the questionnaire as well as additional information on resilience.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Adverse Childhood Experiences page
This page provide information on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) including definitions, consequences, research findings, informational graphics, and resources.

TAKE10 is a classroom-based physical activity program, developed with the assistance of health professionals and education experts, combining academic instruction with 10 minutes physical activity breaks to get kids moving without sacrificing time dedicated to academic learning.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s “Assessment of Complex Trauma” page.
This website provides helpful information on considerations and procedures in conducting trauma assessments with children.

Trauma Sensitive Schools Training Package
The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments has developed a training package on trauma-sensitive schools. The Resource “Building Sensitive Schools” in particular has a module on assessment of trauma and includes two tools for guiding individuals through a process of considering their assessment practices.

Trauma Sensitivity During the IEP Process
From the Federation for Children with Special Needs, this document provides some suggestions on how to ensure that various evaluations are done appropriately considering trauma.

Trauma-Sensitive Assessment and Planning Checklist
This checklist guides an individual or team through a set of checklists to consider various practices that should be in place when conducting assessments such as a functional behavior assessment and psychological assessments.

USBE Trauma-Informed Professional Learning Modules
The Utah State Board of Education’s Trauma-Informed Learning Modules are available through Canvas and are designed to help participants develop the knowledge and skills necessary to become trauma-informed and trauma-aware.


Jenna Gardner
Jenna Gardner
Devin Healey
Devin Healey


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