Reference to the above table shows that a problem is not identified until a scale score is at or above the 70th
percentile. These risk range percentiles are based upon the many defendants, probationers and patients that have completed the
SAQ. This procedure is fair and avoids extremes such as over-identification and under-identification of problems.
Using the above table for reference (contingent upon adopted policy), 11% of the people screened (Severe Problem)
could be referred for evaluation, treatment or additional services. In this
example, 89% of the people screened would not be referred for additional (and
often unnecessary, as well as expensive) services.
Savings (dollars) would be large with no compromises in clients receiving appropriate evaluation and/or treatment
services. Indeed, it is likely that more clients would receive help. Without a
screening program, there is usually more risk of over or under-utilization of additional professional services.
SAQ test booklets are provided free. These booklets contain 153 items and are written at a 5th to 6th
grade reading level. If a person can read the newspaper, they can read the SAQ.
In brief, SAQ reports summarize the client's self-report history, explain what attained scores mean and offer
specific score-related recommendations.
Within 2½ minutes of test data entry, automated (computer-scored) 3-page reports are printed on-site. These reports
summarize a lot of information in an easily understood format. For example, reports include an SAQ profile (graph), which
summarizes all scale scores at a glance. Also included are scale scores, an explanation of what each score means and specific
score-related recommendations. In addition, significant items (direct admissions) are highlighted, and answers to a multiple choice
questions (last sequence of items) are presented. Emphasis is placed on having meaningful reports that are easily understood and helpful.
An example SAQ report is presented at the end of this webpage. To go directly to this report, click on the
SAQ Example Report link.
Reliability and Validity
The SAQ has a proprietary built-in database that insures inclusion of administered SAQ tests in a confidential (no
names) manner. SAQ reliability, validity and accuracy statistics are reported in
the document titled "SAQ: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." Annual database
analysis further demonstrates that SAQ scales have high reliability and validity coefficients.
For example, interscale consistencies (coefficient alphas) for SAQ scales are reported in the following table for 3,184
clients tested with the SAQ. This is one among many samples.
All SAQ scales have alpha coefficients well above the professionally accepted standard of .75 and are highly reliable.
And, all coefficient alphas are significant at the p<.001 level.
Early validity studies used criterion measures and were validated with other tests like the Minnesota Multiphasic
Personality Inventory (MMPI) L-Scale and F-Scale, 16PF, SAQ-Adult Probation III,
Defendant Questionnaire, Taylor Manifest Anxiety, etc. Much of this research is
summarized in the document titled "SAQ: An Inventory of Scientific Findings."
Subsequently database analysis based studies further support SAQ reliability,
validity and accuracy. To review a research study involving 3,184 clients
click on the
SAQ Research Study link.
The SAQ is available in Windows format. Windows diskettes require a
one-time setup procedure after which SAQ data (25 or 50 tests) diskettes are used to score and print reports.
Training manuals are provided free, and new test users can be walked through these procedures over
Behavior Data Systems, Ltd.'s (BDS) telephone line.
Proprietary SAQ diskettes contain 25 or 50 test applications. These 3½" diskettes score, interpret and
print reports on-site. Once an SAQ account is established, ordered diskettes are mailed to users. Approximately 97% of orders are
filled the same day they are received. When all test applications on a data (25 or 50) diskette are used, that diskette is
returned to Behavior Data Systems where the demographics and test data are downloaded into the SAQ database for subsequent analysis.
The proprietary "delete names" program is activated by the test users with a few keystrokes to delete all client
names from the diskette before it is returned to Behavior Data Systems. Deleting all client names insures protection of each client's
confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501).
The "SAQ: Orientation and Training Manual" explains how the SAQ works and should be read by staff. The "SAQ:
Computer Operating Guide" explains how to score tests, print or store reports and discusses computer-related features.
The SAQ system contains a proprietary database. Earlier, it was noted that all SAQ used diskettes are returned to
Behavior Data Systems, and the test data is downloaded into the cumulative SAQ database. This database allows ongoing research and testing
program summary features that were not possible before. Ongoing research insures quality control. Annual testing program
summaries provide for program self-evaluation. And, database analysis and annual testing program summaries are provided free.
In summary, all returned SAQ diskettes' test data is centrally filed at
Behavior Data Systems' offices in the SAQ database. This
database has many advantages. Database analysis permits ongoing cost efficient research that includes scale alpha coefficients,
ANOVA, frequency distributions, correlations, cross-tab statistics along with reliability, validity and accuracy determinations.
A research study can be reviewed by clicking on the
SAQ Research Study link.
Annual Summary Reports
Behavior Data Systems can access each of its tests' built-in databases for statistical analysis and summarization of all tests
administered in a year. Annual Summary Reports are prepared for state, department, agency and even some individual providers --
at no cost to them. These reports are provided as a professional courtesy to large volume test users. Summary reports include
demographics, court-history when relevant, and test statistics (reliability, validity and accuracy). Has anyone offered to
summarize your testing program? Annually? At no additional cost to you? Minimum testing volume for annual reports is 350 tests.
There is no maximum limit. Behavior Data Systems' annual reports range in size from 350 tests to over 55,000 tests annually. An
example Annual Summary Report can be viewed by clicking on this
Annual Summary Report link.
Staff Member Input
The SAQ is to be used in conjunction with experienced staff judgment. When available, court records and counseling or
treatment records should be reviewed. Experienced staff should also interview the client. For these reasons, the following
statement is contained in each SAQ report: "SAQ reports are confidential and are considered working hypotheses. No
diagnosis or decision should be based solely upon SAQ results. The SAQ is to be used in conjunction with experienced staff judgment."
Unique SAQ Features
Truthfulness Scale: Identifies denial,
problem minimization and faking. It is now clear that many probationers attempt
to minimize their problems. A Truthfulness Scale is now a necessary component in
contemporary probationer tests. The SAQ's Truthfulness Scale has been validated
with the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), polygraph exams,
other tests, experienced staff judgment and truthfulness studies. The
Truthfulness Scale has been demonstrated to be reliable, valid and accurate. In
some respects, the SAQ's Truthfulness Scale is similar to the MMPI's L and
F-Scales. It consists of a number of items that most people agree or disagree with.
Truth-Corrected Scores: Have proven to be very important for assessment accuracy. The proprietary
truth correction program is comparable to the MMPI's K-Scale correction. The SAQ's Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with
the 5 other scales. The Truth Correction equation then converts raw scores to Truth-Corrected scores. Truth-Corrected scores are
more accurate than raw scores. Raw scores reflect what the client wants you to know. Truth-Corrected scores reveal what the
client is trying to hide.
Aggressiveness Scale: Is often defined in terms of punitive behavior. And, we are familiar with the
aggressive-frustration hypothesis that postulates aggressive behavior is largely a response to frustration. The Aggressiveness
Scale refers to a person's ranking on an outgoing to assaultive behavior scale. High risk scores on the Aggressiveness Scale
manifest strong self-assertiveness, social dominance and a tendency toward hostility.
Measures defensiveness, non-compliance and oppositional behavior. This scale score
varies directly with the client's attitude, feelings and outlook. This scale also measures defensiveness, resistance to help and
uncooperativeness. Some people resist help; whereas, others accept it.
Stress Coping Abilities Scale: Measures how well the probationer handles stress, tension and pressure.
How well a person manages stress can effect their adjustment and mental health. We now know that stress exacerbates emotional and
mental health problems. This scale is a non-introversive way to screen established (diagnosable) mental health problems. A
probationer scoring at or above the 90th percentile on the Stress Coping Abilities Scale should be referred for a more
comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis. This important area of inquiry is missed by other probationer screening tests.
More than just another alcohol or drug test.
In addition to alcohol and drugs, the SAQ assesses other
important areas of inquiry like truthfulness, denial and faking, aggressiveness and stress coping abilities. The SAQ is specifically
designed for substance abuse assessment. It provides the information needed for understanding probationer attitudes and behavior.
Three ways to give the SAQ.
The SAQ can be
administered in three different ways:
1. Paper-pencil test booklet format is the most popular testing
procedure. SAQ English and Spanish test booklets are available.
2. SAQ tests can be given directly on
the computer screen. Some probation departments dedicate computers for SAQ testing. And,
3. Human voice
audio in English and Spanish. This approach involves a computer, a headset and the probationer uses the up-down arrow keys. As the
client goes from question to answer with the arrow keys, each question and answer is highlighted on the monitor (screen) and
simultaneously read to the client. The three administration modes are discussed in the "SAQ: Orientation and Training Manual."
Each test administration mode has advantages and some limitations. Behavior Data
Systems offers these three testing modes so test
users can select the administration mode that is optimally suited to their needs.
Reading Impaired Assessment. Reading
impaired probationers represent 20+ percent of probationers tested. This represents a serious problem to many other probationer
tests. In contrast, Behavior Data Systems has developed an alternative for dealing with this problem, i.e., a short form of the SAQ
and "human voice audio."
Human Voice Audio:
Presentation of the SAQ in English and Spanish helps overcome many reading and
cultural difference issues. A probationer's passive vocabulary is often greater than their active (or spoken) vocabulary. Hearing
items read out loud often helps reduce both cultural and communication problems. This human voice audio administration requires a
computer, earphones and simple instructions regarding how to operate the up-down arrow keys on the computer keyboard.
Behavior Data Systems encourages test users
to delete probationers' names from diskettes before they are returned to
Behavior Data Systems. Once probationer names are deleted, they
are gone and cannot be retrieved. Deleting probationer names does not delete demographics or test data, which is downloaded into
the SAQ database for subsequent analysis. This proprietary name deletion procedure involves a few keystrokes and insures client confidentiality
and compliance with HIPAA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501).
Test Data Input Verification: Allows the
person that inputs test data from the answer sheet into the computer to verify
the accuracy of their data input. In brief, test data is input twice, and any
inconsistencies between the first and second data entries are highlighted until
corrected. When the first and second data entries match or are the same, staff
can continue. This proprietary Test Data Input Verification procedure is
optional, yet it is strongly recommended by Behavior Data Systems.
Inventory of Scientific Findings:
the SAQ research has been gathered together in one document titled "SAQ: An
Inventory of Scientific Findings." This document summarizes SAQ research
chronologically -- as the studies were completed. This innovative chronological
reporting format was established largely because of the SAQ database, which
permits annual database analysis of all tests administered. It also allows the
reader to observe the evolution of the SAQ into its current state-of-the-art position.
Behavior Data Systems'
staff is available to participate in SAQ training programs conducted by
probation departments, courts and assessment agencies in the United States.
Behavior Data Systems typically participates in 4-hour or 6-hour SAQ training
sessions. This training can include hands-on computer scoring, as desired.
Behavior Data Systems gives attendees certificates attesting to training.
Staff training is also provided on Fridays at Behavior Data Systems' Phoenix offices from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or from 1:30 p.m.
to 4:30 p.m. These training sessions are free. To participate, contact Behavior
Data Systems at least ten days in advance. Participation
is on a first call, first scheduled basis.
Scale Interpretation: There are
several levels of scale interpretation ranging from viewing the SAQ as a self-report to interpreting scale elevations and scale
interrelationships. This discussion is presented on the SAQ-Adult Probation III webpage.
Test Unit Fee (Cost):
SAQ cost information can be reviewed by clicking on the
Test Unit Fee
(Cost) link. There is only the one cost or charge, and that is the test unit
fee. Everything else is included at no additional cost to the test user. This
includes test booklets, answer sheets, training manuals, upgrades, ongoing
database research, annual summary testing reports, staff training, and support
services. Do not be misled by some test publishers' à la carte pricing like
separate costs for each test administration as well as for each of the
test-related items listed above. Instead of asking for the test administration
cost, ask for the total cost involved in using a test. We believe Behavior Data
Systems' one test
unit fee is very affordable.
Free Examination Kit:
A 1-test demonstration diskette is available on a 30-day cost free basis. Demo diskettes are in
Windows format. The Examination Kit includes a 1-test demo diskette, installation CD (with instructions),
test booklet, answer sheet and some descriptive materials. Behavior Data Systems, Ltd. does want the
test booklet and diskette returned within 30 days.
Substance Abuse Assessment Instrument or Test
If you are selecting a substance abuse assessment instrument, the following Comparison Checklist should prove helpful.
This checklist itemizes important assessment and screening qualities. The
"Other" column represents any other test you might want to compare to the SAQ.