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ADHD School Observation Code


Ages: 5 to 12 Years

Completion Time: 30-Minute Observations Per School Setting

Experts recommend using direct observations of school behavior in evaluations of children with AD/HD. An observer uses the ADHD School Observation Code (ADHD SOC) to assess the behavioral symptoms of AD/HD, oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct problems in structured (classroom), semi-structured (lunchroom), and unstructured (playground) settings. Research shows that direct observations of child behaviors are important when making differential diagnoses, planning special education services, formulating treatment plans, and monitoring response to intervention.


The ADHD School Observation Code manual reviews the diagnostic criteria for AD/HD and other disruptive behavior disorders, describes the definitions for each behavior code category, and presents the findings from 13 years of research involving the use of the ADHD SOC in public school settings. The Manual also describes how the ADHD SOC can be used to evaluate children with AD/HD and assess response to treatment. ​

​The ADHD SOC KIT contains the Manual, a tablet of 25 Classroom ADHD SOC Code Sheets, a tablet of 25 Lunchroom/Playground ADHD SOC Code Sheets, Classroom Training Code Sheets, and Lunchroom/Playground Training Code Sheets.

The ADHD-SC4 Symptom Checklist-4 Manual reviews DSM diagnostic criteria and describes research about reliability, validity, and treatment sensitivity; normative data; scoring guidelines; and clinical applications for categorical scoring and dimensional scoring.


In over a dozen studies using the ADHD SOC, it has been shown that with a modest amount of training it is possible to achieve a high degree of inter-rater reliability. The ADHD SOC categories show a reasonably high degree of correspondence with actual psychiatric diagnoses (predictive validity), easily differentiates clinical and nonclinical populations (discriminant validity), correlates well with commonly used behavior rating scales (concurrent validity) and are sensitive for evaluating response to therapeutic interventions. An extensive annotated bibliography of research studies that used at least one Checkmate Plus assessment tool to include the ADHD SOC can be accessed here.

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