The Validity of Teacher Rating Scales for the Assessment of ADHD Symptoms in the Classroom: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Anouck I. Staff*, Jaap Oosterlaan, Saskia van der Oord, Pieter J. Hoekstra, Karen Vertessen, Ralph de Vries, Barbara J. van den Hoofdakker, Marjolein Luman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: To assess attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in the classroom, most often teacher rating scales are used. However, clinical interviews and observations are recommended as gold standard assessment. This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluates the validity of teacher rating scales. Method: Twenty-two studies (N = 3,947 children) assessing ADHD symptoms using teacher rating scale and either semi-structured clinical interview or structured classroom observation were meta-analyzed. Results: Results showed convergent validity for rating scale scores, with the strongest correlations (r =.55–.64) for validation against interviews, and for hyperactive–impulsive behavior. Divergent validity was confirmed for teacher ratings validated against interviews, whereas validated against observations this was confirmed for inattention only. Conclusion: Teacher rating scales appear a valid and time-efficient measure to assess classroom ADHD; although validated against semi-structured clinical interviews, there were only a few studies available. Low correlations between ratings and structured observations of inattention suggest that observations could add information above rating scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1578-1593
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of attention disorders
Issue number11
Early online date11 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw; Grant No. 729300013).

Publisher Copyright:
© ©The Author(s) 2020.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • ADHD
  • clinical interview
  • rating scale
  • structured observation
  • validity


Dive into the research topics of 'The Validity of Teacher Rating Scales for the Assessment of ADHD Symptoms in the Classroom: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this