Wake County Schools conducting "behavioral screener" again
The BIMAS-2 is a psychological inventory being used by some schools as part of the district's "Social and Emotional Learning" support policies
In the fall of 2019, the BIMAS-2 psychological screening tool popped up in various schools in the Wake County Public Schools District.
In 2019, when the BIMAS-2 first popped up in WCPSS schools, I was told these were the reasons for the district using it:
The Behavior Intervention Monitoring Assessment System-2 is a social-emotional learning/behavior screener for behavioral health. It is not a mental health assessment.
The screener helps identify students who are at risk of future academic, behavior or emotional difficulties.
This is part of the district’s work to create a “balanced assessment framework” that supports students’ academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs.
Screeners serve as one tool for providing data on how well schools are meeting the needs of students
Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) has an “opt-out” policy instead of an “opt-in” policy.
Unless parents opt their children out, they will be inventoried.
When investigating this survey in 2019, the district could not tell me how the data was used, who saw the data, where the data was stored, or if it was deleted after a certain time period. It was also undetermined if the data was entered into PowerSchool or if it resided in the student’s permanent hardcopy file.
So what is the BIMAS-2?
The BIMAS-2 is a psychological assessment conducted by teachers on students. Teachers are asked to assess the emotional states and behaviors of each student from the week prior and then “give their best guess” how often each of the inventory’s emotional states and behaviors occurred.
There are 34 different line items on the BIMAS-2, some items are benign, but the majority are personal and arguably invasive.
Below are some of the questions the teacher assesses the child on. The full document can be accessed here.
The BIMAS-2 is the work of a University of Northern Colorado Professor named Achilles Bardos.
The district argued back in 2019 that the BIMAS-2 was not a psychological test despite Bardos making claims to the contrary during a preview of the inventory with school psychologists.
“Schools also can use the BIMAS-2 as they begin discussions on the new education law Every Student Succeeds Act, positive behavior support programs and social-emotional learning curricula,” Bardos’ bio reads.
In 2019, through a records request, it was discerned that the BIMAS-2 pilot for 8 schools was free but had a pricetag of $60,000 for 19 overall to implement it going forward.
“$60,000 for this year (We get “large district discount” of $2 per student)” WCPSS communications staff said in a response to my past records request.
Another $6,000 is included in the contract for a “WCPSS server.”
In response to a parent inquiry at the time, WSCPSS Communications Director Tim Simmons said, “The costs for assessment, data storage and training to date is $66,000.”