Behavior Data Systems
Assessment Tests and Interviews Reliable Computer Graded Assessment


Quick Risk Screen (QRS)

The Quick Risk Screen (QRS) has 64 items and can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes. The Quick Risk Screen has four scales (measures): 1. Truthfulness Scale, 2. Alcohol Scale, 3. Drugs Scale and 4. Risk Scale. It is a concise, yet meaningful, objective and standardized assessment instrument or test. The Quick Risk Screen has been normed and standardized on thousands of defendants and substance (alcohol and other drfugs) abuse clients.


** Quick Risk Screen **
  • Defendant (male and female) screening in court-related settings.
  • An alternative test in high volume assessment and screening settings.
  • Adult client, defendant, offender and probationer test.
  • Substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse program intake screening.


Four Quick Risk Screen Scales (Measures)

  1. Truthfulness Scale: Determines how honest and truthful the client was while completing the test. This scale identifies denial, problem minimization and attempts to fake good.
  2. Alcohol Scale: Measures the severity of alcohol use and abuse. Alcohol refers to beer, wine and other liquor. Alcohol is a legal, or licit, substance.
  3. Drugs Scale: Measures the severity of illicit drug use and abuse. Drugs refer to marijuana, crack, cocaine, barbiturates, amphetamines and heroin.
  4. Risk Scale: Measures the client's danger to self and others. This scale identifies problem prone people that manifest a pattern of taking unnecessary chances.

More Than Just Another Alcohol or Drug Test

In addition to alcohol and drugs, the Quick Risk Screen assesses other important areas of inquiry like truthfulness and risk (danger to self and others). This test is brief or to the point, yet provides important attitudinal and behavioral information. It is important to understand how truthful the client was while completing the test. The truthfulness of the client is especially important when evaluating substance (alcohol and other drugs) abuse and client dangerousness to self and others.

Advantages of Screening

Screening or assessment instruments filter out individuals with serious problems that may require referral for a more comprehensive evaluation (psychiatric or psychological) and/or treatment. For example:

Risk Category Risk Range
Low Risk 0 - 39% 39%
Medium Risk 40 - 69% 30%
Problem Risk 70 - 89% 20%
Severe Problem 90 - 100% 11%

Reference to the above risk range table shows that a problem is not identified until a scale score is at the 70th percentile or higher. And, these risk range percentiles are based upon the thousands of probationers and defendants that have taken the Quick Risk Screen. This procedure is eminently fair, and it avoids both extremes, i.e., over-identification and under-identification of problems and risk.

A department, court, prosecutor, defense attorney or probation officer might refer offenders with identified problems for further evaluation, intervention, treatment or even incarceration. In these cases, eleven percent (11%) of the offenders screened (Severe Problem) would be referred. In this example, eighty-nine percent (89%) (contingent upon adopted policy) of the offenders screened would not be referred for additional (and expensive) alternatives.

Budgetary savings (dollars) would be large with no compromises in needy people receiving appropriate evaluation and/or treatment services. Indeed, more needy people would receive help. Without a screening program, there is usually much more risk of over or under-utilization of additional professional services.

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Test Booklet

Quick Risk Screen test booklets and answer sheets are provided free. These booklets contain 64 items, which are written at a high 5th to low 6th grade level. If a person can read the newspaper, they can read the Quick Risk Screen. And, these booklets are available in English and Spanish.


In brief, Quick Risk Screen reports summarize the client's self-reported history, explain what attained scale scores mean and contain 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 Quick Risk Screen profile (graph), which summarizes findings at a glance. Also included are scale scores, an explanation of what each score means and specific score-related recommendations. Significant items (direct admissions) are highlighted, and answers to the built-in multiple choice (last sequence of items) are presented. Emphasis is placed on helpful and meaningful reports that are easily understood.

An example Quick Risk Screen report is presented at the end of this webpage. To go directly to this report, click on the Quick Risk Screen Example Report link.


The Quick Risk Screen is available in Windows format. Windows diskettes require a one-time computer setup procedure after which Quick Risk Screen data (25 or 50 tests) diskettes are used. 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 Quick Risk Screen diskettes contain 25 or 50 test applications. These 3½" data (25 or 50 tests) diskettes score, interpret and print reports on-site. Once an Quick Risk Screen account is established, ordered diskettes are mailed to users. Ninety-seven percent (97%) of orders are placed in the same day's return mail. When all test applications are used, diskettes are returned to Behavior Data Systems where the test data is downloaded into the Quick Risk Screen database for subsequent research analysis. The proprietary "delete names" program is activated by the test user 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 client confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501).

The "SAQ: Orientation and Training Manual" explains how the Quick Risk Screen 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.

Quick Risk Screen Database

The Quick Risk Screen system contains a proprietary database. Earlier, it was noted that all Quick Risk Screen used diskettes are returned to Behavior Data Systems, and the test data is downloaded into the Quick Risk Screen database. This database allows ongoing research and testing program summary -- capabilities that were not possible before. Ongoing research insures quality control. Test program summaries provide for program self-evaluation.

Built-in Database

The Quick Risk Screen permits ongoing research and annual testing program summary - at no additional cost. As discussed earlier, when the 25 or 50 tests on a data diskette are used, that diskette is returned to Behavior Data Systems and downloaded into the Quick Risk Screen's expanding database.

No personal information, names, social security numbers, etc. are ever downloaded into any test database.

In summary, having all used Quick Risk Screen diskettes' test data centrally filed at Behavior Data Systems' offices 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. An example Quick Risk Screen research study can be reviewed by clicking on the Quick Risk Screen Research Study link.

After downloading test data returned diskettes are destroyed.

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.

Reliability and Validity

The Quick Risk Screen has a built-in database that insures inclusion of administered tests in a confidential (no names) manner. Over 40,000 clients are represented in this database. And, these reliability, validity and accuracy statistics are reported in the document titled "SAQ: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." Annual database analysis further demonstrates that Quick Risk Screen scales maintain very high reliability coefficients.

For example, internal consistencies (coefficient alphas) for Quick Risk Screen scales are reported for 7,986 clients screened in the year 2002. This is one among several year 2002 studies.

QRS RELIABILITY (N=7,986, 2002)
Quick Risk Screen
Truthfulness Scale .85 p<.001
Alcohol Scale .89 p<.001
Drugs Scale .88 p<.001
Risk Scale .85 p<.001

All Quick Risk Screen scales have alpha coefficients well above the professionally accepted standard of .75 and are highly reliable. All of these coefficient alphas are significant at the p<.001 level.

Many validity studies have been done using criterion measures and were validated with other tests. For example, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) L-Scale and F-Scale, SAQ-Adult Probation III, Defendant Questionnaire, etc. Much of this research is summarized in the document titled "SAQ: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." Subsequently, discriminant validity and predictive validity database research continues to support Quick Risk Screen reliability, validity and accuracy.

Research Publication

Nebraska Probation Department's Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) selection process was automated with Behavior Data Systems tests.  These tests include the Driver Risk Inventory-II, SAQ-Adult Probation III, Domestic Violence Inventory and the ACDI-Corrections Version II. Because the Quick Risk Screen was derived from the SAQ-Adult Probation III used in the study, this important research is relevant and the results of the study are applicable to the Quick Risk Screen. This research is reported in Edward C. Birkel and David L. Wegner's article (2000). "Accurate Intensive Supervision Probation Selection: Revisited." American Probation and Parole Association, Perspectives, Vol. 24, #4 Fall, pp. 18-21. To read this article click on the Perspectives Research Article link.

Quick Risk Screen Scale Correlations

Quick Risk Screen scale scores are highly correlated with SAQ-Adult Probation III scores. A high correlation coefficient between The QRS and the standard form means that there is a high degree of relationship between the two forms. Correlation coefficients vary from zero to 1, where zero correlation means there is no relationship, and 1 means that two variables are perfectly related. Correlation coefficients between the Quick Risk Screen and SAQ-Adult Probation III are very close to perfect correlation.

Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficients Between
Quick Risk Screen Scale Scores and SAQ-Adult Probation III Scale Scores
Scales: Truthfulness Alcohol Drugs Risk
Correlation Coefficient .98 .99 .98 .93

These results show that Quick Risk Screen scale scores are highly correlated with SAQ-Adult Probation III scale scores. A high correlation coefficient means that there is a high degree of relatedness between the two forms. In the above table, Quick Risk Screen scale items were correlated against the SAQ-Adult Probation III scales in this sample of SAQ-Adult Probation III data. Quick Risk Screen scales are subsets of SAQ-Adult Probation III scales (same or similar items are in both tests) and they are shown to be highly correlated with the SAQ-Adult Probation III scales. Along with having fewer items per scale the Quick Risk Screen Risk Scale is a short combination of SAQ-Adult Probation III Violence Scale, Antisocial Scale and Aggressiveness Scale test items. Also, the Stress Coping Abilities Scale is not included in the Quick Risk Screen. For adult offender assessment, test users now have a choice: SAQ-Adult Probation III or Quick Risk Screen.

Validity analyses confirm that the Quick Risk Screen measures what it purports to measure. These findings are reported in "Quick Risk Screen Reliability and Validity in a Large Sample of Adult Offenders (N = 7,986) Studied in the Year 2002." To go directly to this research study, click on the Quick Risk Screen Research Study link.

Scale Interpretation: There are several levels of scale interpretation ranging from viewing the SAQ-Adult Probation III and the Quick Risk Screen as self-reports to interpreting scale elevations and scale interrelationships. This discussion (scale interpretation) is presented on the SAQ-Adult Probation III webpage.

Staff Member Input

Some people advocate fully automated assessment. Behavior Data Systems does not. The Quick Risk Screen is to be used in conjunction with experienced staff judgment. When available, court and probation records should be reviewed because they contain important information not provided or incorrectly provided by the client. Experienced staff should also interview the client. For these reasons, the following statement is contained in each Quick Risk Screen report: "Quick Risk Screen results are confidential and are working hypotheses. No diagnosis or decision should be based solely upon these results. These test results are to be used in conjunction with experienced staff judgment and review of available records."

SAQ-Adult Probation III: To ensure visitors at the Quick Risk Screen webpage are aware of the SAQ-Adult Probation III, we have included this link.  The SAQ-Adult Probation III has 149 items and takes 30 minutes to complete. It has seven measures (scales): 1. Truthfulness Scale, 2. Violence (Lethality) Scale, 3. Antisocial Scale, 4. Aggressiveness Scale, 5. Alcohol Scale, 6. Drugs Scale and 7. Stress Coping Abilities Scale. To go directly to this webpage, click on this SAQ-Adult Probation III link.

Unique Quick Risk Screen Features

The Truthfulness Scale identifies denial, problem minimization and faking. It is now clear that many clients attempt to minimize their problems. A Truthfulness Scale is now a necessary component in contemporary client tests. The Quick Risk Screen'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 Quick Risk Screen'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 Quick Risk Screen's Truthfulness Scale has been correlated with the 3 other scales. The Truth Correction equation 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.

More than just another alcohol or drug test. In addition to alcohol and drugs, the Quick Risk Screen assesses other important areas of inquiry like truthfulness, denial, faking and client risk. The Quick Risk Screen is specifically designed for client assessment. It provides the information needed for understanding client attitudes and behavior.

Three ways to give the Quick Risk Screen. The Quick Risk Screen can be administered in three different ways: 1. Paper-pencil test booklet format is the most popular testing procedure. Quick Risk Screen English and Spanish test booklets are available. 2. Quick Risk Screen tests can be given directly on the computer screen. Some probation departments dedicate computers for Quick Risk Screen testing. And, 3. Human voice audio in English and Spanish. This approach involves a computer, a headset, and the client 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 clients represent 20+ percent of clients tested. This represents a serious problem to many other client tests. In contrast, Behavior Data Systems has developed an alternative for dealing with this problem, i.e., "human voice audio."

Human Voice Audio: Presentation of the Quick Risk Screen in English and Spanish helps overcome many reading and cultural difference issues. A client'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 mode requires a computer, earphones and simple instructions regarding how to operate the up-down arrow keys on the computer keyboard.

Confidentiality: Behavior Data Systems encourages test users to delete clients' names from diskettes before they are returned to Behavior Data Systems. Once client names are deleted, they are gone and cannot be retrieved. Deleting client names does not delete demographics or test data, which is downloaded into the Quick Risk Screen 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: Much of the Quick Risk Screen research has been gathered together in one document titled "SAQ: An Inventory of Scientific Findings." This document summarizes Quick Risk Screen research chronologically -- as the studies were completed. This innovative chronological reporting format was established largely because of the Quick Risk Screen database, which permits annual database analysis of all tests administered. It also allows the reader to observe the evolution of the Quick Risk Screen into its current state-of-the-art position.

Staff Training: Behavior Data Systems' staff is available to participate in Quick Risk Screen 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 Quick Risk Screen 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.

Test Unit Fee (Cost): Quick Risk Screen 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.

Selecting a 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 Quick Risk Screen.

Test Reliability & Validity Research Provided Yes  
Test Completed in 15 to 20 Minutes Yes  
On-Site Reports within 2½ Minutes Yes  
Truthfulness Scale Detects Faking Yes  
Truth-Corrected Scores for Accuracy Yes  
Three Test Administration Options Yes  
  1. Paper-Pencil (English & Spanish) Yes  
  2. On Computer Screen (English & Spanish) Yes  
  3. Human Voice Audio (English & Spanish) Yes  
Available in English and Spanish Yes  
Comprehensive Assessment (Four Scales) Yes  
Alcohol and Drugs Scales Yes  
Risk Scale Yes  
Delete Client Names (Confidentiality) Procedure Yes  
HIPAA (federal regulation) Compliant Yes  
Test Data Input Verification Procedure Yes  
Built-in Database Yes  
Annual Database Research (Free) Yes  
Annual Test Program Summary (Free) Yes  
Available in MS-DOS and Windows Yes  
Helpful Score-Related Reports Yes  
Easily Understood Reports Yes  
ASAM Compatible Recommendations Yes  
Staff Training (Free) Yes  
Examination Kits (Free) Yes  
Thirty-Day Money Back Guarantee Yes  
Very Affordable Test Unit Fee Yes  

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Quick Risk Screen Example Report

An example Quick Risk Screen report is presented for review. Although a similar format or report outline is used in all Quick Risk Screen reports, these reports are highly individualized. The first page contains the client's name, some basic demographics and the Quick Risk Screen profile (graph), which summarizes test findings at a glance. The second page presents QRS scale paragraphs. Each paragraph reports the client's scale score, explains what that score means and provides score-related recommendations. The second page highlights significant items (direct admissions) and itemizes "Multiple Choice" answers. The client's answer to each of these items is presented. Sometimes, it's informative to compare these answers (with all their biases) to the objective and empirically based scale scores.

Additional information can be provided upon request by writing:
Behavior Data Systems, Ltd.
P.O. Box 44256
Phoenix, Arizona 85064-4256

Our telephone number is (602) 234-3506.
Our fax number is (602) 266-8227.
and our e-mail address is

Behavior Data Systems, Ltd. Copyright © 2007