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WARNS Publications and Ongoing Research


Research on the WARNS is ongoing.  Recent publications have established additional evidence for the strength and validity of the instrument.  We are confident that further research will continue to provide solid evidence for the use of the assessment tool across a broad population.


  • This study examines the practical application of a third generation of Differential Item Functioning (DIF) methods,  which propose an ecological framework for explaining why DIF occurs using sociological, community, and contextual  variables as possible explanations of item responding.

Vo, T. & French, B. F. (2021). Ecological framework for item responding within the context of a youth risk and needs assessment. Educational Measurement: Issue and Practice, 40, 64-72,

  • This study examined the measurement invariance of the WARNS across African American, Latinx, and Caucasian students using confirmatory factor analysis. Results provide evidence that the factor structure of the six Risk and Needs domains is similar across groups.

Alpizar, D., French, B. F., & Vo, T. T. (2020). Equivalence testing of a youth risk and needs assessment. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment38(8), 1046-1051.

  • A review the WARNS validity evidence in the context of a central claim about score interpretation/use and the inferences that underlie that claim.

Gotch, C. M., & French, B. F. (2020). A Validation Trajectory for the Washington Assessment of Risks and Needs of Students. Educational Assessment25(1), 65-82.

  • WARNS item bias results comparing African-American, Latinx, and Caucasian student groups:

French, B. F. & Vo, T. T. (2019). Differential item functioning of a truancy assessment. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 1-7.

  • A latent profile study that showed that we can identify three distinct groups – or profiles – of students based on WARNS results, and provides empirical evidence for how the profiles can be used to make decisions about youth.

Iverson, A., French, B. F., Strand, P. S., Gotch, C. M., & McCurley, C. (2018). Understanding school truancy: risk–need latent profiles of adolescents. Assessment25(8), 978-987.

  • The bifactor structure of the WARNS assessment is documented in this article which shows how the WARNS items can be used to produce a General overall risk score as well as scores for the individual Risk domains.  The bifactor structure is also documented across various groups such as by sex, and race/ethnicity.

Strand, P. S., Gotch, C. M., French, B. F., & Beaver, J. L. (2017). Factor structure and invariance of an adolescent risks and needs assessment. Assessment26(6), 1105-1116.

  • An evaluation of school completion outcomes such as graduation versus dropout rates, as they related to the implementation of a truancy reduction intervention in which the WARNS was used.

Strand, P. S., & Lovrich, N. P. (2014). Graduation outcomes for truant students: An evaluation of a school-based, court-engaged community truancy board with case management. Children and Youth Services Review43, 138-144.