Brown Executive Function/Attention Scales


Dr. Brown has developed and published assessment tools to help assess executive function impairments associated with ADD/ADHD and related problems. These tools are designed for easy use by psychologists, physicians, psychiatrists, school psychologists and other educational, medical or mental health professionals.

His rating scales, normed for each age group across the lifespan, elicit valuable data about executive function impairments for persons aged 3 years through adult. The scales are useful for:

  • screening individuals who might benefit from assessment for ADD/ADHD

  • as one component of a comprehensive assessment of persons for possible ADD/ADHD

  • for monitoring effectiveness of ongoing treatment for ADD/ADHD


These scales are widely used by schools and clinicians in paper and pencil or clinical interview format; they have also been utilized in research for many clinical trials of ADHD medications.

Brown Executive Function and Attention Scales (BEFARS):

  • for Children (3 to 7 yrs)

  • for Children (8 to 12 yrs)

  • for Adolescents (13 to 18 yrs)

  • for Adults (19 yrs and up)

by Pearson: San Antonio, TX., 1996, 2001, 2018

The Brown Scales are based on Dr. Brown’s clinical research and his model of ADD/ADHD as developmental impairment of executive functions. This model is described in detail in his 2005 book, Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults

The Brown Scales help to assess a wide range of symptoms of executive function impairments associated with ADHD/ADD. These normed rating scales are available to elicit parent report and teacher report for children ages 3 to 7 yrs and 8 to 12 yrs. For 8 to 12 year olds, a normed self-report version is also available. For adolescents (12-18 yrs) and for adults, normed rating scales elicit self-report and collateral report on a single form.

Dr. Brown's scale was first released in 1996 and focused on adolescents and adults. In 2001, it was revised to assess children. Both Brown Scales for Children and Adolescents and the Brown Scales for Adolescents and Adults provide age-based norms and detailed information about how to administer and interpret the Brown Scales. In 2018 the scales underwent another revision to better assess this complex impairment that impacts academic, social, emotional, and behavioral development for both children and adults. Now known as the Brown Executive Function/Attention Scales (Brown EF/A Scales), it goes beyond other measures to screen and assess a wider range of impairments of executive function and attention.  Another major improvement, particularly to administrators, is the new Q-global digital administration and scoring offering. See below for more information regarding the newly revised Brown BF/A Scales.

The Brown Executive Function/Attention Scales include 50 items that assess six clusters of ADHD-related executive function impairments. Versions for children ages 3 to 7 years, 8 to 12 years,  teenagers 13 to 18 years, and adults 19 and up.

  • Organizing, Prioritizing and Activating to Work

  • Focusing, Sustaining and Shifting Attention to Tasks

  • Regulating Alertness, Sustaining Effort and Processing Speed

  • Managing Frustration and Modulating Emotions

  • Utilizing Working Memory and Accessing Recall

  • Monitoring and Self-Regulating Action

What makes Brown EF/A Scales Different?

  • Helps address situational variability: The clinical presentation of ADHD is generally variable, the symptoms are situational, and the degree to which a patient exhibits them may be observed and interpreted differently by various observers.1 The Brown EF/A scales will provide a comprehensive evaluation of an individual's ADHD symptoms by analyzing their behavior using multiple perspectives: the examinee's self-perspective, teacher's perspective and parents' perspective.

  • Items are more specific and contextual: Patients with ADHD experience situational variability and have the ability to focus on certain activities which hold strong interest for them. The Brown EF/A scales will include items that are more specific and ask about difficulties they might encounter in a specific context, e.g. difficulty remembering what has been read (when reading is assigned, not self-selected texts).

  • Focus on severity as opposed to frequency: The items on the Brown EF/A scales, unlike other instruments will focus on severity of specific behaviors as opposed to frequency. This will allow examinees to directly and more accurately report symptoms they perceive to be problems.

  • Includes DSM-5 symptoms of ADHD and more: In addition to diagnostic criteria for ADHD defined in DSM-5, the Brown EF/A scales also assess other important aspects of executive function impairments found in persons with ADHD, but not yet included in DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ADD/ADHD.

  • Based on Dr. Brown's model of Executive Functions: The Brown EF/A scales are based on Dr. Brown's six cluster model of executive functions that has been well recognized and explained in books and articles for more than a decade.