This study assessed the validity of the Balance Scale by examining: how Scale scores related to clinical judgements and self-perceptions of balance, laboratory measures of postural sway and external criteria reflecting balancing ability; if scores could predict falls in the elderly; and how they related to motor and functional performance in stroke patients. Elderly residents (N = 113) were assessed for functional performance and balance regularly over a nine-month period. Occurrence of falls was monitored for a year. Acute stroke patients (N = 70) were periodically rated for functional independence, motor performance and balance for over three months. Thirty-one elderly subjects were assessed by clinical and laboratory indicators reflecting balancing ability. The Scale correlated moderately with caregiver ratings, self-ratings and laboratory measures of sway. Differences in mean Scale scores were consistent with the use of mobility aids by elderly residents and differentiated stroke patients by location of follow-up. Balance scores predicted the occurrence of multiple falls among elderly residents and were strongly correlated with functional and motor performance in stroke patients.