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Measuring Child Development - The Early Development Index


Presentation: Measuring School Readiness: The Early Development Instrument (540kb PDF)
Tuesday, February 17, 2005
12.30 - 2.00 pm
Room MC2-520

Sponsors: Thematic Group on Poverty Impact Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation and the Human Development Hub Children and Youth Group

Presenter: Magadalena Janus, PhD (McMaster University, Canada)

How well brain develops by age 6 determines a child’s performance in school and subsequent health and behavior later in life.  The experiences of young children have a lasting effect on later success in school and life.  What do children’s development  look like by the time they enter school?  How do we identify standardized development tests to measure children's development by ages 5 and 6? What are the implications of what projects we should develop to invest in young children?

Existing standardized instruments used in ECD research are difficult to identify and administer, costly, and focus primarily on specific domains of development. Generally, a battery of psychometric instruments is needed in order to measure the whole child's development. Alternative comprehensive ECD measures that measure the many aspects of early development over and beyond cognitive development should be considered. These alternative measures could be used in ECD supported Bank projects for impact evaluations as well as in government's monitoring system for early child development.

Magdalena Janus, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Canadian Centre for Studies of Children at Risk at McMaster University, will present an instrument for measuring child development: the Early Development Index (Offord & Janus). The Early Development Index is a population level measure of children's development or well-being. The instrument is largely based on the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, and other existing tests. In 1998, 1999 it was tested over 16,000 students nationwide. The EDI combines several areas that have been identified as relevant to children’s school readiness (Doherty1997, Kagan 1992): physical health and well-being, social competence, approaches to learning, emotional maturity, language development, cognitive development, communication skills, and general knowledge.  The Early Development Instrument (EDI) is a relatively short, easy to administer tool, whose results can be aggregated to various levels and therefore easily lends themselves to linkages with other population and community data (Janus, Walsh, Viveiros, & Offord, 2002).

Dr. Janus will present a further simplification of the instrument and discuss its application to the developing countries.

Contact: If you need assistance, in particular if you need a pass to attend the BBL, please contact Marie Madeleine Ndaw at or (202) 473-3464.

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