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ECD INSTRUMENTS Important Considerations for Assessing the Development of Young Children across Cultures and Socio-Economic Contexts Sophie Naudeau (HDNCY)

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Presentation on theme: "ECD INSTRUMENTS Important Considerations for Assessing the Development of Young Children across Cultures and Socio-Economic Contexts Sophie Naudeau (HDNCY)"— Presentation transcript:

1 ECD INSTRUMENTS Important Considerations for Assessing the Development of Young Children across Cultures and Socio-Economic Contexts Sophie Naudeau (HDNCY) APEIE Workshop Ghana, May 12th, 2010

2 Overview 1) What should we measure? 2) Selecting child development instruments 3) Adapting child development instruments 4) Summary and Conclusions 2

3 1. What should we measure? 3  ECD refers to the physical, cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional development of children from conception to the transition to primary school

4 1(…)What should we measure? 4  Children who reach the end of early childhood should be developing well in all these areas in order to fully benefit from further opportunities in the education and health sectors and to become fully productive members of society Research in ECD should be as comprehensive as possible and measure: Physical growth and nutrition status, e.g., anthropometrics (height, weight), iron- deficiency anemia. Cognitive development (e.g., early knowledge of numbers, shapes, colors, concepts such as “more” or “less”, short term memory, etc.) Linguistic development (e.g., babbling, pointing, and gesturing in infancy; children’s capacity to communicate in native language as they become older) Socio-emotional development (e.g., healthy “attachment” to caregiver in infancy; capacity of older children to interact with peers and adults in a positive way)

5 1(…)What should we measure?  In addition to measuring child development outcomes, it is also useful to measure a range of variables/inputs that can promote improved child development outcomes, including: Health history and feeding patterns at home Type, amount, and quality of learning materials available in the household (e.g., paper and pencil, books, toys) Amount of early stimulation happening at home (how much do caregivers talk/sing/tell stories or play games with their children, etc.) Discipline strategies (i.e., punitive/harsh vs. constructive) Etc. This information can usually be collected in the context of socio-economic survey and/or caregivers’ interviews. 5

6 2. Selecting child development instruments 6  Few valid and reliable child development instruments have been designed or used in low-income countries. When doing ECD research in such contexts, it is important to first identify instruments that are likely to yield useful results (i.e., instruments that work well within existing constraints) Some of the important factors/constraints to take into consideration include: a) Main purpose of the assessment (e.g., screening vs. population level; to assess what outcome(s), among what age group(s), etc.) b) Availability (or lack thereof) of trained staff to administer child development tests, c) Level of capacity/experience of local survey firms, d) Literacy levels of the parents/caregivers and other respondents, e) Multiplicity of local languages, f) IRB requirements, budget, timeline, copyright issues, etc.

7 2. (…) Selecting child development instruments The key questions to address in selecting CD instruments typically include: (1) How easy is the test to administer for the intended population? What language(s) should it be administered in? (2) How culturally relevant is it? To what extent necessary adaptations/modifications can be made? (3) What age group does the test cover? (4) What developmental domain(s) does the test assess? 7

8 2. (…) Selecting child development instruments Examples of child development instruments that have been used in past and current IEs of ECD include:  The TVIP (Peabody): test of receptive language, valid for ages 2.5 year and above, directly administered to the child  The Woodcock Johnson Memory for Names: test of short-term memory, valid for ages 2.5. years and above, directly administered to the child 8

9 2. (…) Selecting child development instruments  The ASQ (Ages and Stages Questionnaire): 5 domains of development (communication, fine-motor, gross-motor, problem solving, & socio-emotional), valid for ages 0-6 years. Some items administered to the child, others asked to the caregiver.  The EDI (Early Development Instrument): overall school readiness of the child, valid for ages 4-7 years. Ratings are done by preschool or 1 st grade teachers.  The SDQ (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire): socio-emotional development, valid for ages 4 and above. Ratings are done by parent/caregiver 9

10 3. Adapting child development instruments 10  All instruments that were initially developed in a different context should also be adapted to ensure their validity and reliability in the socio-economic/cultural context in which the research will take place Every effort must be made to ensure that tests are fair for all children assessed and that they will yield useful data.  This process typically involves: Translating and back translating Dropping items that are irrelevant or cannot be tested Replacing/rewording items as needed Developing detailed protocols and training data collectors Piloting, adjusting, re-piloting, re-adjusting, etc.

11 3. (…) Adapting child development instruments 11 Important factors to keep in mind:  This process always takes longer than expected Build in extra time for this purpose  Involve local professionals to gather information relating to linguistic, cultural and technical details that could be relevant, including:  Child psychologists  Community health & social workers  Early childhood educators, teachers, etc.  No adaptation is ever perfect: use caution in interpreting results, especially in relation to norms that were developed elsewhere.

12 4. Summary and conclusions A. ECD is a multi-dimensional concept that needs to be measured in a comprehensive manner B. Selecting child development instruments is a process that requires: (i) assessing local/research constraints, and (ii) addressing key questions C. Adapting child development instruments is a necessary and often- time consuming process that requires the involvement of multiple informants D. Data need to be analyzed and interpreted with caution, especially when making cross-cultural comparisons 12 For further information: Thank You


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