Social Indicators Research

, 103:283 | Cite as

Validity and Psychometric Properties of the Early Development Instrument in Canada, Australia, United States, and Jamaica

  • Magdalena JanusEmail author
  • Sally A. Brinkman
  • Eric K. Duku


There is an increasing support from international organizations and the research community for stepping beyond infant or child mortality as the most common child level social indicator and progressing towards an international measure of child development. The Early Development Instrument (EDI) is a teacher-completed measure of children’s developmental health at school entry, which to date has been used in more than a dozen countries. The EDI includes five developmental domains (Physical Health and Well-being, Social Competence, Emotional Maturity, Language and Cognitive Development and Communication Skills and General Knowledge) and 16 subdomains. This paper examines the EDI’s psychometric properties in four English-speaking countries (Canada, Australia, United States and Jamaica) by evaluating both the internal consistency and factor structures, as well as exploring the association between the EDI’s Language and Cognitive Development Domain and a direct assessment of children’s receptive vocabulary (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, PPVT). Overall, the factor loadings and internal consistencies of domains and subdomains were similar across the countries. The comparisons of the Language and Cognitive Development Domain with the PPVT showed high specificity and low sensitivity. The results of this paper indicate that the EDI, a measure of children’s developmental status at school entry, demonstrates similar psychometric properties in a number of countries, thus building the evidence for the instrument to be added to the limited array of internationally comparable child social indicators.


Child development Social indicators International studies Population-level outcomes 


  1. Altman, D. G., & Bland, J. M. (1994a). Diagnostic tests 1: Sensitivity and specificity. British Medical Journal, 308, 1552.Google Scholar
  2. Altman, D. G., & Bland, J. M. (1994b). Diagnostic tests 2: Predictive values. British Medical Journal, 309, 102.Google Scholar
  3. Andrich, D., & Styles, I. (2004). Final report on the psychometric analysis of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) using the Rasch Model: A technical paper commissioned for the development of the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI). Perth: Murdoch University.Google Scholar
  4. Brinkman, S., & Blackmore, S. (2003, March). Pilot study results of the Australian early development instrument: A population based measure for communities and community mobilisation tool. Paper presented at the Beyond the Rhetoric in Early Intervention Conference, Adelaide, South Australia.Google Scholar
  5. Brinkman, S., Silburn, S., Lawrence, D., Goldfeld, S., Sayers, M., & Oberklaid, F. (2007). Investigating the validity of the Australian early development index. Early Education and Development, 18(3), 427–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bullinger, M., Anderson, R., Cella, D., & Aaronson, N. (1993). Developing and evaluating cross-cultural instruments from minimum requirements to optimal models. Quality of Life Research, 2, 451–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Doherty, G. (1997). Zero to six: The basis for school readiness. R-97-8E, Ottawa, ON: Human Resources Development Canada.Google Scholar
  8. Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1981). Peabody picture vocabulary test-revised. Manual for forms L and M. Circle Pines, Minnesota: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  9. Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1997). Peabody picture vocabulary test (3rd ed.). Circle Pines, Minnesota: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
  10. EDStats. (2004). Summary education profiles. Retrieved February 14, 2009 from World Bank website: .
  11. Forget-Dubois, N., Lemelin, J.-P., Boivin, M., & Dionne, G. (2007). Predicting early school achievement with the EDI: A longitudinal population-based study. Early Education and Development, 18, 405–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goodman, R. (2001). Psychometric properties of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 1337–1345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Grantham-McGregor, S. M., Walker, S. P., Chang, S. M., & Powell, C. A. (1997). Effects of early childhood supplementation with and without stimulation on later development in stunted Jamaican children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66, 247–253.Google Scholar
  14. Guhn, M., Gadermann, A., & Zumbo, B. D. (2007). Does the EDI measure school readiness in the same way across different groups of children? Early Education and Development, 18(3), 453–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guyatt, G. H. (1993). The philosophy of health-related quality of life translation. Quality of Life Research, 2, 461–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hambleton, R. K., Merenda, P. F., & Spielberger, C. D. (Eds.). (2005). Adapting educational and psychological tests for cross cultural assessment. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  17. Hawes, D. J., & Dadds, M. R. (2004). Australian data and psychometric properties of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 40, 1345–1355.Google Scholar
  18. Hayes, L. (2007). Problem behaviours in early primary school children: Australian normative data using strengths and difficulties questionnaire. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 41, 231–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Herdman, M., Fox-Rushby, J., & Badia, X. (1997). “Equivalence” and the translation and adaptation of health-related quality of life questionnaires. Quality of Life Research, 6, 237–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Herdman, M., Fox-Rushby, J., & Badia, X. (1998). A model of equivalence in the cultural adaptation of HRQoL instruments: The Universalist approach. Quality of Life Research, 7, 323–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hertzman, C., & Wiens, M. (1996). Child development and long-term outcomes: A population health perspective and summary of successful interventions. Social Science and Medicine, 43(7), 1083–1093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. ITC (International Test Commission). (n.d.) Retrieved January 31, 2010, from
  24. Janus, M. (2007). The Early Development Instrument: A tool for monitoring children’s development and readiness for school. In M. E. Young & L. M. Richardson (Eds.), Early child development—from measurement to action: A priority for growth and equity (pp. 141–155). Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  25. Janus, M., Brinkman, S., Duku, E., Hertzman, C., Santos, R., Sayers, M., et al. (2007a). The Early Development Instrument: A population-based measure for communities. A handbook on development, properties, and use. Hamilton, ON: Offord Centre for Child Studies.Google Scholar
  26. Janus, M., & Duku, E. (2007a). Normative data for the early development instrument. Hamilton, ON: Offord Centre for Child Studies.Google Scholar
  27. Janus, M., & Duku, E. (2007b). The school entry gap: Socioeconomic, family, and health factors associated with children’s school readiness to learn. Early Education and Development, 18(3), 375–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Janus, M., Duku, E., & Samms-Vaughn, M. (2007). Report on early child development in Jamaica, unpublished work.Google Scholar
  29. Janus, M., & Offord, D. (2007). Development and psychometric properties of the early development instrument (EDI): A measure of children’s school readiness. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 39, 1–22.Google Scholar
  30. Jenkinson, C., Fitzpatrick, R., Norquist, J., Findley, L., & Hughes, K. (2003). Cross-cultural evaluation of the Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire: Tests of data quality, score reliability, response rate, and scaling assumptions in the United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, and Spain. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 56, 843–847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Meisels, S.J. (1988). Assessing readiness. Ciera Report #3-002, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement.Google Scholar
  32. Muthén, B. (1984). A general structural equation model with dichotomous, ordered categorical, and continuous latent variable indicators. Psychometrika, 49, 115–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Muthén, B., du Toit, S.H.C., & Spisic, D. (1997). Robust inference using weighted least squares and quadratic estimating equations in latent variable modeling with categorical and continuous outcomes (unpublished manuscript).Google Scholar
  34. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. (2008a). Mplus 5.1 for Windows. Los Angeles, CA: Author.Google Scholar
  35. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. (2008b). Mplus user’s guide. Los Angeles, CA: Author.Google Scholar
  36. Perneger, T. V., Leplège, A., & Etter, J.-F. (1999). Cross-cultural adaptation of a psychometric instrument: Two methods compared. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 52, 1037–1046.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sanson, A., Nicholon, J., Ungerer, J., Zubrick, S., Wilson, K., Ainley, J., et al. (2002). Introducing the longitudinal study of Australian children. Canberra: Australian Institute of Family Studies.Google Scholar
  38. Silburn S, Brinkman S, Ferguson-Hill S, Styles I., Walker R, Sheppard C. (2009). The Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) Indigenous Adaptation Study. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from
  39. Silburn, S., Brinkman, S., Sayers, M., Goldfeld, S., & Oberklaid, F. (2007). Establishing the construct and predictive validity of the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI). Early Human Development, 83(Suppl 1), S125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smedje, H. B. J.-E., Hetta, J., & von Knorring, A.-L. (1999). Psychometric properties of a Swedish version of the “Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire”. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 8, 63–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Steele, R. G., Little, T. D., Ilardi, S. S., Forehand, R., Brody, G. H., & Hunter, H. L. (2006). A confirmatory comparison of the factor structure of the children’s depression inventory between European American and African American youth. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 15, 779–794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Strauss, E., Sherman, E. M. S., & Spreen, O. (2006). A compendium of neuropsychological tests: Administration, norms, and commentary (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. To, T., Guttmann, A., Dick, P. T., Rosenfield, J. D., Parkin, P. C., Tassoudji, M., et al. (2004). Risk markers for poor developmental attainment in young children. Results from a longitudinal national survey. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 158, 643–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Young, M. E. (Ed.). (2007). Early child development: From measurement to action. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magdalena Janus
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sally A. Brinkman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eric K. Duku
    • 1
  1. 1.Offord Centre for Child Studies, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural NeurosciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Developmental Health, Curtin University and Telethon Institute for Child Health ResearchUniversity of Western AustraliaSubiacoAustralia
  3. 3.Australian Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations