Child Indicators Research

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 235–254 | Cite as

Assessing Diversity in Early Childhood Development in the East Asia-Pacific

  • Nirmala RaoEmail author
  • Jin Sun
  • Ben Richards
  • Ann Margaret Weber
  • Alanna Sincovich
  • Gary L. Darmstadt
  • Patrick Ip


The East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales represent the first effort to create a developmental assessment tool on the basis of the diverse cultures and values of a range of countries within a world region. The Scales were administered to a representative sample of 7757 children (3869 girls), ranging in age from 36 to 71 months, from Cambodia, China, Mongolia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. In all six countries, child development scores increased with age and urban children consistently performed better than rural children. The gap between urban and rural children widened with age in Cambodia. There were significant gender differences in total scores, favouring girls in four countries. Results illustrate commonalities and variations in trajectories of children’s early development across contexts. Reasons for the findings and their implications are discussed.


Early child development East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS) measurement low- and middle- income countries 



Funding for the validation study of the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales (EAP-ECDS) came from UNICEF, ARNEC and the Open Society Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical approval was obtained from the Human Research Ethics Committee of The University of Hong Kong. Informed consent was obtained from parents of all child participants.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of Early Childhood EducationEducation University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  4. 4.Telethon Kids InstituteUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent MedicineUniversity of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

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