Publications

Brinkman, S. A., 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.

Brinkman, S. A., 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.

Abstract: This article aims to contribute to the ongoing evaluation of the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) by investigating its construct and concurrent validity with a subsample of 642 children aged 4 to 5 years drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). Construct validity was examined by considering the theoretical consistency of the network of correlations between the AEDI subconstructs and the independently reported multimethod measures of early learning skills and development collected contemporaneously by the LSAC. Concurrent validity was examined by assessing the extent to which children who were “developmentally vulnerable” on the AEDI domains corresponded with the LSAC outcome indices classification of children as “developmentally at risk.” Moderate to large correlations were observed between each of the AEDI domains and subconstructs when compared to analogous teacher-rated LSAC measures, with lower levels of association observed for parent-rated LSAC measures. Concurrent validity was explored; however, with no criterion measure with which to assess the AEDI, findings are inconclusive prior to predictive validity assessment. Future waves of the LSAC will collect information on the children’s abilities at school and developmental outcomes, enabling further interpretation of these concurrent and construct validity findings by triangulation and predictive validity analyses.

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D'Angiulli, A., Warburton, W., Dahinten, S., & Hertzman, C. (2009). Population-level associations between preschool vulnerability and grade-four basic skills. Plos One, 4(11).

D’Angiulli, A., Warburton, W., Dahinten, S., & Hertzman, C. (2009). Population-level associations between preschool vulnerability and grade-four basic skills. Plos One, 4(11).

Abstract: Background: This is a predictive validity study examining the extent to which developmental vulnerability at kindergarten entry (as measured by the Early Development Instrument, EDI) is associated with children’s basic skills in 4th grade (as measured by the Foundation Skills Assessment, FSA).

Methodology/Principal Findings: Relative risk analysis was performed on a large database linking individual-level EDI ratings to the scores the same children obtained on a provincial assessment of academic skills (FSA-Foundation Skills Assessment) four years later. We found that early vulnerability in kindergarten is associated with the basic skills that underlie populations of children’s academic achievement in reading, writing and math, indicating that the Early Development Instrument permits to predict achievement-related skills four years in advance.

Conclusions/Significance: The EDI can be used to predict children’s educational trends at the population level and can help select early prevention and intervention programs targeting pre-school populations at minimum cost.

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Forer, B., & Zumbo, B. D. (2011). Validation of multilevel constructs: Validation methods and empirical findings for the EDI. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 231-265.

Forer, B., & Zumbo, B. D. (2011). Validation of multilevel constructs: Validation methods and empirical findings for the EDI. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 231-265.

Abstract: The purposes of this paper are to highlight the foundations of multilevel construct validation, describe two methodological approaches and associated analytic techniques, and then apply these approaches and techniques to the multilevel construct validation of a widely-used school readiness measure called the Early Development Instrument (EDI; Janus and Offord 2007). Validation evidence is presented regarding the multilevel covariance structure of the EDI, the appropriateness of aggregation to classroom and neighbourhood levels, and the effects of teacher and classroom characteristics on these structural patterns. The results are then discussed in the context of the theoretical framework of the EDI, with suggestions for future validation work.

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Forget-Dubois, N., Lemelin, J.-P., Boivin, M., Dionne, G., Seguin, J. R., Vitaro, F., et al. (2007). Predicting early school achievement with the EDI: A longitudinal population-based study. Early Education and Development, 18(3), 405-426.

Forget-Dubois, N., Lemelin, J.-P., Boivin, M., Dionne, G., Seguin, J. R., Vitaro, F., et al. (2007). Predicting early school achievement with the EDI: A longitudinal population-based study. Early Education and Development, 18(3), 405-426.

Abstract: School readiness tests are significant predictors of early school achievement. Measuring school readiness on a large scale would be necessary for the implementation of intervention programs at the community level. However, assessment of school readiness is costly and time consuming. This study assesses the predictive value of a school readiness measure, the Early Development Instrument (EDI), which relies on kindergarten teachers’ ratings of children’s well-being and social, emotional, and cognitive development. We also compared the predictive value of the EDI with that of a direct school readiness test and a battery of cognitive tests. Data were collected when the children were in kindergarten and a year later, as part of Quebec’s Longitudinal Study of Child Development. We found that that the EDI alone explained 36% of the variance in school achievement. The complete battery of measures explained 50% of the variance in early school achievement. Two of the EDI domains (Physical Health and Well-Being and Language and Cognitive Development) contributed uniquely to the prediction of school achievement over and above the cognitive assessments and direct school readiness test. The social and emotional domains of the EDI were at best marginal predictors of school achievement. In spite of this limitation, we conclude that the EDI predicts early school achievement as accurately as measures that take more time and resources to administer.

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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.

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.

Abstract: The present study investigates whether the Early Development Instrument (Offord & Janus, 1999) measures school readiness similarly across different groups of children. We employ ordinal logistic regression to investigate differential item functioning, a method of examining measurement bias. For 40,000 children, our analysis compares groups according to gender, English-as-a-second-language (ESL) status, and Aboriginal status. Our results indicate no systematic measurement differences regarding Aboriginal status and gender, except for 1 item on which boys are more likely than girls to be rated as physically aggressive by Kindergarten teachers. In contrast, ESL children systematically receive lower ratings on items of the language and communication domains–as expected by definition of ESL status–but not within the physical, social, and emotional domains. We discuss how our results fit with child development research and the purpose of the Early Development Instrument, thus supporting its validity.

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Guhn, M., & Goelman, H. (2011). Bioecological theory, early child development and the validation of the population-level Early Development Instrument. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 193-217.

Guhn, M., & Goelman, H. (2011). Bioecological theory, early child development and the validation of the population-level Early Development Instrument. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 193-217.

Abstract: The Early Development Instrument (EDI; Janus and Offord in Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 39:1-22, 2007) project is a Canadian population-level, longitudinal research project, in which teacher ratings of Kindergarten children’s early development and wellbeing are linked to health and academic achievement variables at the individual level, and to demographic, cultural, and socioeconomic variables at the community level. In this article, we draw from Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory of human development to create a coherent theoretical framework for guiding validation research within a population-level approach to child development research in general and for the EDI project in particular. The discussion draws from a range of social and health sciences as well as validity theory. The paper seeks to align complex conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and psychometric considerations, to provide specific design, methodology, and validation recommendations for a population-level approach to studying children’s development and wellbeing, and to discuss the strengths and challenges of this approach.

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Guhn, M., Janus, M., & Hertzman, C. (2007). The Early Development Instrument: Translating school readiness assessment into community actions and policy planning. Early Education and Development, 18(3), 369-374.

Guhn, M., Janus, M., & Hertzman, C. (2007). The Early Development Instrument: Translating school readiness assessment into community actions and policy planning. Early Education and Development, 18(3), 369-374.

Abstract: This invited special issue of “Early Education and Development” presents research related to the Early Development Instrument (EDI; Janus & Offord, 2007), a community tool to assess children’s school readiness at a population level. In this editorial introduction, we first sketch out recent trends in school readiness research that call for a contextual and whole-child assessment of school readiness. Then we provide an overview of the EDI, including a discussion of its purpose and development, as well as its large-scale international use as a community tool to monitor children’s developmental outcomes at population levels. Finally, we introduce the special issue’s articles, all of which present research findings from ongoing community research projects that employ the EDI to assess children’s school readiness. These articles are grouped into the following thematic themes: (a) individual-level validity of the EDI, (b) school and neighborhood effects and population-level validity of the EDI, and (c) program implementation and evaluation using the EDI.

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Guhn, M., Zumbo, B. D., Janus, M., & Hertzman, C. (2011). Opening remarks to the special issue on validation theory and research for a population-level measure of children's development, wellbeing, and school readiness. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 179-181.

Guhn, M., Zumbo, B. D., Janus, M., & Hertzman, C. (2011). Opening remarks to the special issue on validation theory and research for a population-level measure of children’s development, wellbeing, and school readiness. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 179-181.

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Hertzman, C., & Williams, R. (2009). Making early childhood count. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 180(1), 68-71.

Hertzman, C., & Williams, R. (2009). Making early childhood count. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 180(1), 68-71.

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Hubley, A. M., & Zumbo, B. D. (2011). Validity and the consequences of test interpretation and use. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 219-230.

Hubley, A. M., & Zumbo, B. D. (2011). Validity and the consequences of test interpretation and use. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 219-230.

Abstract: The vast majority of measures have, at their core, a purpose of personal and social change. If test developers and users want measures to have personal and social consequences and impact, then it is critical to consider the consequences and side effects of measurement in the validation process itself. The consequential basis of test interpretation and use, as introduced in Messick’s (Educational measurement, Macmillan, New York, pp. 13-103, 1989) progressive matrix model of unified validity theory, has been misunderstood by many measurement experts, test developers, researchers, and practitioners. The purposes of this paper were to (a) review Messick’s unified view of validity and clarify his consequential basis of test interpretation and use, (b) discuss the kinds of questions evoked by value implications and social consequences and their role in construct validity and score meaning, (c) present a reframing of Messick’s model and a new model of unified validity and validation, (d) bring the concept of multilevel measures under the same validation umbrella as individual differences measures, and (e) offer some thoughts and directions for more explicit consideration of value implications, intended social consequences, and unintended side effects of legitimate test interpretation and use. This paper has implications for the interpretation, use, and validation of both individual differences and multilevel measures in education, psychology, and health contexts.

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Hymel, S., LeMare, L., & McKee, W. (2011). The Early Development Instrument: An examination of convergent and discriminant validity. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 267-282.

Hymel, S., LeMare, L., & McKee, W. (2011). The Early Development Instrument: An examination of convergent and discriminant validity. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 267-282.

Abstract: The convergent and discriminant validity of the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a teacher-rated assessment of children’s “school readiness”, was investigated in a multicultural sample of 267 kindergarteners (53% male). Teachers evaluations on the EDI, both overall and in five domains (physical health/well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language/cognition, communication/general knowledge), were related to direct, child-based assessments of performance on two standardized measures of school readiness, and measures of phonological awareness and early social competence. Regression analysis indicated that together the four comparison measures accounted for 36% of variance in overall EDI scores, each making a significant and unique contribution. Results supported the convergent validity of overall EDI scores but not the discriminant validity of EDI domain scores. Moreover, correlations between EDI scores and comparison measures varied widely across teachers, suggesting considerable individual differences in teacher’s ability to evaluate school readiness relative to direct, child-based assessments, and confirming that the EDI is more appropriate for deriving inferences at higher aggregated levels such as community or region. The validation of EDI domain scores remains an important challenge in future research.

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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, D.C.: World Bank.

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, D.C.: World Bank.

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Janus, M., Hughes, D., & Duku, E. (February 2010). Patterns of school readiness among selected subgroups of Canadian children: Children with special needs and children with diverse language backgrounds. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University.

Janus, M., Hughes, D., & Duku, E. (February 2010). Patterns of school readiness among selected subgroups of Canadian children: Children with special needs and children with diverse language backgrounds. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: Offord Centre for Child Studies, McMaster University.

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Janus, M., & Offord, D. R. (2007). Development and psychometric properties of the Early Development Instrument (EDI): A measure of children's school readiness. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science-Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement, 39(1), 1-22.

Janus, M., & Offord, D. R. (2007). Development and psychometric properties of the Early Development Instrument (EDI): A measure of children’s school readiness. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science-Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement, 39(1), 1-22.

Abstract: The Early Development Instrument (EDI), a teacher-completed measure of children’s school readiness at entry to Grade 1, was designed to provide communities with an informative, inexpensive and psychometrically sound tool to assess outcomes of early development as reflected in children’s school readiness. Its psychometric properties at individual level were evaluated in two studies. Five a priori domains – physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and communication, and cognitive development and general knowledge – were tested in a factor analysis of data on over 16,000 kindergarten children. The factor analyses upheld the first three domains, but revealed the need to develop two new ones, resulting in the final version of the EDI consisting of: physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, communication skills and general knowledge domains. These final domains showed good reliability levels, comparable with other instruments. A separate study (N = 82) demonstrated consistent agreements in parent-teacher, interrater reliabilities, concurrent validity, and convergent validity. These results establish the EDI as a psychometrically adequate indicator of child well-being at school entry.

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Keating, D. P. (2007). Formative evaluation of the Early Development Instrument: Progress and prospects. Early Education and Development, 18(3), 561-570.

Keating, D. P. (2007). Formative evaluation of the Early Development Instrument: Progress and prospects. Early Education and Development, 18(3), 561-570.

Abstract: This article is a commentary for the special issue on the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a community tool to assess children’s school readiness and developmental outcomes at a group level. The EDI is administered by kindergarten teachers, who assess their kindergarten students on 5 developmental domains: physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communication skills and general knowledge. In this commentary, the author critically integrates research findings from projects that used the EDI to assess children’s development at a community or population level, as presented in the research articles of this special issue. In addition, the EDI is situated in the school readiness literature, and forthcoming research directions and challenges that will largely determine the risk–benefit ratio of the EDI are discussed in regard to the following 3 topics: the advantages and limitations of using teacher judgment for the EDI, the establishment of the EDI’s reliability and validity at a group (community, population) level, the EDI’s effectiveness for intervention and program evaluation and measurement.

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Lloyd, J. E. V., & Hertzman, C. (2009). From kindergarten readiness to fourth-grade assessment: Longitudinal analysis with linked population data. Social Science & Medicine, 68(1), 111-123.

Lloyd, J. E. V., & Hertzman, C. (2009). From kindergarten readiness to fourth-grade assessment: Longitudinal analysis with linked population data. Social Science & Medicine, 68(1), 111-123.

Abstract: Early child development (ECD) – the development of physical, social-emotional, and language-cognitive capacities in the early years – is a foundation of health, well-being, learning, and behaviour across the life course. Consequently, the capacity to monitor ECD is an important facet of a modern society. This capacity is achieved by having in place an ongoing flow of high-quality information on the state of early child development, its determinants, and long-term developmental outcomes. Accordingly, there remains a considerable need for research that merges community-centred, longitudinal, and linked-data approaches to monitoring child development. The current paper addresses this need by introducing one method of summarising and quantifying the developmental trajectories of British Columbian children at the neighbourhood- or district-level: computing the Community Index of Child Development (CICD) for each geographic area. A simple index that describes change in children’s developmental trajectories at the aggregate level, the CICD is computable because of our capacity to conduct individual-level linkage of two population data sets: the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a holistic measure of children’s readiness for school which is administered at Kindergarten, and the British Columbia Ministry of Education’s Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA), a Grade 4 measure of academic skills. In this paper, we demonstrate: (a) wide variation in the CICDs according to the children’s district of residence in Kindergarten; (b) an association of the ClCDs with an indicator of the socioeconomic character of the neighbourhoods: and (c) contrasting patterns of neighbourhood convergence and divergence in two different school districts – such that, in some areas, children from high Vulnerability neighbourhoods tend to catch up between Kindergarten and Grade 4 whereas, in other areas, they tend to fall further behind.

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Mort, J. N. (2004). BC school districts: Embracing young children and their families. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: HELP, Human Early Learning Partnership.

Mort, J. N. (2004). BC school districts: Embracing young children and their families. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada: HELP, Human Early Learning Partnership.

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Nicholas, W., Stanley, L., Inkelas, M., Aguilar, E., Tasoff, S., Bader, J., Norman, D. (2013). Assessing Children’s School Readiness in LA County Neighborhoods. First 5 Los Angeles Research Brief.

Nicholas, W., Stanley, L., Inkelas, M., Aguilar, E., Tasoff, S., Bader, J., Norman, D. (2013). Assessing Children’s School Readiness in LA County Neighborhoods. First 5 Los Angeles Research Brief.

Highlights:

  • The Early Development Instrument (EDI) is a validated population measure of school readiness that is relatively easy to administer and well-suited for tracking the long-term collective impacts of multi-sector, place-based early childhood initiatives.
  • From 2009-2013, EDI data were collected in 11 Los Angeles (L.A.) County communities from approximately 7,300 kindergarten students in 92 schools.
  • We found notable neighborhood-level variation across multiple dimensions of school readiness.
  • We found that, at the neighborhood level, developmental vulnerability increased with family poverty. Yet, several neighborhoods had either lower or higher rates of vulnerability than would be expected based on poverty data alone.
  • L.A. County communities are poised to learn from a growing national network of communities currently using the EDI to inform community wide strategies for improving early childhood systems of care.

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Sam, M. A. (2011). An indigenous knowledges perspective on valid meaning making: A commentary on research with the EDI and aboriginal communities. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 315-325.

Sam, M. A. (2011). An indigenous knowledges perspective on valid meaning making: A commentary on research with the EDI and aboriginal communities. Social Indicators Research, 103(2), 315-325.

Abstract: Offering an Indigenous perspective, this commentary discusses collaborative research, shared meaning making, and knowledge building specific to child development, and reflects on social, cultural, and historical aspects that influence these processes. Drawing upon experiences of developing a collaborative research approach with which to engage Aboriginal communities to appreciate, understand, and potentially use the Early Development Instrument (EDI; Janus and Offord in Can J Behav Sci 39:1-22, 2007), a teacher-administered rating scale on kindergarten children’s development, the commentary focuses on five key questions relevant to research processes undertaken with Indigenous Peoples, and the importance of social, ethical, and cultural aspects of validity: How do Indigenous epistemologies and knowledges inform and influence research processes that utilize the EDI as a measurement tool? How can the EDI be used as a measurement tool within a research process that fosters the thriving of children and their families in Aboriginal communities while promoting Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination? In what ways do local, Indigenous cultural and ethical considerations inform aspects of validation research pertaining to the EDI? How can (Western mainstream) universities build research capacity that is informed by Indigenous knowledges and ways of being, doing, and knowing? What are the potential consequences of using normative research tools-such as the EDI-as a method to build knowledge on children’s development with Indigenous Peoples and Aboriginal communities? This commentary suggests that from an Indigenous perspective, research on child development is valid and meaningful knowledge if it is clearly linked to the children’s and families’ wellbeing according to local cultural norms and values.

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Zumbo, B. D. (1999). The simple difference score as an inherently poor measure of change: Some reality, much mythology. In B. Thompson (Ed.), Advances in social science methodology (Vol. 5, pp. 269-304). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Zumbo, B. D. (1999). The simple difference score as an inherently poor measure of change: Some reality, much mythology. In B. Thompson (Ed.), Advances in social science methodology (Vol. 5, pp. 269-304). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

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