CIES 2023 Presentation: Taking stock of eight years of IDELA


Save the Children will be presenting its findings and learnings during the CIES 2023 Conference that will be held in Washington, DC from Feb 18-22, 2023

Taking stock of eight years of IDELA: learned lessons and the future ahead

The International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) is a free-to-use rigorous global tool that measures children’s early learning and development. IDELA provides Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) programs, donors and government partners with clear and robust evidence on the status of children 3.5 to 6 years old. Launched in 2014, IDELA has been used by more than 850 partners across 80 countries, including 132 organizations and academic institutions, providing a solid contribution for global efforts working towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4. Despite enormous progress in the availability of data about child developmental outcomes, evidence to guide ECCD programming is still scarce or inexistent for many children living in the most vulnerable and fragile contexts.
In this presentation we unfold the main achievements and lessons learned during the eight years since the launch of IDELA, and highlight the challenges and opportunities for innovations and methodological advances that may help increasing the scope and outreach of IDELA.
We start by discussing the need to develop protocols to support partners using IDELA to suit both mainstream and specific data needs while maintaining essential standardization aspects. Many organizations still struggle to incorporate standardized tools to measure early childhood development, especially in complex and vulnerable contexts. These challenges include constraints in conducting research in these specific settings and a lack of clarity on which adaptations may be needed. Difficulties in implementing data quality assurance protocols can also compromise the utility of the collected data. We examine some psychometric properties and implementation requirements of IDELA that should be considered during data collection and reflect on how to promote standardization and comparability.

We also reflect on how IDELA data helps bridge the gap between research and practice, providing actionable and accessible evidence to all stakeholders (parents, teachers, schools, communities, national decision-makers, and the global community). In addition, we will describe how the existing IDELA data explorer allows users to view, customize and utilize ECD data visualizations. While the data explorer has facilitated the task of obtaining data insights, we believe there is great room to increase the number of users, increase their understanding of what they can obtain from it, and learn how those users are incorporating their learnings into ECCD practice.

Finally, we address the need for sustained engagement with partners to identify the best ways to strengthen their capacities to collect, analyze and use IDELA data, and the need for stronger investments and adequate technical support that can lead to sustainable and system-level changes.