Can use IDELA for children aged 6 and up?

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  • #4664 Reply

    Frannie Noble

    Can IDELA be used with older children?

    This question came from an attendee at the IDELA Webinar: From Evidence to Action. A recording of the webinar is available.

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  • #4786 Reply

    Lela Chakhaia

    It is a very good question. IDELA has been designed to measure development levels of children aged 3 to 6 and it has been validated internationally among this age group. In principle, there is nothing that could prevent one from using IDELA with older children. But it might not be very useful and informative. IDELA scores vary substantially by age (see IDELA data visualizations on this site): 6-year-olds perform much better compared to 5-year-olds and so on. It is natural considering that children learn very fast at this early age. Among 6-year-olds variance in results is bound to be very low, meaning that there is a high chance that most children will correctly complete many of the tasks. This chance grows as children grow older. If we use IDELA with 8-year-olds all of them might perform at 100 % and in this case we really cannot say anything about differences between the children, or their development levels.
    That being said, there are some items in IDELA that are more difficult than others and even some 8-year-olds might struggle on those items. In this case it might be meaningful to use these items. It also depends on the context and learning environment – for example, if children are not taught numbers and letters until they are 7, maybe the items of IDELA on number and letter identification would be meaningful for them.
    Overall, using IDELA with children over 6 is not likely to be informative about children’s development and in most cases is not going to produce meaningful evidence.

    #4787 Reply


    Hi! We have seen IDELA used meaningfully with children older than 6 years so I would disagree a bit with the previous post. 🙂 On average, children perform close to mastery by the age of 6, but in some communities this is not the case. If you are working with a group of children who largely have not had access to formal learning environments then IDELA could be appropriate for ages older than 6. I would recommend that you pilot test in target communities before data collection to test for ceiling effects.

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