Our goal for IDELA was to develop a holistic, rigorous, open source instrument that is feasible and easily adapted to different national and cultural contexts.
In the ECCD field, there are few international tools available that can be used to holistically measure children’s development and emergent skills. In 2011, Save the Children completed a comprehensive review of the existing child development assessments and documented a number of important limitations with existing tools. Many of the instruments available were limited in their approach, either targeting only one skill area or a specific age group and many were reliant on parent or teacher report rather than directly assessing children’s skills. Further, cost associated with using the instruments across countries or projects was a tangible issue as many instruments required special permission and purchase. Most importantly, the majority of existing tools had been used primarily in high income countries, such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, making them difficult to adapt and easily use across countries with diverse populations and resource-poor settings.
Our review concluded that despite the existence of ECCD tools in the global space, none of the instruments available at the time offered a balance between 1) international applicability, especially within low and middle income country contexts, 2) feasibility and ease of administration and adaptation and 3) psychometric rigor. With these criteria in mind, and lessons learned from years of early childhood programming, Save the Children began the process of developing and validating the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA).
Our goal for IDELA was to develop a holistic, rigorous, open source instrument that is feasible and easily adapted to different national and cultural contexts. IDELA was developed with an aim to support continuous program improvement across Save the Children’s and partners’ numerous country sites, to increase accountability among ECCD initiatives globally, and to offer cohesive and ongoing data and evidence about children’s learning and development across countries that can help governments and global actors to bring successful ECCD programs to scale.