Assessing the Construct Validity and Measurement Invariance of the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) in Ethiopia
Early Childhood Research Quarterly
New York University's Transforming Intervention Effectiveness and Scale Center establishes IDELA's construct validity and measurement invariance using Ethiopia program data.
The post 2015 context for international development has led to a demand for assessments that measure multiple dimensions of children’s school readiness and are feasibly administered in low-resource settings. The present study assesses the construct validity of the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) developed by Save the Children using data from a sample of children (∼5 years of age; N = 682) from rural Ethiopia. The study (a) uses exploratory and confirmatory bi-factor analyses to assess the internal structure of the assessment with respect to four hypothesized domains of school-readiness (Early Numeracy, Early Literacy, Social-Emotional development, and Motor development); (b) uses latent regression to examine concurrent validity of the domains against a limited set of child and family characteristics; and (c) establishes measurement invariance across three focal comparisons (children enrolled in center-based care versus home-based care; girls versus boys; and treatment status in a cluster randomized controlled trial of a center-based program). The results support the conclusion that the IDELA is useful for making inferences about children’s school readiness. Implications for future use of the IDELA and similar instruments are discussed.