A Short Form Future for IDELA


Continued work to develop a short form assessment for IDELA

Thanks to a collaboration between Save the Children and Jonathan Seiden, a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the development of an IDELA short form assessment is underway.

A short form is exactly what it suggests – a shortened version of a full-length assessment. A short assessment offers faster assessments, reduced training for enumerators, and even the opportunity to assess more subjects in a given time period.
In the case of IDELA, a short form would pose fewer questions to the child and thus take less time to administer. The short assessment time might be especially important for IDELA users, who are working with young children with short attention spans. You can see in this video of the IDELA puzzle task, that even one assessment task can be an involved process with a preschool-aged child.

IDELA was designed to be a reliable and valid assessment tool and it has proven to have strong psychometric properties. You can read more about IDELA validation in a study conducted by researchers at New York University. The choice to develop a short form version of IDELA requires the same attention to reliability, validity, and psychometric strength.
Items from the full assessment cannot be chosen at random, but instead should be carefully selected and tested.

Seiden started by examining a large cross-country IDELA data set of more than 30,000 children from 23 countries to narrow down tasks to include in the short form. His research sought to determine:
1) What IDELA items (and subtasks) are most informative to understand children’s overall developmental status?
2) What is the minimum number of items/subtasks required for a reliable short form?
3) Is it possible to preserve information about different developmental domains in a short form?

Seiden was able to identify 10 tasks that fit the criteria particularly well. The next step is to pilot test a full short form assessment. Although COVID-19 makes face to face testing difficult, there appear to be some opportunities for piloting in 2021.

The IDELA team looks forward to sharing more updates with you in the future and announcing a full public release of IDELA short form.

For additional questions about short form assessments or IDELA, please contact [email protected]