Readiness to Learn
Readiness to learn measures the percentage of children that are assessed as ready to learn when they enter kindergarten.
Why This Matters
Readiness to learn is measured using the Early Development Instrument (EDI) – a questionnaire that measures Kindergarten children’s readiness for school across several areas of child development.
EDI scores are important for assessing childhood readiness to learn, providing an indication of children’s learning in their first five years of life at home. Basically, children who come to school with the essential skills, abilities, and attitudes for learning attain poorer education levels (Janus et al., 2007).
Access to EDI results helps communities make informed decisions about how to support the development of their children so that all children fully benefit from their first school experiences (Healthy Child Manitoba (HCM), 2009). Increasingly, EDI data is being used to identify areas of special need, to plan and locate timely interventions such as early childhood programs and to guide broad policy development (Janus et al., 2007).
EDI is connected to Education & Learning, and Social Vitality. For Education & Learning, children that begin school ready to learn are more likely to have future successes in learning throughout their lives (Healthy Child Manitoba, 2009). For social vitality, EDI results are a reflection of children’s early years and the strengths and needs of children’s communities (Healthy Child Manitoba, 2009).
Measurement and Limitations
The EDI is a population-based measure for communities, developed by Dr. Dan Offord and Dr. Magdalena Janus at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University. In Manitoba, the Early Development Instrument (EDI) questionnaire is completed biannually by kindergarten teachers on the children in their classroom. The instrument consists of 104 questions that speak to five core areas of early child development that are good predictors of adult health, education and social outcomes (Janus et al., 2007; Healthy Child Manitoba, 2009). The EDI is never used to assess individual children. Rather, the questionnaire measures how a community of kindergarten children is doing compared to children in other communities. As a result, the EDI is not able to identify individual children with special needs.
The testing occurs in early spring, giving the teachers ample time to become familiar with their students and is available in both French and English. All parents are notified beforehand of the EDI data collection, allowing them to withdraw their child if desired.
The EDI measures:
Physical Health and Well-Being: Children are happy, healthy, rested each day.
Social competence: Children play and get along with others, share, show confidence.
Emotional maturity: Children are able to concentrate on tasks, help others, show patience, are not often aggressive or angry.
Language and thinking skills: Children are interested in reading and writing, can count and recognize numbers, shapes.
Communications skills and general knowledge: Children can tell a story, communicate with adults and other children.
In order for the EDI to provide reliable and meaningful information, its respondents need to be very familiar with the range of appropriate child behaviour and skills within an early learning setting. Kindergarten teachers and early childhood educators have proven to be the best respondents for these indicators, demonstrating high inter-rater reliability (Janus & Offord, 2007: Janus et al., 2007). Kindergarten teachers and early childhood educators undergo a training/information session to improve data collection consistency.
EDI data reliability is strong. Reliability refers to the consistency in measurements of a target, or the precision to which data is collected. Janus et al. (2007) found both high internal consistency and test-retest reliability for the EDI, indicating that items proposing to measure similar topics produced similar results and there was little variation in scores when the test was replicated under the same conditions.
EDI data validity is strong. Validity refers to the accuracy to which the data measures what it is intended to measure. Janus et al. (2007) found statistically significant correlations with responses from parent interviews and scores from other standard tests for measuring child abilities. Janus et al. (2007) also tested for teacher bias, finding that teachers’ responses showed no bias related to students’ aboriginal status, gender, and socio-economic status.
The geographical areas used for readiness to learn are unique to this indicator. Data is sourced from Healthy Child Manitoba and uses Winnipeg School Division boundaries found here.
Data for the Early Development Instrument (EDI) indicator was provided by Healthy Child Manitoba.
This data is also published online at http://www.gov.mb.ca/healthychild/edi/edi_reports.html .
The EDI questionnaire can be found at http://www.offordcentre.com/readiness/files/EDI_2010-2011_EN.PDF
Healthy Child Manitoba. (2009). Provincial report: 2008/2009. Retrieved from http://www.gov.mb.ca/healthychild/edi/edi2008.pdf
Janus, M., Brinkman, S., Duku, E., Hertzman, C., Santos, R., Sayers, M., et al. (2007). The Early Development Instrument: A population-based measure for communities. A handbook on development, properties, and use. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: Offord Centre for Child Studies. Retrieved from: http://www.gov.mb.ca/healthychild/edi/edi_handbook_2007.pdf
Janus, M. & Offord, D. (2007). Development and psychometric properties of the Early Development Instrument (EDI): A measure of children’s school readiness. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 39, 1-22.
Readiness to Learn Sustainable Development Goals
4. Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development. Major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels and increasing enrolment rates in schools particularly for women and girls. Basic literacy skills have improved tremendously, yet bolder efforts are needed to make even greater strides for achieving universal education goals. For example, the world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys, but few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education.
Related Readiness to Learn Targets
By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education