Studies, Reviews and Research

Assessing the Construct Validity of Save the Children’s International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA)

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Global TIES for Children, New York University,Save the Children

The International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) was developed by Save the Children to assess early childhood development holistically. It has been used in 30 mostly low- and middle-income countries. High-quality measurement plays a critical role in improving any outcome and has become an especially important for early childhood development given its recent inclusion in the Sustainable Development Gains (SDGs). Thus IDELA is drawing growing attention from the research and donor communities.

This study examines the psychometric properties of the IDELA using exploratory and confirmatory bi-factor analyses to assess the structure and validity of the IDELA items that measure four domains of development (Early Numeracy, Early Literacy, Social-Emotional Development, and Motor Skills) across a regional sample in Oromia, Ethiopia. Results support the presence of a general factor for each of the four domains, with additional residual factors that correspond to individual task-based item groups. The relationships among the four domains are consistent with the hypothesis of a single over-arching construct, while each provides unique information about domains of children’s development. These constructs are replicated in the confirmatory sample which provides reason to be optimistic that the IDELA measures (1) children’s holistic development, and (2) four unique domains of development. Next steps are to consider the concurrent and predictive validity of the IDELA as well as to investigate measurement invariance across different subgroups within Ethiopia and across different countries to speak to the applicability and comparability of IDELA across countries.

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