Australia is the only country in the world that regularly collects comprehensive information about the holistic development of every child entering the first year of school.This information, gathered through the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), guides national and state policy and informs program development. Overall the data from 2009, 2012, and 2015 show reductions in children’s developmental
vulnerability, especially among children from Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, a group that has historically faced health, education, and well-being inequalities. The story of how the AEDC was adapted from the Early Development Instrument (EDI) developed in Canada and adopted by the Australian Government is useful for the United States. It can inform current discussions of equity and the role population-based measures can play in policy and community discussions about funding and service allocation. Findings from population-based research data can fill gaps in our understanding about vulnerable populations and identify community strengths to help support the development of all children. Examples of similar efforts in the United States using the EDI and related measures provide additional context for an ongoing discussion of the potential of populationbased measures for informing policy and practice.
SOURCE: Boller K, and Harman-Smith Y. “Measuring Up: Learning About Improving Equity from Australia’s Early Childhood Development Census.” Mathematica Policy Research, 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia