Australia continues to be a world-leader in the measurement of childhood development with more than 300,000 children included in the 2015 Australian Early Development Census (AEDC).
Data collection for the AEDC began in May 2015 and has exceeded targets with more than 96 per cent of in-scope schools and children participating.1 The high response rate provides a more complete data set which helps the early childhood sector, schools and policy makers to trust the efficacy of the data as an evidence base for future policy decisions.
The high response rate is also an indicator of the level of importance that parents and schools place on the AEDC and its potential to shape and improve early childhood education policy in Australia.
The national census measures how children have developed as they begin their first year of full-time school, and the data collected will provide critical insights at a national, state, community and school level.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Scott Ryan said, “I would like to thank the thousands of teachers and parents across the country who supported the 2015 Australian Early Development Census. The wealth of information collected will mean better and more realiable data to inform government of best practice in this policy area.
“It is particularly important to note that more than 17,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have been included in the collection.”
School principals will be able to access their school profile from November 2015 via the secure website.
A national report, community maps and community profiles that provide information on how children across Australia are going against each of the five domains of the AEDC, including emerging trends, will be published on the AEDC website. The reports will also provide information about trends on developmental vulnerability at community, state and national level since 2009 as well as general information about Australia’s children. It is expected that these results will be available in March 2016.
The Australian Government has committed approximately $24 million to implement the 2015 AEDC data collection and works in partnership with State and Territory Governments, the Social Research Centre (SRC) Melbourne, Telethon Kids Institute Perth and the Centre for Community Child Health, the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.
1. The AEDC data is not a test or ranking system for schools, and results are reported for groups of children anonymously to ensure each child’s privacy is protected.