AEDC Video: Understanding the Data - Transcript
The Australian Early Development Census or AEDC is a nationwide measure of early childhood development. The AEDC helps communities understand how children are developing before they start school, what is being done well, and what can be improved.
Information is collected across the nation to help create a snapshot of early child development in communities.
Teachers record information for each child in their class, based on their observations.
The Australian version of the Early Development Instrument used to collect this data measures five areas or domains of early child development:
- physical health and wellbeing
- social competence
- emotional maturity
- language and cognitive skills (school-based)
- communication skills and general knowledge
Teacher’s responses to the Early Development Instrument are added together to give each child a score between 0 and 10 on each of the five domains.
These five scores are referred to as AEDC domain scores.
During the first national AEDC data collection in 2009, the domain scores were explored for all children in their first year of full time school for each of the five developmental domains.
Looking at the communications skills and general knowledge domain as an example, based on the AEDC domains scores, children were classified into one of three groups:
- on track
- developmentally at risk
- developmentally vulnerable
Children with scores in the bottom 10% were classified as developmentally vulnerable.
Children with scores between the 10th and 25th per cent were classified as developmentally at risk.
Children with scores in the top 75 per cent were classified as developmentally on track.
The score for the national AEDC cut-offs used to classify children as developmentally vulnerable, at risk and on track were set in 2009. They’ll be applied to future AEDC data collections providing a reference point or baseline to track children's developmental outcomes across Australia over time through the programme.
The purpose of the AEDC is to help schools, communities and governments pinpoint and tailor their services, resources and support to help young children and their families.
While the Early Development Instrument is completed by the child’s school teacher, the results are reported based on the community where the child lives.
Now let’s think about the community as a whole.
Community A is in South Australia.
There are 10 children in this community who attend three different schools in the area. At each school, teachers completed the Instrument for each child in their first year of full-time school. The scores for each child for each domain were then classified as on track, at risk or vulnerable.
In Community A, we can see that while 6 out of 10 children are not vulnerable on any domains, two children at risk on one or more domains, two children are vulnerable on 1 or more domains and one of these children is vulnerable on 2 or more domains.
The more domains on which a child is vulnerable, the greater the risk of later difficulties. Being vulnerable on just one domain is already putting children behind their peers.
In Community A, two out of ten or 20% of children are vulnerable on one or more domain.
Although we can use the AEDC to look at specific developmental vulnerabilities, it is important to consider children’s overall development and that ideally children need to develop well in all areas. A gauge of children’s overall development is best viewed across all five AEDC domain scores. The national progress indicator for child development in Australia is how many children are vulnerable on one or more domains of the AEDC.
In 2012, the second AEDC data collection took place involving almost 290,000 children.
Using the cut points set in 2009, we see 78% of children were on track in 2012. Meaning overall children in Australia are doing better than they were in the 2009 collection.
Future AEDC data collections will enable us to continue to track child development across Australia.
For more information about the Australian Early Development Census visit the website or contact your State or Territory Coordinator.