ECMap Project Research Reports

These research reports were produced as part of the Early Child Development (ECMap) project.

Setting the Scope for Early Child Development Instrument (EDI)
A Psychometric Re‐examination of the Tool with Alberta Data (April 2014): This paper looks at the 2011 EDI data for the province of Alberta and analyzes all 103 items on the EDI questionnaire using factor analysis and classical test theory to investigate the relevance of items to vulnerability as defined by the EDI developers. The authors recommend the implementation of a shorter, 59-item questionnaire and present evidence to show that it's more reliable. (Published by Springer, Social Indicators Research, July 27, 2014.)

The 14 decimal places (default) in EDI's Norm II cut-off values
They do it, but do they increase accuracy? (April 2014): This technical brief gives the reasons why the cut-points for the five areas of development of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) should take into account a procedure called rounding before calculation, especially when the purpose is to classify children's scores into, such categories as developing appropriately, experiencing difficulty, and experiencing great difficulty. The process has the potential to reduce bias in estimates of children falling into the two extremes, and consequently increase accuracy, if not precision.

Harvesting the Wisdom of Coalitions Literature Review
The purpose of this literature review is to synthesize the literature and research on all sorts of coalitions in the hopes of gaining a deeper understanding of what successful coalitions look like and what contributes to their sustainability. The final reports can be read on the ECMap website: A Study of the Sustainability of Coalitions in Alberta and Understanding Collaboration and Innovation in the Coalition Context

Applications of Differential Item Functioning (DIF) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) on Alberta's Early Childhood Development Instrument (EDI) Data

This report is based on a project funded by CUP to understand the issues and challenges in adapting the EDI tool in a multi-cultural/ethnic population, such as Alberta. The results were indicative of the risks involved in assessing young minority children's communication and general knowledge skills using the EDI.

The Early Development Instrument (EDI): An item analysis using Classical Test Theory (CTT) on Alberta's data
This report provides analysis of the EDI survey questions, administered by kindergarten teachers across Alberta, through a collaborative effort led by Alberta Education and the Offord Centre. The Early Child Development Mapping Project (ECMap) (formulated in 2009) was responsible for mining the data and developing an inter-community snapshot of developmental patterns of preschoolers. The data for this study cover four waves (2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012), are up to date, and represent 66,990 kindergarten children.

Living Conditions Index (LCI): A Context-based Measure to Understand Children's Developmental Outcomes
The scope of this study ranges from the identification of key drivers of living conditions from a wide spectrum of context-based and/or ecological indicators to the development of a concrete composite measure of living conditions within the framework of a multivariate analysis. The LCI is a standardized aggregate score that summarizes five components and 18 indicators in a single number. Three different approaches, Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Range Equalization (RE), and Division by Mean (DM) are used to assess the impact of different methods of weighting and standardization procedures on the composite. Between the RE and DM methods, the RE method is preferred because it accounts for wider variations and strong correlations to the PCA composite.

Alberta's Children in Their Early Years of Development: An Analysis of the Early Development Instrument (EDI), 2010
This report provides the results from the analysis of Wave 2 (2009/10) Early Development Instrument (EDI) data of teachers' assessment of kindergarten children in Alberta. It gives a snapshot of 16,176 preschoolers in terms of their development in five areas-physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and thinking skills, and communication and general knowledge-in a systematic manner at an aggregate level.

Early Development Instrument (EDI) A Drilled-down Report Edmonton West, 2009 and 2010
This is a drilled-down report documenting the developmental aspects of young children for the Edmonton West community based on the EDI data. The information is intended for internal purposes (the ECMap team and the Community Development Coordinators (CDCs)) and those in the research community. The community is subdivided into eight sub-communities, as shown on the map in the report. The main objectives of this report are to: 1) document the socio-demographic characteristics of kindergarten children in the sample; 2) document the developmental aspects of children by providing a benchmark; and, 3) provide evidence for planning at the community and sub-community level, wherever possible.

Weighting the Alberta EDI Community Data
The EDI is a population-based survey. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes end up having children of a certain characteristic, such as those who speak English/French as a first language more than those who speak languages other than English or French, differing from the way it is distributed in the population. The sex distribution of the study population can also be an important factor. We have found that females are likely to have higher EDI scores than males. Children in a sub-community, say A, may consist of 30 percent girls, when girls make up of 50 percent for the community to which A belongs. This introduces bias into any estimate we may obtain from our (sub) community analysis because statistical procedures will give greater weight to those we over-survey. We can correct for such biases mathematically with the weighting process.

Teachers' Assessment of Preschoolers' Social and Emotional Competence: Does Sex of Children Matter in Developmental Outcomes?
Behavioral and socio-emotional problems during early childhood have a lasting and profound impact on children's overall well-being and educational achievement and success. This study used the Wave 1 (2009) Early Development Instrument (EDI) data of 7938 kindergarten children in a Canadian province to examine gender-specific determinants of social competence and emotional maturity. The teachers' assessment of children's behavior on developmental areas, such as physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, anxiety and fearfulness, communication skills, independence and attentiveness, and special skills were examined for both sexes, within a multivariate framework. The study revealed that boys scored consistently lower in all developmental areas than girls, after adjusting for age. When other variables were controlled, higher rates of independent and attentiveness predicted higher rates of social and emotional competence among boys and girls. Nonparental care before entry into kindergarten was predictive of lower levels of social and emotional development.

A Comparison of Principal Components Analysis and Factor Analysis for Uncovering the Early Development Instrument (EDI) Domains
Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and Factor Analysis (FA) are often employed in identifying structures that underlie complex psychometric tools. Although the two strategies differ in terms of their applications, it is important to compare structures that may emerge when they are performed on such tools as the Early Development Instrument (EDI). The purpose of such an analysis is to simplify reported findings by using a reduced set of correlated EDI measurements. The analysis revealed that PCA summarized the structure better than FA (ML), eliminating some redundancy in the number of items while retaining a comparatively better overall variance. The results indicate that items that load on more than one component or factor substantially decrease the ability of PCA and FA to detect an underlying construct, and dropping such items could reduce the amount of complexity in EDI when formulating and testing an explanatory model of child development, especially at a community level.

Introducing a School Preparedness Index for a Canadian Sample of Preschoolers without Special Needs
This paper is an attempt to offer a combined index comprising the five dimensions-physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and anxiety and fearfulness- using a weighting system. The very idea of incorporating the domains of Early Development Instrument (EDI) into a composite index was intended to elucidate significant differences of developmental performances in preschoolers across communities.

Guidelines to Follow When Working with Small Numbers
This report answers the following questions that arise when working with small sample size while analyzing EDI data.

  • Why are Small Numbers a Concern in EDI Analysis?
  • How to Address the Statistical Issues?
  • How to Reduce the Risk of Confidentiality Breach?
  • What is a Good Participation Rate or Response Rate?
  • What is a Reasonable Threshold for Participation or Coverage Levels?

Early Development Instrument (EDI) Technical Report - Alberta 2009
This report provides the results from the analysis of Wave 1 (2008/9) Early Development Instrument (EDI) data of teachers' assessment of kindergarten children in Alberta. Wave 1 data provide a snapshot of 7,938 preschoolers in terms of their development in five areas- physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communication and general knowledge-in a systematic manner at an aggregate level.

Annotated Bibliography and Summary on Social Cohesion Literature
The purpose of this paper is to explore the dimensions of social cohesion, both in Canada and in other parts of the world, in the context of the most pertinent and influential literature available. Because social cohesion and social capital are so closely related and because this annotated bibliography would be incomplete without some of the major works on social capital, the paper begins with definitions of both and some information about how they are related. A brief outline of the history and background of these concepts in both theory and practice will be provided. Following that are challenges inherent in measuring social cohesion and social capital, and the progress that has been made.

Early Child Development: A Conceptual Model
This paper reviews different theoretical approaches - psychoanalytical, behavioral and social learning, biological, cognitive, and systems theories - to identify the key individual and environmental influences on child development. Based on this review and building from Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory, a model is proposed that takes individual and environmental factors into consideration.

Constructing an Area-based Socioeconomic Index: A Principal Components Analysis Approach
This paper reviews methods to create a socioeconomic index that apply standardization procedures and factor scores, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages among methods. In the absence of individual data, ecological or contextual measures of socioeconomic status are frequently used to draw the relationship between socioeconomic inequalities and health outcomes. The paper focuses on the development of a socioeconomic index that can be used to differentiate disadvantaged areas from more privileged ones in a multivariate context.