How to use the EDI

As a monitoring tool

  • As a population-level indicator, the EDI has most value and accuracy when implemented for an entire group of children in a geographic community.
  • To use the EDI successfully, the respondents reporting on children’s skills and behaviors should:
    • Be individuals who know the children well in an early learning setting. Parents, for example, are not always the most knowledgeable respondents, for the EDI focuses on children’s social skills and emerging academic skills.
    • Have received some education about early childhood.
    • Participate in a training and information session that informs them of the reasons for collecting the data, the data collection process, and the potential use of the results. At least minimal training will help ensure that the EDI items are interpreted accurately.
    • Be given a copy of the guide that accompanies the EDI.

As a research tool

  • The EDI can also be used as a research tool in a research or evaluation project. The reliability and validity of the EDI as an individual (non-diagnostic) assessment has been demonstrated through numerous studies
  • In research, the interpretation of the EDI results should reflect the population studied.
  • The use of the EDI as a research tool should follow the same procedures as the use of any other research instrument: such as receiving ethical approval, ensuring informed consent, and securing the most knowledgeable respondent for completing the questionnaire (teacher, early childhood educator).


The EDI is easily adaptable to different countries because the EDI measures developmental milestones, not specific curriculum goals. Still, some expressions or skills may not be culturally or linguistically appropriate. Whenever possible, the EDI team works with local experts to adjust the EDI items to reflect the culture in which the EDI will be implemented.

Additional requirements for international adaptation

  1. Consult with local experts in child development to establish the relevance of the EDI items
    • If the items need to be translated into a language other than English, these experts should be consulted about the accuracy of the translation. The local EDI coordinator must consult with the Offord Centre about any changes and modifications made to the instrument.
  2. Modify the EDI as needed
    • Changes can be made to adapt an item (e.g., modify the language) to the local context, or to remove or replace an item that is not relevant locally.
  3. Implement the EDI on a pilot basis with teachers or early childhood educators
    • This step is essential to ensure that the EDI items reflect children’s skills accurately and that teachers and educators can respond to the questions readily and easily.
  4. Assess the local reliability and validity of the EDI
    • Collecting data on the reliability and validity of the EDI locally is necessary to ensure that the previous steps in adapting the EDI have been successful. Reliability and validity could be assessed in several ways—for example, by:
      • Having a subgroup of teachers complete their assessment twice (test–retest)
      • Linking the EDI data with individual assessments of children’s cognitive abilities (conducted separately, or previously, as is often done routinely in schools)
      • Selecting a representative sample of parents for parent interviews
      • To document reliability and validity, the data from these additional assessments should be analyzed for their level of agreement or association with the EDI results.

EDI international questionnaires

For a more detailed list of your requirements and responsibilities for implementing the EDI, please click here.

To learn about interpreting EDI results, please click here.

For more information about the EDI, please contact us directly.