Early Development Instrument (EDI) Project
The Early Development Instrument (EDI) project is a new initiative that further extends our commitment to improving the lives of young children by illuminating the opportunities for more precise intervention and better alignment of resources for children, families, and communities. This initiative builds on Erikson’s mission-driven work to ensure a future in which all children have equitable opportunities to realize their full potential through leadership and policy influence.
Erikson partnered with Illinois communities engaging in the EDI as a tool to ignite community-led and data-driven systems change. This place-based project—the first of its kind in Illinois deepens our community partnerships in a collective effort to understand the needs of young children and families, formulate policies and advocate for resource alignment to address those needs. This project also informs strategy to ensure better systems coordination.
What is the EDI?
The Early Development Instrument is a neighborhood-level population measure that gauges the development of young children within the context of their community. EDI data is collected through an approximate 103 question survey administered by kindergarten teachers during the second half of the year. The data are presented through neighborhood-level tables and maps (see edi.erikson.edu for an example).
The EDI provides a holistic snapshot of young children in five key developmental domains:
- Physical health and well-being
- Social competence
- Emotional maturity
- Language and cognitive development
- Communication skills and general knowledge
How could a community use EDI results?
The data can be used to enhance data literacy as a tool for civic engagement, create awareness for early childhood development, and assess the impact of collective efforts on children over time. It can also be used to identify needs and strengths to promote more programs and services, equitable distribution and alignment of resources, policy recommendations, and to foster better coordination across systems that serve young children and families. Data can also be used to support future funding proposals. Other important contextual indicators or factors that may influence health and well-being—such as poverty, single parent households, and crime data—are layered on top of the EDI data to better inform the analysis.
The EDI distinguishes itself from other kindergarten readiness assessments in two ways:
- Results are reported in aggregate through maps and tables at a neighborhood level rather than by each child—no data is ever used to evaluate individual children, teachers or schools.
- Active participation from community and school stakeholders is the centerpiece of the EDI pilot project in both analyzing results and appropriately planning for their use.
What is the EDI Project?
Through generous funding from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Erikson partners with Illinois communities as they engage in the EDI project. Erikson supports community partners in the form of coaching, technical assistance, and providing resources to implement the EDI, data literacy as the community analyzes the results, and developing action plans to improve the trajectories of young children.
In the fall of 2016, Erikson launched the EDI pilot project by selecting two community partners for year one of the pilot: Success by 6 Coalition in Kankakee County and Greater East St. Louis Early Learning Partnership. In the spring of 2017, Collaboration for Early Childhood in the Village of Oak Park was selected as the year two community. In year three, the city of Rockford’s Ready to Learn and the Early Childhood Alliance in the central neighborhoods in the Villages of Skokie and Morton Grove engaged in the EDI process. While over 55 communities across the United States have implemented the EDI, this was the first time the tool has been used in Illinois. Currently, this groundbreaking project is available to communities throughout Illinois.
How can my community get involved?
For more information, contact us at [email protected]