Measures whether preschool children are on track for their age in key areas of development.
For each of these domains, and for learning overall, the tool helps determine whether children are:
The tool is intended for use with groups of at least 15 children. Results can be used to guide programme enhancement, to optimise resource allocation, to compare the relative effectiveness of different types of programmes, to assess the impact of risk factors on young children, to inform systems enhancements and to enable population-level surveillance of child outcomes. View Case Studies.
This tool is available in all of South Africa’s 11 official languages. It is designed to be used by an accredited ELOM assessor or trained professional psychometrist e.g. occupational therapist.
Because social and emotional functioning cannot be satisfactorily measured by a person unfamiliar with the child, we recommend also using the ELOM Social-Emotional Rating Scale (alongside the ELOM 4&5) to measure these important aspects of development. This scale is completed by an adult who knows the child well.
Apply here to use this tool or to access the menu of support options.
This Technical Manual outlines the rigorous process followed in the development of the ELOM 4&5 Assessment Tool and describes further psychometrics undertaken since the release of the tool.
The tool provides a reliable and fair assessment of children regardless of their socio-economic and ethnolinguistic background. Content, construct, age, and concurrent validity (with the WPSSI-IV), as well as test-retest reliability, have been established.
The relationship between age and learning gains (maturation effect) has also been investigated, and can thus be used as a counterfactual against which to evaluate programme gains.
The assessment takes approximately 45 minutes per child.
The domains chosen for ELOM 4&5 underpin the South African early learning curriculum: Gross Motor Development; Fine Motor Coordination and Visual Motor Integration; Emergent Numeracy and Mathematics; Cognition and Executive Functioning; and Emergent Literacy and Language.
Once the overall domains had been decided, a scan of available tools used in similar exercises to the ELOM was undertaken. A particular focus was on measures with established validity and reliability which had been developed for use in South Africa and the region or in similar socio-cultural and socio-economic contexts. In designing the items used in the tool, the team also drew extensively on research literature, the South African National Curriculum Framework for Children from Birth to Four, and interviews with experts, including ECD practitioners and Grade R teachers. An initial long list of items were tested using accepted psychometric practices (see technical manual for detail) before selecting the final 23 items used in the tool.
A child’s performance on each item in each of the five ELOM 4&5 domains is awarded a raw score, which is then transformed into a scaled score. In each domain, item scaled scores are summed to provide a domain Total Score out of 20. The five domain scores are then summed to derive the ELOM 4&5 Total Score out of 100. Scores for each domain and for the total fall within one of 3 performance bands: On Track, Falling Behind and Falling Far Behind (in earlier versions this last category was referred to as At Risk). The cut off points for On Track, Falling Behind and Falling Far Behind for children aged 50 to 59 months and 60-69 months were set empirically and in consultation with key stakeholders (in 2016).
ELOM 4 & 5 Years Direct Assessment was validated on a sample representative of a range of socio-economic backgrounds of South African children, with children from five of the main language groups (isiXhosa, isiZulu, Afrikaans, Setswana, English). 1,331 randomly selected children from 173 schools in three provinces were assessed.
Yes, internationally accepted psychometric practice was followed to check for fairness. Analyses showed that the ELOM did not discriminate between children from different socio-economic or language backgrounds.
Yes they do. In the development process, we looked at three types of reliability:
No, ELOM is not a tool for assessing the school readiness of individual children. It is not designed to assess intelligence or diagnose developmental delay. However, it can be used to identify children who are significantly behind the standard expected for their age. They could then be referred for specialist assessment.
No, the ELOM 4 & 5 Years Targeting Tool was designed to quickly identify individual children within a programme that need additional early learning support.
Children’s performance on the five domains is more important than the total score, as these give programme managers a clear indication of how their programmes are performing, and where attention is needed to bring the children up to standard.
Costs depend on the amount of support required from the DataDrive2030 team and a cost estimate is provided once a request is received. We aim to keep the costs as low as possible and to subsidise costs for smaller non-profit organisations to enable their use of the tools.
The tool is designed to be used by an accredited ELOM assessor or trained professional psychometrist e.g. occupational therapist.
This tool is available in all of South Africa’s 11 official languages.
The following case studies illustrate how the ELOM 4 & 5 Years Assessment Tool has been used: