Equating Test Scores for Receptive Vocabulary Across Rounds and Cohorts in Ethiopia, India & Vietnam

Juan Leon
Survey design and sampling
Technical notes

In longitudinal studies such as Young Lives, getting comparable measures of children´s cognitive abilities over time is essential for identifying individual, household, and school-level factors that affect children´s development. Few longitudinal studies that follow birth/age cohorts include comparable cognitive measures across waves, and those studies that are available are mainly from developed countries. Young Lives provides a unique opportunity to explore the development of value added or growth curve modelling analysis aimed at identifying variables at different levels and across time and space, associated with children’s learning outcomes, in developing countries. 

This Technical Note discusses the construction of cognitive scores that are comparable across rounds and age cohorts for Young Lives in Ethiopia, India (the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) and Vietnam.

Young Lives gathers information from children and their families through individual and household questionnaires, including different cognitive and achievement tests. The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) is the one test that is common across rounds and cohorts. Therefore, this test was selected to build cognitive measures comparable across Rounds 2, 3 and 4, and age cohorts (the Younger Cohort, born in 2001/02, and Older Cohort, born in 1994/95) employing Item Response Theory (IRT) to achieve standardised cognitive measures. Scores were estimated using a three-parameter model which considers the item’s difficulty, discrimination, and pseudo-guessing as parameters to estimate the individual’s ability. The second step was to perform a Differential Item Functioning analysis (DIF) by cohort and survey round in order to identify possible item bias and correct it. The last step consisted of equating the scores of common items (anchor items) as a means of obtaining comparable PPVT scores across rounds and cohorts without cohort and round biases.

New Ethiopian Centre for Child Research launched

Submitted by remote on Mon, 05/29/2017 - 15:17

Young Lives partner, The Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) has established the Ethiopian Centre for Child Research (ECCR) in partnership with UNICEF Ethiopia and Addis Ababa University. The ECCR is inspired by the collaborative work of EDRI and Young Lives in Ethiopia as well as the multi-agency Child Research and Practice Forum (CRPF).

The Design of the 2016-17 Young Lives School Survey in Ethiopia

Jack Rossiter
School effectiveness
School systems (incl private schooling)
Survey design and sampling
Technical notes
YL-TN36.pdf151.31 KB

Young Lives school surveys gather detailed information about children, their households, their teachers and their schools. School surveys seek to develop understanding of the contribution of educational experience in relation to the causes and consequences of childhood poverty.

The first Ethiopia school survey, conducted in 2009/10, tracked Young Lives’ ‘Younger Cohort’ children into schools and classrooms to understand their educational experiences, attainment and achievement levels (Young Lives 2012).

A second school survey, in 2012/13, was structured to collect data relating to all Young Lives children and their peers studying in Grades 4 and 5 in every school within Young Lives’ 20 sites (in Amhara, Oromia, SNNP, Tigray and Addis Ababa) and in an additional 10 sites in Afar and Somali. This research design extended the survey’s reach, in order to generate rich evidence about school and classroom effectiveness and the drivers of learning (Young Lives 2014).

The third Ethiopia school survey, being delivered in 2016/17 and the focus of this design note, will follow the research design adopted in 2012/13. Young Lives will visit the same sites and, within these, the same schools and will maintain our interest in school effectiveness, the levels, changes and drivers of learning. The team will survey students in Grades 7 and 8: the final grades of primary schooling and a crucial juncture before students proceed to general secondary education.

Priority areas for upper primary and lower secondary education policy have been identified through consultation with the Government of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education and with national and international education stakeholders. These guide our main research questions:

  • At what level are students performing in core curricular and transferable domains (Mathematics and Functional English) and are levels indicative of preparedness for further education and training?
  • How much progress are children making in one academic year and what are the drivers of learning trajectories over time, including how these relate to equity (e.g. are gaps growing or shrinking)?
  • What is the role of key dimensions of education quality in shaping educational outcomes over time and, in particular, which teacher practices are associated with improved learning outcomes?
  • What are the relationships between language of instruction (intended and applied), participation, learning levels and preparedness for further education and training in secondary grades?

This design note outlines the context and policy background, the research design, and the policy implications of the third Ethiopia school survey.

Young Lives panel data released

Submitted by remote on Mon, 06/13/2016 - 18:15

A panel dataset of constructed variables from Young Lives is now available to access from the UK Data Service. The dataset has been compiled to facilitate analysis of the household and child survey data across the four rounds of data collected to date. The files are combined sub-sets of selected variables from the Young Lives survey carried out in 2002 (Round 1), 2006 (Round 2), 2009 (Round 3), and 2013 (Round 4), when the Younger Cohort children were aged 1, 5, 8, and 12 years and the Older Cohort children were aged 8, 12, 15, and 19 years.

Young Lives Rounds 1 to 4 Constructed Files

Bridget Azubuike
Technical notes

This Technical Note accompanies the Constructed Files of Young Lives data which have been deposited with the UK Data Service to facilitate analysis of the household and child survey data across the four rounds of data collected to date. The constructed files are combined sub-sets of selected variables from Rounds 1 to 4 of the Young Lives survey, carried out in 2002 (Round 1), 2006 (Round 2), 2009 (Round 3), and 2013 (Round 4), when the Younger Cohort children were aged 1, 5, 8, and 12 years and the Older Cohort children were aged 8, 12, 15, and 19 years.

The files contain about 200 original and constructed variables, most of them comparable across the four rounds, presented in a panel format and classified in four broad groups: panel information, general characteristics, household characteristics, and child characteristics. This document is organised around the same groups.


The Reliability and Validity of Achievement Tests in the Young Lives Ethiopia School Survey Round 2

Juan Leon
Technical notes

This technical note gives details of the reliability and validity of the assessments used in the second school survey carried out by Young Lives in Ethiopia for the purpose of the construction of test scores on a common scale within each language for maths and reading comprehension. This document give details of the three-parameter model used to build the achievement scores in both content areas. We tested graphically for item fit and item bias (by gender and wave). Our results indicate that most of the items used have a good item fit as well as they did not show the presence of bias by wave or gender. Finally, we did an external validity analysis correlating the IRT scores (maths and reading comprehension) with individual and family characteristics, and the results showed that correlations were statistically significant with the expected signs.

Exploring Children’s Experiences of Work in Ethiopia: A Guide for Child-focused Research

Gina Crivello
Children's work and time-use
Technical notes
YL-TN31.pdf511.77 KB

This document is the research manual that guided qualitative data collection as part of a sub-study within Young Lives on ‘Stimulating evidence-based approaches to child work/labour in Ethiopia’, one of a wider set of activities exploring the role of research in improving policy and practice in Ethiopia.

Before the field study was designed, a series of consultation meetings was held with local stakeholders who work in the area of child poverty and well-being. This protocol reflects the areas of knowledge and practice regarding children’s work that the stakeholder groups felt it was most important to improve.

Child labour is a controversial topic worldwide and a major area of policy concern in Ethiopia. The international development community and donor agencies play a strong role in shaping policy and research agendas, including in Ethiopia. The main focus is on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour, as defined by the ILO, and on tackling extreme forms of exploitation, such as child sex work and child trafficking. Ethiopia’s Labour Proclamation only applies to contractual labour, but many children engage in informal and unpaid work, including domestic work and work in the streets. The vast majority of working children in Ethiopia work in agriculture. It is widely assumed that work performed for the household is preferable and less prone to exploitation than work that is performed for pay outside the home.

However, there are many gaps in our knowledge. Existing evidence tends to rely on survey-based statistics and relatively little is known about children’s own perspectives on their working lives. A major area of policy and research interest is in the relationship between work and school. There is a wide range of ways that schools accommodate children’s work, and it is important to understand children’s experiences of trying to balance work and school, especially given the Government’s interest in moving from flexible, shift schooling towards full-time schooling. Key concerns for the Ethiopian Ministry of Education relate to high drop-out rates, particularly among boys who are leaving school early to go into paid employment, as well as strategies for increasing primary school completion and progression to secondary school.

Young Lives data show that the vast majority of children combine some form of work (paid or unpaid) with schooling. Against this background this research protocol was designed to generate timely and relevant information that can be used to inform policy discussions and to highlight the role of children’s perspectives as evidence within these processes.

Young Lives Survey Design and Sampling in Ethiopia

Survey design and sampling
Technical notes

This fact sheet describes the survey methods and sample design of Young Lives in Ethiopia. It covers: principles of the Young Lives sampling approach; how the regions, districts and communities were selected and the sample children identified;  a brief description of the 20 sentinel sites; brief characteristics of the sample children (in 2013); attrition rates; and key topics covered by survey in Round 4.

Round 4 survey starts in Ethiopia

Submitted by remote on Fri, 10/04/2013 - 16:12

The fourth round of Young Lives survey in Ethiopia starts this week (7 October 2013 / 27 Maskerem 2006). Over the next few months a team of 40 fieldworkers along with 10 supervisors will travel to 20 sentinel sites across 4 regions of Ethiopia (Amhara, Oromia, the Southern Nations Nationalities and People?s Region, Tigray) and the capital, Addis Ababa, to interview 3,000 children and young people and their parents or caregivers.

A Mixed-method Taxonomy of Child Poverty

Poverty and inequality
Working paper

There are long-standing debates about how to measure poverty and well-being and how to classify household and individuals in terms of poverty status. This paper informs those debates. It presents a taxonomy of poverty and vulnerability that has been developed from a mixed methods study of rural children and households in Ethiopia. Qualitative information is used to inform and development of quantitative indicators that will assess poverty and vulnerability.

The taxonomy was developed using a 'generic construction process' that includes five steps: identification of the purposes of the study, formulation of a conceptual framework, selection and formulation of both the domains and then the indicators, and finally, construction of outcome measures. The data used in this construction process were gathered from children and adults across eight rural sites in Ethiopia. Children discussed their attitudes and views about what it meant to be poor. Additionally, adult responses were gathered about certain households. They were asked to classify specified households at present, and to recall how the same households were classified 25 years ago. This, along with household histories, provided a descriptive picture of change over time. Indicators that emerged included things like owning draught animals, which was a clear sign that a household was moving out of poverty. In contrast, owning no land or livestock indicated severe poverty.

These indicators, identified through qualitative measures, form the basis for quantitative measures of poverty that are relevant to rural Ethiopian contexts. By constructing a taxonomy in this way, this study makes a significant contribution to the debates about how to measure poverty and classify individuals or households.