AEDC Background

History of the AEDC

In 2009, Australia became the first country in the world to collect national data on the developmental health of all children starting school.

The Australian Early Development Census was originally adapted from the Canadian Early Development Index, and was trialled and validated for use in Australia before the first national roll-out in 2009.

In 2018, AEDC data was collected for the fourth time nation-wide. We thank schools across Victoria for their participation in the 2018 AEDC data collection.

What is the AEDC?

The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a population measure of how young children are developing across Australia as they begin school.

The AEDC measures children’s development across five developmental domains known to be good predictors of adult health, education and social outcomes:

  • physical health and wellbeing
  • social competence
  • emotional maturity
  • language and cognitive skills
  • communication skills and general knowledge.

The AEDC instrument is completed by school teachers in children’s first year of school.

The AEDC gathers information on each child and reports back on how groups of children are faring; for example, at a community or state level. The AEDC does not provide an individual assessment on a child’s development.

AEDC results are reported as proportions of children who are considered to be:

  • ‘on track’ - that is, doing well
  • ‘developmentally vulnerable’ on one or more domain – those children who may be at risk of not doing well in life
  • 'developmentally vulnerable’ on two or more domains – those children who may not be ready to achieve success at school, and/or who do not have the basic skills in place.

The AEDC Local Community boundaries will change in 2015

AEDC results are mapped to an ‘AEDC Local Community’, which is equivalent to a suburb, or aggregations of suburbs (where numbers of children to report AEDC results on were too small).

Boundaries for AEDC Local Communities are being updated to coincide with the 2015 AEDC data collection. The new boundaries will align with the new Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) geographic structure, the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS). For more information on this, see: Australian Bureau of Statistics - ASGS

It was necessary to update the AEDC Local Community boundaries to allow for comparison of AEDC data with other important data sets published by the ABS, such as SEIFA, unemployment and other socio-demographic data sets.

The new boundaries are underpinned by Statistical Area 1 building blocks (SA1), and in most cases will approximate to whole SSC-11 geography (ABS State Suburb boundaries).

It will also be necessary to recalculate the 2012 and 2009 AEDC boundaries to match the 2015 boundaries and allowing for comparison of AEDC results over time.