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The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a national measure of early childhood development, collected for children commencing their first year of compulsory education (Pre-Primary in Western Australia)1. Since 2009, the AEDC has been collected every three years across public, private, and independent schools in Australia1, 2.

All children included in the AEDC are scored on five domains of development that are associated with predictors of good social, health and educational outcomes into adulthood1. These domains are 1) Physical health and wellbeing, 2) Social competence, 3) Emotional maturity, 4) Language and cognitive skills and 5) Communication skills and general knowledge1, 2.  These domains of development are considered to provide a snapshot of a child’s level of school readiness, which is an important predictor of ongoing educational and occupational achievement3,4. Children are classified as ‘developmentally vulnerable’ on a domain if they score below the 10th percentile (based on national data), and ‘developmentally at risk’ on a domain if they score between the 11th and 25th percentile1.  Hence ‘developmentally vulnerable or at risk’ comprises children who scored on the 25th percentile or below.

Fostering the different areas of early development connected to each of the five domains may require differing policies and services. The AEDC data on developmental vulnerability across each of the five domains can therefore be used as an indicator of the wellbeing of children in a given region and used to inform policy and planning to improve health and education outcomes1, 2.


  1. Department of Education and Training; Australian Early Development Census [Internet]. Australian Early Development Census National Report 2015: A snapshot of early childhood development in Australia. Canberra ACT. 2016 [cited 2018 Jun 4]. Available from:
  2. Department of Education and Training; Australian Early Development Census [Internet]. About the AEDC. Canberra ACT. 2018 [cited 16 May 2018]. Available from:
  3. Hertzman C, Power C, Matthews S, Manor O. Using an interactive framework of society and life course to explain self-rated health in early adulthood. Social Science & Medicine, 2001; 53(12):1575-85. Available from:
  4. Davies S, Janus M, Duku E, Gaskin A. Using the Early Development Instrument to examine cognitive and non-cognitive school readiness and elementary student achievement. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2016; 35:63-75. Available from:

Data Source 

Compiled by Telethon Kids Institute based on Australian Early Development Census data


Children 'developmentally vulnerable' or 'at-risk' on selected domain


Children with a valid AEDC score on selected domain

Unit of Measure 

Per cent (%)



Data Confidentiality

# AEDC data are not reported for locations in which three or fewer children had been assessed.

* Suppression of AEDC data occurs when one or more of the following have not been met:
 - Fewer than fifteen children in an area had valid AEDC scores;
 - Fewer than two teachers had completed AEDC instruments for children in that location;
 - AEDC instruments were completed for less than 80% of all non ‘special needs’ children

Additional minor suppressions have occurred where necessary to preserve confidentiality of related suppressed cells.