Why is this study viable when suggestions for others have been rejected?
The study is based on a well-established monitoring system (PIPS) which was originally developed 20 years ago in the UK.
The PIPS team based at the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) at Durham University, UK, has extensive specialist expertise in both early childhood development and monitoring systems.
PIPS has proven success in collecting valid data on children starting school in different cultural contexts and different languages (including Abu Dhabi, Australia, the UK, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands and South Africa) and is therefore, suitable for adaptation for a sample based comparative international study.
Reliable data concerning children's cognitive development is collected in a 20 minute computer adaptive one-to-one assessment.
Teachers' ratings of children's personal, emotional and social development are a key feature and the questionnaire instrument to collect this information has been developed and tested over more than a decade.
This study will include the collection of basic data on children's physical development and contextual data, to allow efficient analysis of how all these factors interrelate.
This study will include a follow up assessment at the end of children's first year in school, enabling measurements of relative progress to be made.
Technical solutions have been found, to the challenge of providing valid assessments and comparisons of children's development when they start school, while allowing for the range of different school starting ages in different countries.
The experiences of PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS provide additional models to help inform the development of iPIPS.
League tables will not be produced. Rather, each country will get a report which contextualises their results against comparable data. Robust measures will be taken, in the design of the assessments and the presentation of the results, to avoid the study becoming a 'high stakes' procedure for individual schools or teachers, or for the assessments to exert undue influence over the nature and content of pre-school learning programmes.