Rigorous developmental assessment methods in diverse cultures and contexts are needed to provide a stronger theoretical and evidence base for community and clinical interventions and policies across the globe. However, cognitive and developmental assessment is challenging in contexts where standardized assessments tools do not exist. Inherent bias can be introduced when transferring such assessments from one context to another. Accurate assessment requires both that the method is valid and that the method is implemented correctly. Implementation is challenging in large trials, in which thousands of children must be assessed in rural settings by data collectors who have no prior experience in developmental assessment. We have developed and published systems for test selection, adaptation, and evaluation to ensure the validity of assessment methods in different contexts, as well as systems for training, implementation, and quality control to administer cognitive and developmental assessments at high quality in large-scale trials. We have also developed several new versions of the Developmental Milestones Checklist, which is a tool designed for developmental assessment in low-resource contexts, and is currently being used to evaluate randomized trials in five countries.


Fernald, Lia C. H.; Prado, Elizabeth; Kariger, Patricia; Raikes, Abbie. 2017. A Toolkit for Measuring Early Childhood Development in Low and Middle-Income Countries. World Bank, Washington, DC. [PDF]

Prado, E. L., Phuka, J., Ocansey, E., Maleta, K., Ashorn, P., Ashorn, U., Adu-Afarwuah, S., Oaks, B. M., Lartey, A., Dewey, K. G. (Under Review). Validity of 18-month developmental assessments in Malawi and Ghana. International Journal of Behavioral Development.

Prado, E. L., Abubakar, A. A., Abbeddou, S., Jimenez, E. Y., Some, J. W., & Ouedraogo, J. B. (2014). Extending the Developmental Milestones Checklist for use in a different context in Sub-Saharan Africa. Acta paediatrica, 103(4), 447-454.

Semrud-Clikeman, M., Romero, R. A. A., Prado, E. L., Shapiro, E. G., Bangirana, P., & John, C. C. (2017). Selecting measures for the neurodevelopmental assessment of children in low- and middle-income countries. Child Neuropsychology, 23(7), 761-802.

Prado, E. L., Hartini, S., Rahmawati, A., Ismayani, E., Hidayati, A., Hikmah, N., et al. (2010). Test selection, adaptation, and evaluation: Three critical steps to assess nutritional influences on child development in developing countries. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 31-53.