Cross Cultural Child Development


Assessing Core Competencies: International Data on Child Development

Disparities in children’s health and education outcomes across cultures have been well documented, yet no adequate data are available that let us directly assess and compare children’s cognitive, social- emotional, and linguistic
development. The Learning Lab is part of an international research team attempting to develop internationally appropriate measures of children’s core competencies-- essential developmental skills that may manifest in particular culturally embedded ways. Core competencies being measured include basic cognitive and linguistic capacities such as the ability to think, ask questions, group objects, switch and control attention purposefully, learn and use vocabulary, express and recognize feelings, execute gross and fine motor skills and engage in healthy behaviors. While these abilities are fostered through a variety of culturally specific activities, their development is crucial to higher order thinking across cultures.

Recent Studies:

Our recent work draws attention to the need for new tools that will enable the collection of regionally comparable data across diverse cultural and socioeconomic countries in Latin America. We are partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank in Bolivia as part of the Programa Regional de Indicadores de Desarrollo Infantil (PRIDI), a project to develop and test the Engle Scale of Child Development across four countries in Latin America. Preliminary results from PRIDI’s assessments of children between 24 and 59 months suggest that other common assessment tools may underestimate the knowledge and capabilities of children living in national minority populations. In collaboration with PRIDI, the Learning Lab is working to identify core competencies and to adapt assessments to better capture children’s diverse skills and abilities.

For access to the Engle Scale of Child Development please contact the Learning Lab at

Research Funded By :

The Inter-American Development Bank