Closing the Gap

Children thrive in their early years

4
Children thrive in their early years

Outcome

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years.

Target

By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children assessed as developmentally on track in all five domains of the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) to 55 per cent.

Summary on Target

Target: By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children assessed as developmentally on track in all five domains of the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) to 55 per cent.
Domain: Families, children and youth
Outcome: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years.
Numerator: Children in the first year of full-time schooling who were assessed as being developmentally on track in all five domains.
Denominator: Children in the first year of full-time schooling with valid scores in all five domains.
Computation: 100 x (numerator ÷ denominator)
Data source: Australian Early Development Census (AEDC)
Notes:
  • The AEDC is a census-like collection of data on all children in their first year of full-time schooling. It measures the level of child development at that stage, with most children being aged 5 in their first year of full-time schooling. In 2018, data were collected for around 309,000 children, or about 96% of those in their first year of full-time school.
  • The AEDC assesses child development on five domains (or areas): physical health and wellbeing; social competence; emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills; and communication skills and general knowledge.
  • The AEDC uses three assessment categories on each domain: child is developmentally ‘on track’, ‘at risk’ or ‘vulnerable’. A series of cut-off scores were established in 2009 (when the AEDC was first completed nationally) to define these three categories for each of the five domains. Children falling below the 10th percentile were considered developmentally ‘vulnerable’, children falling between the 10th and 25th percentile were considered developmentally ‘at risk’, and all other children were considered to be ‘on track’. The cut-off scores set in 2009 provide a reference point against which later AEDC results can be compared. These cut-off scores have remained the same across all four collection cycles.
  • See the AEDC website for further information.

Prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Baseline data

Baseline data for the target measure is presented below at a national level, and for each state and territory where available. This will show starting points for each target, by jurisdiction.

Table 4.1: School readiness, proportion of children on track on all five domains of the AEDC, 2009–2018(a)(b)(c)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander %
Year New South
Wales
Victoria Queensland South Australia Western Australia Tasmania Northern Territory Australian
Capital
Territory
Australia
2009 33 32 22 27 21 37 13 41 25
2012 37 34 32 25 27 39 19 32 32
2015 40 35 32 30 30 44 18 31 34
2018 42 35 33 29 31 37 18 26 35
Non-Indigenous %
Year New South
Wales
Victoria Queensland South Australia Western Australia Tasmania Northern Territory Australian
Capital
Territory
Australia
2009 56 56 42 52 48 53 51 51 52
2012 57 57 49 52 52 55 54 51 54
2015 57 58 51 53 57 57 54 50 55
2018 58 58 52 54 60 56 55 50 57

Source

NIAA calculations, based on AEDC data

Notes

  1. Measure is OT5: the percentage of children not on track on all five domains includes children developmentally vulnerable, at risk or missing a domain score due to the teacher not being able to answer at least 75% of items in any domain.
  2. Cut-off Scores - for each domain, scores for each individual are allocated to one of three categories, ‘developmentally vulnerable’, ‘developmentally at risk’, developmentally on track’ based on cut-off scores that were established in 2009:
Domain category Calculation of children in each category based on cut off scores from 2009
Developmentally on track children who scored above the 25th percentile (top 75 per cent) of the national population
Developmentally at risk children who scored between the 10th and 25th percentile of the national population
Developmentally vulnerable children scored below the 10th percentile (lowest 10 per cent) of the national population
  1. The cut-off scores set in 2009 will remain the same for future cycles and provide a reference point against which later AEDC results can be compared.

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National Target Trajectory

The national target trajectories presented below reflect the possible rate of progress over the next decade to achieve the target. In practice, the rate of progress is unlikely to be the same from year to year.

The target trajectory can be compared with the two related trajectories: the projected rates of progress for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians based on the assumption the historic rate of change will continue into the future.

Prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Source

AIHW analysis of data from Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) collections. AEDC data tabulations on this measure (percentage of children developmentally on track on all fve domains) were provided to the AIHW by the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

Summary Table On Trajectory Chart

Line label Line Method/assumptions Annual change (percentage points) 2031 rate (%)
Historical trend: Non-Indigenous rate

Dark blue solid
Dark blue solid

Percentage of non-Indigenous children developmentally on track in all 5 domains, 4 data points (2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018). 0.5 n/a
Continuation of historical trend: non-Indigenous

Dark blue dashed
Dark blue dashed

Straight line projection based on linear regression of historical data for non-Indigenous children (using 4 data points)(a). 0.5
 
63.8
Historical trend: Indigenous rate

Light blue solid
Light blue solid

Percentage of Indigenous children developmentally on track in all 5 domains, 4 data points (2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018). 1.1 n/a
Continuation of historical trend: Indigenous

Light blue dashed
Light blue dashed

Straight line projection based on linear regression of historical data for Indigenous children (using 4 data points)(a). 1.1 50.2
Target trajectory

Orange dashed
Orange dashed

Straight line projection from 2018 value to the target rate in 2031. 1.5 55

= not applicable.

  1. Based on a linear regression of historical data. As such, the projection captures drivers of historical growth rates such as population growth or government funding. Doing projections in this manner assumes that the drivers of growth will not vary greatly into the future.

Prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Source

AIHW analysis of data from Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) collections. AEDC data tabulations on this measure were provided to the AIHW by the National Indigenous Australians Agency.