Tracking children's development over time

10 Oct 2011

Using information garnered from the complex study, Growing Up In Australia, children's development across multiple domains such as health, social development and learning is explored and summarised.

Growing Up in Australia is one of the largest and most complex studies of its kind that has ever been undertaken in Australia. Wave 1 data collection was undertaken in 2004, with Wave 2 occurring two years later in 2006, and Wave 3 in 2008. At Wave 1, the study recruited two cohorts of approximately 5,000 children each; more than 90% of these were retained in Wave 2 and 85% in Wave 3. The first of these cohorts (the B or birth cohort) was born between March 2003 and February 2004, and were aged approximately 0–1 years at Wave 1, 2–3 years at Wave 2 and 4–5 years at Wave 3. The second cohort (the K or kindergarten-aged child cohort) was born between March 1999 and February 2000 and was aged 4–5 years at Wave 1, 6–7 years at Wave 2 and 8–9 years at Wave 3.
This paper outlines the development of the Outcome Indices for Waves 2 and 3 of Growing Up In Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC).
LSAC’s extensive data collection provides a large range of measures on many different aspects of children’s functioning, which are needed for answering important questions about child development. The LSAC Outcome Indices are designed to be simple, user-friendly summaries of key child development measures as a tool for communicating otherwise complex research findings for policy-makers, the media, the general public and other data users. The Wave 1 Outcome Indices were published with the initial release of the LSAC data in April 2005. Hence, they have been in the public domain for some time, and have received considerable use and scrutiny. With the release of Waves 2 and 3 data, longitudinal and cross-cohort comparisons of child outcomes are possible. These factors have led to the revision of the Wave 1 Outcome Indices in conjunction with the development of the Wave 2 and 3 Outcome Indices. As such, this paper is intended to describe the construction of the Outcome Indices for Waves 1, 2 and 3 data, as at the time of Wave 3 data release. Except when noted, all analyses presented in this paper use weighted data
Authors: Sebastian Misson, Ann Sanson, Donna Berthelsen, Helen Rogers, Sheldon Rothman, Mark Sipthorp, Melissa Wake and the LSAC Research Consortium.
Image: Abhisek Sarda / flickr

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