Measuring Early Learning Quality and Outcomes (MELQO) Measure of Development and Early Learning (MODEL) module is a measurement framework and tool designed to assess school readiness. The MODEL module was developed as part of the MELQO initiative, a collaboration between multilateral organizations and research institutions including UNESCO, the World Bank, the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, and UNICEF with a goal of promoting feasible, adaptable, accurate, and useful measurement of children’s development and learning at the start of primary school. The MODEL module focuses on age-appropriate and culturally-relevant skills and competencies that reflect normative development within three basic domains of early learning and school readiness. It is one of two modules under the MELQO initiative; the other is the Measure of Early Learning Environments (MELE) module, designed to measure the quality of pre-primary learning environments. Together, these tools help assess progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4.2 to improve the quality, feasibility, and accessibility of early childhood education.

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MELQO MODEL Frameworkexecutive functioningsocial-emotional…working memoryinhibitory controlself-regulationsocial cognitionsocial competenceemotional well-being

Breakdown by Domain

Domain Key


Key Features

Context & Culture

  • Notes that the ways in which each domain is manifested may differ across cultures
  • Recognizes the importance of balancing the creation of a global measurement framework and tool suitable for use across multiple countries with local proprieties and goals for child development; emphasizes the importance of cultural adaptation and alignment with national standards
  • Provides key considerations, brief case studies, and concrete steps for integrating and adapting MELQO to the culture, context, and systems of specific countries
  • Designed to be applicable for use in low- and middle-income countries
  • The MODEL module is accompanied by the MELE module, which outlines seven key domains of quality learning environments for both formal and informal learning settings: play, pedagogy, interactions, environment, personnel, parent & community engagement, and inclusiveness

Developmental Perspective

  • Summarizes research highlighting the ways in which development across the three domains is interrelated
  • Notes that “developmentally on-track” may mean different things in different countries, and so the framework and tool are merely designed to track what children can do, not prescribe standards for what they should be able to do
  • Provides basic information about the salience and general developmental trajectory of each domain and construct within the early childhood years
  • No learning progression provided

Associated Outcomes

  • For each domain and most constructs, summarizes research linking them to academic and life outcomes such as school readiness, academic achievement, and wellbeing

Available Resources

Support Materials

  • Provides additional resources for early childhood development measurement, MELQO pilot results, and contextual adaptation strategies online via the ECD Measure website

Programs & Strategies

  • No programs or strategies provided

Measurement Tools

  • The MODEL module is a publicly available measurement framework and system that measures children’s learning and development using two tools: a direct child observation and a parent/teacher survey
  • The accompanying MELE module outlines important dimensions of quality learning environments and sample items that can be adapted for country-specific contexts via director/teacher/caregiver surveys and classroom observations

Key Publications

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