The Early Learning Outcomes Measure (ELOM) is an easy to administer South African pre-school child assessment tool. It is rigorously standardised and culturally fair.

The ELOM indicates whether an Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme is effective in preparing children for Grade R, and identifies areas for programmatic improvement.

This innovative tool has been developed for government, funders, programme developers, ECD providers and monitoring and evaluation specialists, who need valid evidence of programme effectiveness.

The  is a population level assessment instrument which can be used as both a programme monitoring and evaluation tool.

It will help monitor early learning programme outcomes, guide programme improvement, and test programme effectiveness. The ELOM provides early learning development standards for each developmental domain assessed. These can be used by programmes to judge their children’s progress. The ELOM also provides socio-economic reference group profiles that enable children to be compared with those from the same background around the country.


I am an organisation looking to assess my ECD programme


I am accredited OR I would like to become an ELOM assessor


I need a reliable measure of children’s performance in ECD programmes


I wish to evaluate child outcomes in the ECD programmes I fund

NB. Please complete the ELOM request form here, if you would like to make use of this tool. The ELOM review committee will review requests on the first Monday of every month.

The  is not…

  1. A tool for assessing the school readiness of individual children.
  2. A psychological test, although it draws on a number of items used in tests of child development.
  3. Designed to assess intelligence or diagnose developmental delay. However, as the ELOM covers a range of developmental domains, it could be used to identify children who are significantly behind the standard expected for their age. They could then be referred for specialist assessment.

Expected  performance standards are benchmarked at the standard  score achieved by the top 40% of children in the age validation sample

The graphic to the right provides examples of how the ELOM assists in showing how much early learning programmes have to improve children’s performance in order to reach the expected standard.

Children at risk (red) are well below the standard (green) and need significant assistance to come up to the standard, while those falling behind (yellow) are closer to the standard (green), and with support they should be able to achieve it.

School quintile group median scores are plotted on the graph for comparison purposes: Quintiles 4 and 5 in large dashes, Quintiles 2 and 3 in short dashes and Quintile 1 in dot dashes.

What the  measures


  • Gross Motor Development
  • Fine Motor Coordination and Visual Motor Integration
  • Emergent Numeracy and Mathematics
  • Cognition and Executive Functioning
  • Emergent Literacy and Language


  • Social and Emotional Development and Awareness
  • Task Orientation
    (persistence, attention and concentration)


  • Self-care
  • Social Relations

    (adults and peers)

  • Emotional Readiness for School