The ELOM Short Form Targeting Tool (ELOM TT) was designed for the purpose of quickly identifying children within a programme that need additional support. It is a five item version of the ELOM that can be administered in about 15 minutes, and may be used to identify children aged 50-69 months who are in particular need of early learning support.  Using the full ELOM Direct Assessment, these children have ELOM Total scores that place them at risk of not being able to reach the expected standard on the ELOM. Their scores fall below the 32nd percentile of the standard score distribution.

It is important to note that the ELOM TT is NOT intended to identify children with intellectual or other forms of disability.  And the term “at risk” should NOT be understood as implying that the child has, or is at risk for, a disability. However, some children whose scores fall into this band would likely have a disability.  If this is indicated by experience in the early learning programme daily setting or raised by a caregiver, the child would need to be assessed on an appropriate disability screening tool, and if indicated, referred to an expert in developmental assessment.

Method for developing the ELOM Short Form Targeting Tool

The 2016 ELOM standardisation database available for public use at Data First was used in analyses undertaken to create the ELOM TT. The objective was to construct a Targeting Tool with one item drawn from each ELOM Domain that would be applicable to all children 50-69 months.  ELOM items most strongly associated with being at risk of not being able to reach the expected standard were used to construct the ELOM TT. Items and their ability to reliably detect children in the At Risk band on the ELOM were identified by a three step process:

  1. Selection of the five items for the ELOM Short Form Targeting Tool.
  2. Testing the sensitivity and specificity of the proposed Targeting Tool items in distinguishing children in the ELOM At Risk band from those that are not.
  3. Choosing cut-off scores. The cut-off score on the ELOM TT Total Score is that below which children in each age group should be considered for targeting.

The chosen cut-off scores for the Targeting Tool as seen in Table 1 are sensitive enough to detect a child at risk of not being able to reach the expected standard with at least 80% accuracy (a true positive rate of 80%).  Children with total scores on the 5 items that fall below these cut-offs should be considered for targeting.

Age Group ELOM TT Cut-off scores
50-59 Months 3.70
60-69 Months 7.12



In conclusion, the ELOM TT is able to identify children who would fall in the At Risk band if they were tested on the full ELOM. Where there is a concern about possible intellectual or other disability, the child should be referred for assessment by an appropriate specialist.

Administering the ELOM Targeting Tool

  1. Contact Innovation Edge here and outline your plans to use the ELOM TT. Innovation Edge will then be able to share details and backend information required by the SurveyCTO data collection app.
  2. Ensure the ELOM accredited assessor is familiar with the administration of the limited set of five items required for this tool.