Syria International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA): Baseline report (September 19, 2018)


This report was prepared for Chemonics International Inc. by Dr. Brenda Sinclair and Dr. Michel Rosseau with contributions from Michele Bradford, Selma Talha-Jebril, and Partner L.

Executive Summary

The Syria International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) baseline study set out to assess the levels of early learning and socio-emotional competencies among children 3.5 to 6 years old. The study took place in two Injaz-funded child centers that serve the target age group: Partner C/Location 1, located in an internally displaced persons’ camp, and Partner I. These centers provide psychosocial programming and remedial education to internally displaced children in Raqqa Governorate in northeast Syria. We collected the data in partnership with Save the Children using its IDELA tool, which has been used in more than 45 countries. We made no adaptations to the tool since it has been used in similar contexts.

Given that IDELA targets preschool-aged children (3.5 to 6 years old) and most children in Raqqa do not attend preschool, it was difficult to find a large population of students. While we initially identified 28 young children in two child centers for the IDELA baseline assessment, we found only 16 who were present and able to participate. Since IDELA is not designed to accommodate students with disabilities, six students with war-related disabilities at Partner I were unable to participate. Other students did not participate because their parents did not provide consent, which may have been due to lack of understanding, security risks, or other cultural concerns.

The IDELA instrument covers four developmental domains: Motor Development, Emergent Literacy, Emergent Numeracy, and Socio-Emotional Development. These domains include 22 subtasks. IDELA also includes optional questions related to executive function (short-term memory and inhibitory control) and approaches to learning (persistence, motivation, and engagement). We analyzed data for the entire sample to generate mean scores for each domain and subtask.

The results of the IDELA study will be used to develop age-appropriate and context-relevant learning interventions for children in the two child centers we assessed, and may inform activities for other centers in Raqqa Governorate.