MDI Parent & Guardian Resources

Parent & Guardian Letters

Letters are sent to all parents of participating classes prior to the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) questionnaire being completed usually in November of each year. They include information about the MDI project and contact information in case the parents have any questions. In addition, our Parent Information Sheet outlines key information about the MDI including information about why the middle years matter.

Below, please find the Parent and Guardian Letters for BC. Our National sites (Northwest Territories; Hamilton, Ontario; Nova Scotia) use slightly different letters. Parent and Guardian letters are available in twelve languages:


MDI Grade 4 Questionnaire (PDF)                       MDI Grade 7 Questionnaire (PDF)

The MDI is voluntary

The MDI research study is voluntary. Once a school board has chosen to sign on, the schools, teachers, parents/guardians, and children are able to choose whether or not they participate. If a parent or guardian does not wish his or her child to be involved in completing the survey, they simply need to inform the school.

In addition, children themselves also have the right to choose not to participate. Students can skip any question, and students can withdraw from the survey before, during or after the survey. Students can withdraw during the survey by clicking the “withdraw from this survey” button on the bottom of every page of the survey. 

The MDI is done with parent consent

Consistent with UBC research ethics board guidelines, the MDI collection process uses passive consent.  Passive consent is common in population health studies because it is not often feasible to get the active consent of a large population. With passive consent, parents and students are fully informed of the nature of the project and the use of the data but are not required to actively complete a consent form.  HELP provides detailed introduction letters to all parents in twelve languages.  Any parent who does not want their child involved in the research can notify their teacher within four weeks of receiving the letter.  Their child will immediately be withdrawn from the study.

Personal Information  

The MDI questionnaire uses a child's date of birth and postal code as an identifier. This ensures that records are not duplicated for an individual student. Personal Education Numbers are used as a unique identifier to allow MDI data to be linked with other administrative data sets.  Linking the MDI data to other databases such as the EDI provides insights into groups of children's health and answers important research questions. Postal codes are collected to facilitate neighbourhood level mapping of the results. To see an example of a map and to understand how MDI results are shared, please visit the Maps and Data page.

Safeguarding MDI Data

Safeguarding data is a responsibility HELP takes very seriously. Please visit our Safeguarding Personal Information page to learn more about how HELP safeguards research data and protects the confidentiality and privacy of individuals.

A population-level research tool

Although individual children complete the MDI questionnaire, the results are not used to assess individual children, nor are they used to rank teachers, neighbourhoods, schools or school districts in any way. The MDI is a population-level research tool. As such, it measures trends for populations of children at a neighbourhood level.

Introduction to the MDI - Video


MDI Fact Sheet

The MDI Research Brief (PDF)