MDI National Scale-out Project


HELP’s MDI National Scale-out Project

Building on the success of the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) in BC, HELP is now taking the MDI survey toselected Canadian regions outside BC. The MDI National Scale-out Project is funded by the McConnell and Max Bell Foundations for three years, from 2015 to 2018.

What are the goals of the MDI National Scale-out Project?

Working with partners across Canada, HELP will use the data from the MDI survey for measuring children’s social and emotional health and well-being and to provide schools, communities and governments with data from the children themselves. It is our intent that schools, communities and governments use this data in their planning and decision-making about programs and initiatives for children. An overall goal is that the MDI becomes part of a national system for monitoring children’s well-being. 

What kind of information does the MDI survey gather?

The MDI survey gathers valuable information about how children in their middle childhood years, in Grade 4 and Grade 7, think and feel about their lives. It includes questions related to the five areas of development that are strongly linked to well-being, health and academic achievement. This information can be used in planning at the school and community level to enhance children’s well-being and healthy development.  The MDI survey has been used in this way in BC since 2009, with responses from over 56,000 Grade 4 and Grade 7 students.

The MDI survey is completed by children during one or two class periods. Previous research has found that responses from children in grade 4 and above are as reliable and valid as responses from adults.
Ensuring children’s privacy is a very important aspect of the MDI. For more information about the MDI itself and the ways children’s privacy is protected, see the MDI page.

Where is the MDI Survey being piloted?

Alberta Calgary Catholic School Board 2017
Manitoba Manitoba First Nations School System 2017
Nova Scotia Annapolis Valley Regional School Board 2017
Nova Scotia Chignecto-Central Regional School Board 2015-2018
Ontario Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board 2015-2018
Ontario Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board 2015-2018

As an exciting companion initiative, the MDI is also used with Grade 4 and Grade 7 students in the Northwest Territories this year (2016,2017).

What happens after the survey results are collected?

Engaging the community and sharing MDI results is foundational to the process of National Scale-out. Community engagement involves a process of bringing stakeholders together to examine the MDI reports and discuss implications for their local initiatives.

The Chignecto-Central Regional School Board Truro, NS, has reached out to share results with colleagues in Health, and schools have been working with their own resutlts. In Hamilton, ON, the Catholic Board has asked school principals to report on how MDI results are being used.

Additional Information

For more information about the MDI Scale-out Project, or to answer any questions you may have, please contact us at