The Middle Years Development Instrument: Data Collection
Since 2009, HELP has collected MDI data for over 200,000 children in grades 4 through 8 across Canada. The MDI dataset is the most comprehensive for children in this age group in Canada.
The MDI is administered in schools in January – February.
The questionnaire is completed online during class time. It is administered by an educator (usually a teacher or principal), and takes one to two class periods to complete.
The MDI gives children an opportunity to communicate about their experiences inside and outside of school. Children have a right to be heard and responded to by adults in their schools, homes and communities.
MDI is Voluntary
School administrators, teachers, parents/guardians, and children themselves are all able to choose whether or not to participate in the MDI.
Benefits of the MDI
The MDI reports provide information that is “actionable” to support the well-being of children at school, at home, and in the community.
How are MDI Data Collected?
The MDI is administered in partnership with school systems as part of a research program led by Dr. Eva Oberle. HELP works directly with school leaders and administrators to support the process from data collection, to accessing reports and understanding MDI results. If you are a parent or caregiver with questions about the MDI outside of BC, please reach out to your school board.
If you are an MDI School District Lead and need more information regarding your MDI data collection, go to the MDI Administration Portal.
The MDI is licensed through UBC and can be used for research or monitoring purposes with permission. There is a licensing/administration fee based on the scale and nature of the project that includes the license for the MDI along with support and consultation for MDI implementation. Please contact us for more information or fill in the MDI request form.
MDI Administrative Timeline in BC:
MDI Questionnaire Completion
The MDI questionnaire is administered by an educator or principal to students during class time. The questionnaire is completed online and takes one to two class periods to complete. The data collected are stored in HELP’s secure e-system.
The MDI is Voluntary
Participation in the MDI is voluntary. Once a school district has signed on, schools, teachers, parents and caregivers, and children are able to choose whether or not they participate. If parents or caregivers do not wish their child to participate in the MDI, they return a withdrawal form to their school or they can contact the MDI Implementation team directly.
MDI Uses Informed Passive Consent
The MDI uses informed passive consent to collect data. This means parents and caregivers are fully informed about the MDI project and the use of the data through information letters sent from HELP and the school district before the questionnaire is completed but they do not have to actively complete a consent form. Before administration of the questionnaire, educators read out an assent script to tell children that their participation is voluntary, and they can withdraw at any time before or during the survey.
Informed passive consent allows researchers to gather representative data for large populations – in this case students in Grades 4 through 8 across British Columbia. This is important to ensure the data accurately reflects what is really happening in the lives of children in BC. As this study is considered low risk and provides beneficial community information, this consent model has been approved by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB).
More information on the use of informed passive consent permission protocol for MDI can be found here.
How is Information Collected by the MDI Protected?
To ensure personal information is secure, the Human Early Learning Partnership has strong measures in place and follows all rules, agreements, practices, and legislation for safeguarding data. To learn more about HELP data protection and the Five Safes’ framework for HELP research, please visit our Safeguarding Data page