The Global Scales for Early Development (GSED) provides a standardized method for measuring development of children up to 36 months of age at population and programmatic level globally. The GSED measures (Short Form and Long Form) capture child development holistically through a common unit, the Developmental score (D-score). The package includes comprehensive materials to support implementation and a technical report that summarizes the creation process of the GSED, the validation methodology and psychometric properties.


  • The D-score is a unit of measurement with an interval scale representing child development by a single number (12,13). The D-score is calculated from Yes/No responses on a set of age-appropriate developmental items (e.g. “Can the child stack two blocks”, or “Does the child use two-word sentences?”).
  • The GSED measures capture the underlying construct of child development which includes the motor, language, cognitive and socio-emotional domains. The measures comprise a caregiver report Short Form and a direct administration Long Form.
  • The D-score approach may be used to harmonize measurements across ages and instruments. Scores from multiple instruments can be translated into D-scores and compared to scores from a different instrument.

How to Use

If used effectively, GSED data can impact lives of children, especially those most vulnerable, by informing prioritization of the most effective child development interventions. Data from the GSED will be useful for policy-makers and governments in deciding priorities for funding. Global organizations will be able to use the data for cross-country comparisons and trend analyses. The GSED measures are expected to provide countries with an indication of how the youngest children are developing and become a motivation to invest in and promote healthy development.