The 2019 Grade R ELOM data uses the ELOM tool to collect data on children who have been exposed to Grade R education. Prior to the development of the ELOM, there was no validated South African instrument for measuring programme performance against Early Learning Development Standards. The ELOM is an age-normed, standardised instrument for use with children in two age groups: 50-59 months and 60-69 months. In 2016, The ELOM was age-validated on a sample that is very likely to be representative of the range of socio-economic backgrounds of South African children and for children speaking different languages.
The ELOM includes both direct assessment of children’s performance as well as an assessment of the child’s social and emotional functioning and orientation to tasks. The ELOM Direct Assessment consists of 23 items measuring indicators of the child’s early development in five domains:
Gross Motor Development
Fine Motor Coordination and Visual Motor Integration
Emergent Numeracy and Mathematics
Cognition and Executive Functioning
Emergent Literacy and Language
The 2016 ELOM data (https://doi.org/10.25828/m8hh-t883) was used to standardise the ELOM tool. The 2019 Grade R ELOM data then uses ELOM score to monitor trends over time in the proportion of children aged 4 to 6 years who are on track for age in key areas of development. In 2019 Grade R ElOM data, the variable "Programme year" represents how long the child has been in the programme (or school).
Kind of Data
Unit of Analysis
V1: Edited, anonymised data for public distribution
The dataset includes data on the child's school: School setting (province, rural/urban, traditional), school quintile, and school name. Data on each child includes the child's age, home language, height, and child performance scores collected using the Early Learning Outcomes Measure (ELOM) tool developed by the researchers.
Early child development
The assessment was undertaken in schools in the Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape and North West Provinces of South Africa.
The lowest level of geographic aggregation in the data is district.
The assessment focused on children between the ages of 49-69 months in the selected schools.
Producers and sponsors
D.G. Murray Trust
First National Bank
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data collection for the project was granted ethics approval by the Ethics Review Committee of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Cape Town on 11 November 2015.
Data Collection Notes
Ideally data should have been collected in January/February 2019, at the start of the Grade R year and before children are exposed to the Grade R curriculum. However, final sign-off from the sponsor was only obtained at the end of February 2019. This delayed the start of the data collection process and children who participated in this study had already been exposed to one full term of Grade R. This is likely to have influenced child outcomes.
Data was collected using the Early Learning Outcomes Measure (ELOM) tool which includes the following components: ELOM Direct Assessment Kit, ELOM Direct Assessment Kit list, ELOM Direct Assessment Manual, ELOM Technical Manual, ELOM Scoring Sheet, Open source online protocol for tablet/phone-based scoring and data capture, ELOM Teacher Assessment of the Child.
A similar set of data was collected by Innovation Edge for the standardisation of ELOM in 2016 (https://doi.org/10.25828/m8hh-t883). However, it is not advised to compare results from this dataset with that of 2016. The 2016 sample has no Grade R exposure. In all cases where we interpret 2019 performance, we must interpret this as the performance of children after receiving approximately 1 to 1.5 terms of Grade R (although recent evidence indicates 11 that only children in Quintiles 4 and 5 schools are benefiting from their Grade R year).
DataFirst Support Site
Public use files, available to all
Innovation Edge. Grade R ELOM Data 2019 [dataset]. Version 1. Cape Town: Innovation Edge [producer], 2020. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25828/xehh-jk85