For the purpose of this report, not only general patterns of school readiness against a
control group were examined, but also even smaller groups with more detailed characteristics
were identified, and their school readiness outcomes in five domains of the EDI examined.
When the results are described, each of the groups is placed in a context based on recent data on
Canadians as provided mostly by Statistics Canada, gathered through Census every five years.
Children with special needs represented 3.8% of the population in the Normative II
database. Boys outnumbered girls. As a rule, children with special needs had consistently low
EDI scores in all domains, and the differences between them and the controls were of large
magnitude. The domain of Communication Skills and General Knowledge showed the largest
magnitude of difference. There were also, however, disparities among groups in relation to the
type of needs: for example, students with visual and hearing impairments, while functioning
below their control group peers, did not fare as poorly as those children having other types of
Children with diverse language background were those whose first language was neither
English nor French. They were further classified into those who were 1) not fluent in the
language of instruction (English or French, depending on the school board’s language) – thus
having only one, non-official language, and classified as Second Language Learners (SLL), and
2) bilingual – those that had English or French as well as another language and were not
classified as English as a Second Language or French as a Second Language Learners. We also
created a language-control group with children who were monolingual in the language of
instruction. Twelve language groupings were identified as numerous enough in the Normative II
database to allow for detailed analyses. Punjabi, Spanish, and Cantonese were the three most
frequent, reflecting the overall Canadian population data. The SLL group of children had
consistently lower outcomes than the bilingual or language-control groups. For some of the
language groups, however, the strong differences were only shown in the language and
Some groups of bilingual children had better outcomes than the language-control group.
The extent of this finding varied in terms of the developmental areas and the magnitude of
difference. The most common pattern was that bilingual children did better than the controls in
the physical development, social and sometimes emotional development, did as well in language,
and tended to do slightly worse in the communication areas.