Playgroups outcomes measurement matrix

child drawing with chalk on footpath

This resource has been designed to assist playgroups and playgroup providers with choosing valid and reliable tools to measure core playgroup outcomes. It is hoped that by providing a number of outcomes measurement tools that can be used consistently across jurisdictions and organisations when evaluating different types of playgroups, the evidence base for the effectiveness of playgroups can be built upon and strengthened.

The list of tools, although not exhaustive, includes those that are commonly used within the service sector and are largely freely available.  These tools are designed to be used in conjunction with other sources of data regarding your playgroup (e.g., your evaluation may also include process measures, such as data on numbers of families attending, regularity of attendance and length of time in the playgroup in order to evaluate if these elements play a role in the effectiveness of your playgroup).

How to use the matrix

This matrix sets out several core child, parent and social/community outcomes that may occur as a result of a good quality playgroup, along with a selection of corresponding measurement instruments. You can access information about how to administer and source your preferred instrument via the links below the tables. Definitions of the specific outcomes are also provided.

The matrix can be used by playgroups and playgroup providers to find outcomes measures that are both valid and appropriate for the context of the program, i.e. target group, program type, method of delivery etc. For instance, if you want to know whether your program has resulted in increased social support the matrix provides you with five instrument options (ISEL, PRQ85, SSQ6, SPS and ISSB) to explore further.

Please note that the matrix doesn’t provide an exhaustive list of available tools and you will need to thoroughly assess any particular tool prior to using it and choose the tool that is right for the participants of your playgroup.  Explanatory details about the instruments are provided in the matrix and you can always contact the developer of the tool to discuss your requirements.

For further guidance on evaluating your playgroup please see the Playgroup evaluation guide.

Child-related outcomes

Child outcome Examples of
short-term
child outcomes*
ASQ
($)
ASQ-
TRAK ($)
ECQB MPAC SCBE
($)
SDQ* BECS ($) PEDS PIPPS
Improved early childhood development 3,4 x x      x    x x  
Improved social and emotional wellbeing 3,4        x  x  x x    
Increased social skills 3,4        x  x  x      x
Improved peer relationships 3,4        x    x      x
Reduced behavioural problems 3,4            x      
Improved child temperament 3,4      x            

*Key

Short term outcomes

Definitions of child-related outcomes

Parent-related outcomes

Parent outcome Examples of 
short-term 
parent outcomes*
PEEM FAM-
III
($)
FACES-
IV
($)
FAD-
GF
FES
($)
PSAM GEM PWI- 
A*
KPCS PS FIQ ($) ISEL PRQ85 SSQ6 SPS ISSB
Improved family functioning 1,2,3,4   x x x x                      
Improved parent-
child relationship
1,2,3,4   x        x                    
Increased parental confidence and capacity 1,2 x          x      x              
Improved personal wellbeing 1,5,4,6              x  x                
Increased parental involvement in education 1,2                      x          
Improved social support 5                 x     x  x  x  x  x
Improved responses to child's behaviour 2            x        x            

*Key

Further information about the measurement instruments

Definitions of parent-related outcomes

Community outcomes 

Child outcome Examples of 
short-term 
community
outcomes*
FES
($)
PWI-A
Increased social participation  5 x  
Improved community connectedness  5    x

*Key

$ This tool must be purchased

* There is a matrix available to translate this into SCORE 

Short-term outcomes

  1. Carers increase skills, knowledge and confidence to provide developmentally appropriate play activities for their child
  2. Carers increase knowledge of child development (supported)
  3. Children have increased access to developmentally appropriate play activities
  4. Children increase social interaction and developmentally appropriate play with carers, other children and adults
  5. Carers increase their social and support networks
  6. Carers increase knowledge of support services and community activities (Supported)/ carers increase knowledge of informal social and support networks (Community)

Need some help?

CFCA offers a free research and information helpdesk for child, family and community welfare practitioners, service providers, researchers and policy makers through the CFCA News.

Subscribe