What is the IGDILab?

Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs) are brief, easy to use measures of early language and literacy designed for use with preschool children (ages three to five). Part of a long line of research at the University of Minnesota (and elsewhere), IGDIs focus on General Outcome Measures— formal, psychometrically rigorous measures of educational and developmental growth. Teachers, parents, and others can use these measures to monitor children’s progress in important areas, identify children who need additional support or interventions, and track the effects of these interventions over time. General Outcome Measures were first developed by Professor Emeritus Stanley L. Deno, and we are honored to continue his work.

In our lab, we research, develop, validate, and apply IGDIs to support data-based decision making by teachers, early childhood professionals, parents, and others to help improve early childhood outcomes. To date, our work includes assessment of English and Spanish language and early literacy development for children three, four, and five years of age. In the future, we plan to expand this research to other languages, domains of development, and new settings, including communities.

IGDILab is led by Drs. Alisha Wackerle-Hollman and Scott McConnell, who have a long-standing commitment to IGDI research. Scott— along with Mary McEvoy and an exceptional group of colleagues and graduate students— began working on General Outcome Measures for preschool children in the early 1990s. Dr. McConnell continues to lead and support this research today. Alisha has deepened and broadened this work, leading contemporary efforts to expand that work to new populations (Spanish and Hmong students) and new modalities (iPad applications).

Dr. Michael Rodriguez has led efforts to integrate contemporary approaches to measurement and assessment into this work and continues to provide technical and programmatic leadership.

IGDILab also draws on the talents of research staff and graduate students from the University of Minnesota and from partners at the Universities of Oregon, Washington and Nebraska, as well as Lehigh University.

Research and other work conducted by IGDILab is supported by grants from the Institute of Education Sciences, as well as contracts with state and local education agencies and royalties from licensing of intellectual property produced by Lab members.

IGDILab’s approach to research

Research, development, outreach, and dissemination at IGDILab reflects a commitment to high-quality, directly useful work. Our mission is simple: We want to conduct community-engaged research, teaching and outreach that supports families and urban communities in raising happy, healthy, and successful children. We work to marry the needs and desires of community partners— parents, teachers, policy makers, and others— with rigorous, carefully-conducted research. This balanced approach produces procedures, practices, materials, and information that can be used to produce meaningful effects in everyday settings. We hope our work, now and in the future, reflects these commitments— and we invite you to contact us with your ideas or feedback.

What will I find here?

This website is dedicated to the IGDI work. Here you’ll find information on our various projects, our staff and collaborators, our students, and our publications as we continue to work to improve opportunities for preschool age children.