Hand holding tablet with piechart and bargraphs on it, and compared it against tables printed out on paper

Middle Years Development Instrument

Under our Multi-Year Strategic Plan, we made a commitment to “Continue to use evidence-based well-being strategies and resources to create and sustain mentally healthy classrooms and schools for students that focus on the development of the whole person.”

One effective method to achieve this is by implementing an enhanced data strategy that relies on trustworthy and comprehensive data to make informed decisions regarding the well-being of students. This begins by asking the right questions and using the right instruments.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) is proud to launch the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI). During February and March 2024, students in grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 will be invited to participate in a survey that focuses on understanding student well-being. This data will help us to understand the connection between well-being and academic success in terms of helping us provide optimal services and programs for students.

What is the Middle Years Instrument (MDI)?

The MDI is a scientifically proven survey tool that includes questions about children’s and young adolescents’ physical, spiritual, social and emotional development, school experiences, connectedness to their peers and communities. This licensed tool was developed by the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) at the University of British Columbia. The MDI is used in school boards in both Ontario and British Columbia in Canada as well as in schools in Australia. The MDI will be administered during class time under teacher supervision and will take approximately 45-90 minutes to complete.

Like all TCDSB surveys, students can choose to participate in the MDI survey as it is voluntary and confidential. Students can skip questions or stop the survey at any time without being required to answer any questions.

A parent/guardian letter will be sent home with students the week of January 29, 2024. A copy of this letter and translations can be found under “Important Links and Documents”. If you do not want your child to participate in the MDI data collection, you have two options:

  1. Contact your child’s teacher and let them know you’d like your child to be withdrawn from the survey, or

  2. Email the Research and Analytics department at researchdepartment.info@tcdsb.org and let the research team know you would not like your child to participate.

If your child chooses not to participate, or you would like them not to participate, they will have the opportunity to work on another activity. 

Questions About Data

The data collected will inform our decision-making on academic outcomes, programming, resource allocations, and help us examine trends over time. Each school will be provided an analysis report (that data is only analyzed and communicated at the group level, i.e., by grade). The Research and Analytics Department will prepare a board-wide analysis to look at group-level trends and connect the data to academic outcomes. The school level reports can be shared with the school community including the Catholic School Parent Councils.

The MDI data will be stored in a secure TCDSB Research and Analytics server. No one outside the Research and Analytics department can access the data.

Important Links and Documents