EPSI Update

Based on a recent analysis of a large sample of children, we have made changes to the way that a child’s Total EPSI score is calculated, and their expected benchmark scores. Here is a summary of the changes, but please read further for more details about specific updates.

  • The most obvious change is that all benchmarks (EPSI Total and all key skill elements) now start at six months rather than 14 months.
  • The new benchmark scores (the red line that shows children’s expected growth on the EPSI) are based on a sample of 2,728 children and 5,616 EPSI observations across the U.S. This is much larger than the prior sample and more accurately reflects expected performance on total problem solving and each of the EPSI’s key skill elements.
  • Each child’s EPSI Total score that is included on your children’s graphs now includes Looks and Explores, and it gives additional ‘weight’ to more advanced problem solving skills (Functions and Solutions).

We’ve also prepared a side-by-side comparison of the new benchmarks and the old benchmarks.

Why are my child’s EPSI Total Scores different?

You will likely notice that your children’s EPSI Total scores are higher than they used to be. This is because the calculation for the EPSI Total Score now includes both Looks and Explores, whereas the before, this score only included a child’s Functions and Solutions. Because the benchmark scores now extend to six months of age, it is important to consider Looks and Explores in the total score, which typically emerge much earlier than the more advanced skills of Functions and Solutions. Similar to the ECI’s Weighted Total Communication score, the EPSI Weighted Total score is calculated by assigning a ‘1’ to each Look and Explore, a ‘2’ for each Function, and a ‘3’ for each Solution.

Do I need to administer or score differently?

No, EPSI scoring and administration has not changed. Continue to administer, score, and enter data as you have in the past. The online data system will calculate your Weighted Total EPSI score for you. If you have not administered the EPSI with children 6-13 months because of a lack of benchmark scores, these benchmarks are now available, so we encourage providers to begin assessing at these earlier ages.

Why are the EPSI benchmarks different?

You may notice that the EPSI benchmark scores have changed. There are three reasons for this: 1) The EPSI Total benchmarks now include Explores and Looks, 2) Functions and Solutions are now weighted in the EPSI Total benchmarks, and 3) The benchmarks are based on a much larger and more diverse sample of children. As described above, the prior benchmarks did not include Explores and Looks because they started at 14 months of age. Since these new, more comprehensive, benchmarks begin at 6 months, it is more important to include these earlier key skill elements when considering a child’s expected performance. Because the EPSI Total now includes these earlier key skills, the benchmarks ‘weight’ performance on the more advanced skills in order to give children more credit for demonstrating Functions and Solutions with the toys. Finally, these new benchmarks are derived from the scores of a diverse sample of 2,728 children from around the country.

How does this affect program reports?

Similar to the individual child reports, the program report graphs also show the updated benchmarks. These benchmarks are the same as those described above.

What if I have more questions?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further questions about this update in general, or even if you have questions about a specific child. The best way to reach us is through our Contact Us form.