MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories User's Guide and Technical Manual, Third Edition
Communication and Language

Essential for effective use of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (CDIs), Third Edition, this in-depth User's Guide and Technical Manual walks professionals through the development, administration, and scoring of the inventories.

Contains Companion Materials
57075 978-1-68125-707-5
Available Stock

The MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (CDIs) are one of the most widely used and recommended measures of language and communication for young children. This User’s Guide and Technical Manual provides professionals with a thorough introduction to the standardized, parent-completed report forms designed by top language researchers. This easy-to-read manual offers complete instructions for administration and scoring, technical reports, norms, and guidance on interpreting scores for various subpopulations.


Used in both research and clinical settings, these parent report instruments help SLPs and other professionals screen children, develop a prognosis for children with language delays, plan effective intervention, monitor progress, and meet mandates for including parent input in child evaluation. The CDIs include measures for three age ranges:

  • Words and Gestures form (ages 8 to 18 months). With this comprehensive instrument, parents document the child’s understanding of hundreds of early vocabulary items, and the form yields separate indexes of words understood and words produced. Then, parents record communicative and symbolic gestures the child has tried or completed.
  • Words and Sentences form (ages 16 to 30 months). Parents use this comprehensive instrument to document the child’s production of hundreds of words, record the child’s use of early forms of grammar, and provide written examples of the child’s three longest utterances.
  • CDI-III(ages 30 to 37 months). This shorter, single-sheet tool measures expressive vocabulary and grammar.


The third edition of the CDIs includes updated norms, additional tools, and more administration formats and helpful resources. Here’s a look at what’s new:

  • Expanded and more representative norms—more than 4,000 new children have been added to the norming dataset for the CDI: Words and Gestures and CDI: Words and Sentences. Norming tables have been statistically adjusted to reflect key U.S. demographic indicators.
  • More options for electronic administration of the CDIs, including fillable PDFs and a new web-based administration platform, Web-CDI
  • New picture-based instructions with easy-to-understand illustrations and examples
  • More extensive administration and scoring guidelines
  • More on using the CDIs with bilingual and multilingual children
  • An expanded chapter on the CDI-III
  • Detailed guidelines about choosing the most appropriate CDI forms when several are potentially useful
  • Expanded guidelines on the use of CDI short forms, including new statistically-adjusted norms and information on reliability and validity
  • More CDI resources available online, including Wordbank, an open repository of CDI data in 38 languages representing more than 84,000 children
  • A rapid, valid Computerized Adaptive scale for expressive vocabulary, now available through Web-CDI
  • A helpful list of frequently asked questions

Chapter 1: The Communicative Development Inventories: Assessing Children’s Communicative Skills via Parent Report

Chapter 2: Administration, Scoring, and Interpretation

Chapter 3: Development and Psychometric Properties of the Inventories

Chapter 4: Clinical and Research Applications of the Inventories

Chapter 5: Use of The Communicative Development Inventories With Bilingual Children

Chapter 6: Short Form Versions of The Macarthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories

Chapter 7: The CDI-III

Chapter 8: Online Computerized Adaptive Tests of Children’s Vocabulary (CDI-CAT)

Chapter 9: Frequently Asked Questions

Appendix A: Percentile Tables and Figures for the CDI: Words and Gestures and CDI: Words and Sentences (previously Chapter 5)

Appendix B: Percentile Tables and Figures For The CDI Short Forms

Appendix C: Percentile Tables and Figures For The CDI-III

Appendix D: Background Information Form

Appendix E: Child Report Forms

Appendix F: Picture-Based Instructions


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