MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI)

The MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI) is a parent-focused instrument measuring the communicative development of children aged 8-37 months. CDI allows professionals to screen and develop prognoses for language delays by tapping into parents’ knowledge of their children’s language skills, starting from early comprehension to early vocabulary and grammar expansion.


Communicative development
< 3 Years
Other Language/s
Afrikaans, Albanian, American Sign Language, Arabic (multiple), Arrernte, Warlpiri, Bengali, Basque, British Sign Language, Bulgarian, Catalan, Cantonese (Hong Kong), Changana, Chichewa/Nyanja, Chiyao, Croatian, Czhech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Faroese, Finnish, French (multiple), Galician, German (multiple), German Sign Language, Greek, (West) Greenlandic, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Inuktitut, Israeli Sign Language, Italian, Italian Sign Language, Jamaican Creole, Japanese, Kannada, Kinyarwanda, Kishwahili/Kigiriama, Klingon, Krio, Korean, Latvian, Malawian, Malayalam, Mandarin (multiple), Mandinka, Ngas, North Sami, North Australian Kriol, Norwegian, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese (multiple), Ronga, Russian, Samoan, Sasak, Serbian, Setswana/Tswana, Shona, Sindhi, Sign Language of the Netherlands, Slovak, Slovenian, South Sotho, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tongan, Turkish, Turkish Sign Language, Urdu, Vietnamese, Wolof, Xhos, Yiddish

Administration Information

20–40 minutes

Access and Use


Prices vary, see the publisher’s website.


CDI publisher (Brookes) customer support: +1-800-638-3775

Open Access
Use in Research

Castellanos, I., Pisoni, D. B., Kronenberger, W. G., & Beer, J. (2016). Early expressive language skills predict long-term neurocognitive outcomes in cochlear implant users: Evidence from the MacArthur–Bates Communicative Development Inventories. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 25(3), 381-392. 

Law, J., & Roy, P. (2008). Parental report of infant language skills: A review of the development and application of the Communicative Development Inventories. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 13(4), 198-206. 

Luyster, R., Lopez, K., & Lord, C. (2007). Characterizing communicative development in children referred for autism spectrum disorders using the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI). Journal of Child Language, 34(3), 623-654.


Computer scoring,
Manual scoring
Psychometric References

Fenson, L., et al. (2006). The MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories User’s Guide and Technical Manual. 2nd Edition. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. learn more here 

Heilmann, J., Weismer, S. E., Evans, J., & Hollar, C. (2005). Utility of the MacArthur—Bates Communicative Development Inventory in identifying language abilities of late-talking and typically developing toddlers. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14(1), 40-51. 

Mayor, J., & Mani, N. (2019). A short version of the MacArthur–Bates Communicative Development Inventories with high validity. Behavior Research Methods, 51(5), 2248-2255.

Psychometric Considerations

Psychometrics is the science of psychological assessment. A primary goal of EdInstruments is to provide information on crucial psychometric topics including Validity and Reliability – essential concepts of evaluation, which indicate how well an instrument measures a construct - as well as additional properties that are worthy of consideration when selecting an instrument of measurement.

 Learn more