What is Developmental Quotient (DQ)?

Developmental psychologist Arnold Gesell developed Developmental Quotient (DQ). It is the earliest measure of infant development.

DQ is used for distinguish normally developing and atypically developing babies (Gesell, 1946). Gesell based his scale on examinations of hundreds of babies. He compared their performance at different ages to learn what behaviors were most common at a particular age. If an infant varied significantly from the norms of a given age, he or she was considered to be developmentally delayed or advanced.

The Developmental Quotient (DQ) is an overall developmental score that relates to performance in four domains:

  1. Motor skills – E.g.  balance and sitting
  2. Language use
  3. Adaptive behavior -Eg. alertness and exploration
  4. Personal- social – E.g. adequately feeding and dressing oneself

Gesell’s Infancy and Human Growth (1928), presented a developmental schedule based on 195 items of behaviour to evaluate infants of ages between 3 and 30 months. In 1938 Gesell and Helen Thompson produced a revised developmental schedule for evaluating infants as early as four weeks after birth. Gesell’s first book andone  of the most comprehensive of his many works is An Atlas of Infant Behavior (1934); other influential works include Child Development: An Introduction to the Study of Human Growth (1949), with Frances L. Ilg; The Child from Five to Ten (1946); and Youth: 

How to calculate The Developmental Quotient (DQ)

The simplest procedure to calculate an overall general DQ is to divide the subject’s summated developmental age (DA) across domains by the chronological age (CA) and multiply by 100

DQ = (DA/CA) × 100.

The Developmental Quotient (DQ) frequently used with infants or preschool children. It is a numerical indicator of a child’s growth to maturity across a range of psychosocial competencies.



Feldman, R. S., & Babu, N. (2011). Discovering the Life Span. Indian subcontinent adaptation, New Delhi: Dorling Kindersley India pvt ltd.

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