Frequently Asked Questions

Questionnaires and Assessments

What instruments were used to assess children's cognitive development?

Information on children's development was captured directly from the children themselves and indirectly through a parent/primary caregiver interview. Both the direct and indirect child assessments include measures developed specifically for the ECLS-B and measures taken from other well-established and/or standardized assessments.

9-month and 2-years collections
The assessment of cognitive development used at 9 months and 2 years was the Bayley Short Form—Research Edition (BSF-R), an adaptation of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development–II (BSID-II). The BSF-R includes a subset of BSID-II items that can be used to approximate children's performance on the full BSID-II. This assessment captures children’s babbling, vocabulary, active exploration, understanding of repetitive actions, and problem solving skills.

Preschool and kindergarten collections
The early reading and mathematics direct cognitive assessments used in the preschool and kindergarten collections were similar to the assessments used in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K). They incorporated items developed for the ECLS-K, as well as items from the following copyrighted assessments:

Peabody Individual Achievement Test-Revised (PIAT-R)
Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Third Edition (PPVT-III)
PreLAS 2000
Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP)
Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP)
Test de Vocabulario en Imagenes Peabody (TVIP)
Test of Early Mathematics Ability- Third Edition (TEMA-3)
Test of Early Reading Ability - Third Edition (TERA-3)
Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL)
Woodcock-Johnson III and Woodcock-Johnson III-Revised Tests of Achievement

At preschool only, children were asked about their color knowledge using a task developed by the Head Start Impact Study (Color Bears).

In the preschool and kindergarten collections, parents were asked about their children’s skills and knowledge of things like colors, letters, and numbers using items from the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) questionnaires.

Parents also reported on children’s vocabulary using a subset of items taken from the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory (M-CDI) in the 2-year and preschool collections. Additionally, in the preschool collection, parents were asked about children’s conversational language (Leventhal 1999).

Did the ECLS-B measure outcomes other than cognitive development?

Yes, ECLS-B measured children's socioemotional, physical, and psychomotor development. At 9 months, children's socioemotional development (e.g., social skills, emotion regulation) was measured directly using the Nursing Child Assessment Teaching Scale (NCATS) and indirectly through parental reports. At 2 years, children's socioemotional development was measured directly using a semi-structured play activity (the Two Bags Task) and indirectly through parent and provider reports. Additionally, at 2 years attachment quality was assessed using a computerized card sort task, the Toddler Attachment Q-Sort (TAS-45), which was completed by the interviewer after the home visit. At preschool, as at 2 years, children's socioemotional development was measured directly using a semi-structured play activity (the Two Bags Task) and indirectly through parent and provider reports. During the kindergarten waves, children’s socioemotional development was assessed indirectly through parent and teacher/provider reports. Children's length/height, weight, and middle upper arm circumference were measured directly during the home visit at each wave. Head circumference was measured for children who were born with very low birth weight. Children's fine and gross motor skills were assessed using items from the Bayley Short Form - Research Edition at 9-months and 2-years. At preschool and kindergarten, fine motor skills were assessed by asking children to copy a series of forms/shapes drawn by assessors and to build structures using blocks. In these rounds of data collection, gross motor skills were assessed by asking children to jump, balance on one foot, hop on one foot, skip, walk backward along a line, and catch a bean bag.

How do I choose the most appropriate score for analysis of my research question?

There are many direct cognitive, socioemotional, and physical measure scores available on the ECLS-B data files. For guidance in selecting scores, please see Choosing Scores PDF File (472 KB).