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Comparisons to the ECLS-B & ECLS-K

The ECLS-K:2011 is the third in an important series of longitudinal studies of young children sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education that examine child development, school readiness, and early school experiences. The prior studies consist of two cohorts—a kindergarten cohort and a birth cohort. The ECLS-K:2011 shares many of the same goals as its predecessors, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort of 2001 (ECLS-B), but also advances research possibilities by providing updated information and addressing recent changes in education policy.

  • The birth cohort (ECLS-B) followed a national sample of children, born in the year 2001, from birth through kindergarten. The ECLS-B focused on the characteristics of children and their families that influence children’s first experiences with the demands of formal schooling, as well as children’s early health care and in- and out-of-home experiences.
  • The prior kindergarten cohort survey (ECLS-K) followed a nationally representative sample of children attending kindergarten in 1998-99 through eighth grade. The ECLS-K provides information on children’s status at school entry, transition into school, and progression through the eighth grade. The data are used by researchers to study how a wide range of family, school, community, and individual factors are associated with school performance.
  • Like its predecessors, the ECLS-K:2011 will provide a rich and comprehensive source of information on children’s early learning and development, transitions into kindergarten and beyond, and progress through school. The new cohort of ECLS-K:2011 children together with the earlier cohorts will provide the range and breadth of data required to more fully describe and understand children’s early learning, development, and education experiences from the late 1990s through 2016.
  • The ECLS-K:2011 will provide data relevant to emerging policy-related domains not measured fully in previous studies. Coming more than a decade after the inception of the ECLS-K, ECLS-K:2011 will allow cross-cohort comparisons of two nationally-representative kindergarten classes experiencing different policy, educational, and demographic environments. For example, significant changes include the passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, a rise in school choice, and an increase in English language learners.
  • Please note that while the ECLS-K:2011 was designed to allow for cross-cohort comparisons with the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K), the direct child cognitive assessment scores released on the first data file containing data from the kindergarten year only will not be appropriate for cross-cohort comparisons. Child assessment scores designed specifically for comparisons between the ECLS-K and ECLS-K:2011 cohorts are currently in development; they are expected to be released on the longitudinal data file that contains kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade data. (For information on expected release dates, see http://nces.ed.gov/ecls/datainformation2011.asp). It will be appropriate to use data from the first data file release to compare the two cohorts in other ways, for example to look at differences in demographic characteristics or the home, school, and classroom experiences of the two groups.

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