Measures of Reading Achievement in the
Measuring the reading skills and knowledge of young children was not easy. An assessment was needed that was appropriate for children ages 4–7 and that reflected what was being taught in kindergarten and 1st grade in 1998–2000 (when the ECLS–K assessments were being administered). To respond to these challenges, the developers of the study created an adaptive assessment that was administered individually to students and was untimed. As described below, the ECLS–K reading assessment covered a range of content areas and included items that measured children's various abilities, such as basic skills, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Absent from the ECLS–K direct reading framework is children's writing. It is not feasible to include a sampling of children's writings given the practical constraints associated with the cost of scoring their samples. The ECLS–K assessment did not include a direct measure of children's oral language.2 Nonetheless, by assessing a variety of reading skills appropriate for both kindergartners and 1st-graders, the study provides powerful information at a single point in time (i.e., estimates upon entry to kindergarten) and over time (i.e., estimates of growth across kindergarten and 1st grade) (for more information, see Rock and Pollack 2002).
2Teachers of the ECLS–K children were asked about children's writing and oral language skills, and oral language was included as a part of the study's direct assessment of language minority children. (back to text)