The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) is designed to provide decisionmakers, researchers, child care providers, teachers, and parents with nationally representative information about children's early learning experiences and the transition to child care and school. Children's cognitive and physical development, care, and learning experiences at home and school are measured using standardized assessments and interviews with adults in the children's lives from birth through kindergarten entry.
Data were collected from a sample of about 10,700 children born in the United States in 2001, representing a population of approximately 4 million. The children participating in the study came from diverse socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds, with oversamples of Chinese, other Asian and Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, twin, and moderately low and very low birth weight children. Children, their parents (including nonresident and resident fathers), their child care and early education providers, and their teachers provided information on children's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development across multiple settings (e.g., home, child care, and school).
Information about the ECLS-B children was collected when they were approximately 9 months old (2001–02), 2 years old (2003–04), and 4 years old/preschool age (2005–06). Additionally, in the fall of 2006, data were collected from all participating sample children, approximately 75 percent of whom were in kindergarten or higher. In the fall of 2007, data were collected from the approximately 25 percent of participating sample children who had not yet entered kindergarten or higher in the previous collection, as well as children who were repeating kindergarten in the 2007–08 school year.
In every round of data collection, children participated in assessment activities and parent respondents (usually the children's mothers) were asked about themselves, their families, and their children. Resident fathers were asked about themselves and their role in the ECLS-B children's lives in the 9-month, 2-year, and preschool collections. Similar information was collected from nonresident biological fathers in the 9-month and 2-year collections. In addition, beginning when the children were 2 years old, their child care and early education providers were asked to provide information about their own experience and training and their setting's learning environment. At 2 years and preschool, a subsample of children in regular nonparental care and education arrangements had their arrangements observed to obtain information on the quality of those arrangements. When the ECLS-B children were in kindergarten, their teachers were asked to provide information about children's early learning experiences and the school and classroom environments. Also, the before- and after-school care and education providers of children enrolled in kindergarten were asked to provide information about their own experience, their training, and their setting's learning environment. School-level data, taken from other NCES data sets (the Common Core of Data and the Private School Universe Survey), and residential zip codes collected at each wave supported community descriptions.
Further information on the ECLS-B may be obtained from
Early Childhood, International, and Crosscutting Studies Division
Early Childhood and Household Studies Program
National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006