+ Executive Summary
Organization of the Report
Children begin kindergarten with different sets of knowledge and skills. Children's reading and mathematics knowledge and skills that differ by child, family, and school characteristics at the beginning of kindergarten persist into the spring of kindergarten and the spring of first grade. The findings in this report also suggest the beginnings of differences in children's reading and mathematics performance by their sex. By the spring of first grade, females are more likely to be reading, whereas males are more likely to be proficient at advanced mathematics (i.e., multiplication and division). The longitudinal nature of the ECLS-K will enable researchers to track these differences in terms of children's third and fifth grade reading and mathematics performance.
Children who begin kindergarten with certain resources seem to be at an advantage. Children who demonstrate early literacy skills and who come from a positive literacy environment, who possess a positive approach to learning, and who enjoy very good or excellent general health seem to perform better after 1 and even 2 years of formal schooling than children who do not have these resources. Specifically, these children perform better in spring kindergarten and spring first-grade reading and mathematics.
This third report from the ECLS-K, in conjunction with America's Kindergartners and The Kindergarten Year, provides descriptive information on young children's achievement across kindergarten and first grade. The ECLS-K will continue to follow these children into third and fifth grades. The study will provide researchers not only with an understanding of how children's early literacy, approaches to learning, and general health status at kindergarten entry shape their later achievement but also of how these resources need to be maintained and further developed for continued scholastic success. The valuable information collected through this study will help us better understand the early education and elementary school experience of our nation's children.