The study's first restricted-use data file release is anticipated in early 2026; the study's first public-use data file release is anticipated in summer 2026. The first files will contain data from the kindergarten rounds.
National study data collections will be informed by a series of field tests.
In 2020, the ECLS-K:2024 tested the design, procedures, and instruments for possible inclusion of a national spring preschool round. A sample of schools educating students of kindergarten age were selected. Within sampled school catchment areas, address-based sampling (ABS) was used to select a sample of residential addresses to screen for the presence of young children in the household. Approximately 28,000 households were screened in spring 2020 to identify children who planned to attend kindergarten (or a kindergarten equivalent) in fall 2020. Mailings directed respondents to web screeners and, for those households with children of preschool age, parent surveys. Screeners and parent surveys were also available in paper format for households that did not complete them online. Approximately 300 parents completed the full spring parent survey. In fall 2020, a follow-up data collection was conducted with those parents to determine whether the children matriculated into kindergarten as planned and, if so, which schools they attended.
In fall of 2022, a small, trial run of the ECLS-K:2024 will be conducted to make sure the study activities work as planned and to test the national study’s kindergarten and first-grade instruments. Fifty schools will be sampled from five geographic sites and asked to participate in the K-1 FT. Within each geographic area, the samples will represent different urbanicity levels and will include public and private schools. In each of the schools, eligible kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade students and their school administrators, teachers, and parents will be selected to participate. The student sample will be used to develop assessments for the kindergarten and first-grade national ECLS-K:2024 data collections. The school administrators, teachers, and parents will provide the information on the national study’s survey instruments.
In spring of 2026, the third- and fifth-grade instruments will be tested in the 3-5 FT. Fifty schools will be sampled. Within each school, students will be selected from third-grade, fourth-grade, and fifth-grade classes to develop assessments for the third- and fifth-grade national ECLS-K:2024 rounds. Like the K-1 FT, students’ teachers, school administrators, and parents will also participate to test the teacher, school administrator, and parent surveys, respectively, for the included study rounds.