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 provides 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 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.
- Coming more than a decade after the inception of the ECLS-K, the ECLS-K:2011 allows for cross-cohort comparisons of two nationally representative kindergarten classes experiencing different policy, educational, and demographic environments. For example, significant changes that occurred between the start of the ECLS-K and the start of the ECLS-K:2011 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 available on these files are not directly
comparable to scores from the ECLS-K. Child assessment scores designed specifically
for comparisons between the ECLS-K and ECLS-K:2011 cohorts are currently in development,
with an anticipated release date to be determined. It is appropriate to use data
from the current 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.