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Data Collection Procedures

The ECLS-K collected information from children and their parents, teachers, and schools. Data were collected using a variety of methods, including one-on-one assessments, computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI), and self-administered paper and pencil questionnaires.


To collect information from children, trained assessors visited the children in their schools. The direct child assessment, which was un-timed and conducted one-on-one with each child, collected information about children's reading and mathematics skills and knowledge in each round of data collection, their general knowledge (i.e., science and social studies) in kindergarten and first grade, and their science knowledge in third, fifth, and eighth grades. In addition, the assessment included measurements of height and weight and, in fall kindergarten only, children's psychomotor skills (e.g., ability to hop, skip, jump, manipulate blocks, draw figures). In the third, fifth, and eighth grades, children completed questionnaires on various topics including their perceptions of their social and academic competence and skills, their school experiences and activities, and their diet.


To collect information from parents, a trained interviewer phoned the parent at his or her home and conducted a 45-50 minute interview. Computer assisted interviewing methods were used to record the parent's answers. If the child's family did not have a telephone, the interview was conducted in person.

Teachers and Schools

To collect information from teachers and schools, teachers and school administrators completed paper and pencil surveys.

Inclusion and Assessibility

To the greatest extent possible, the ECLS-K included all sampled children and their families in the data collection activities. Materials and procedures were developed to maximize the inclusion of children and families whose primary language was not English and children with special needs. Both the parent interviews and the kindergarten-first grade direct child assessment math battery were translated into Spanish. If parents felt more comfortable participating in a language other than English or Spanish, translators were utilized when available. Questionnaires designed to collect information regarding a child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and receipt of special education services were completed by the special education teachers/service providers of children with disabilities. Only children who required Braille or sign language to complete the direct cognitive assessment, or whose Individualized Education Plan/Individualized Family Service Plan specifically indicated the child should not be assessed, were excluded from the direct child assessments.