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Frequently Asked Questions

Questionnaires and Assessments

What information was collected from the teachers and parents of disabled children?

Parents and teachers of children with disabilities were asked the same questions that parents and teachers of children without disabilities were asked. The parent and teacher instruments did contain additional items that asked about the services children with disabilities received. Also, a supplemental questionnaire was administered to the special education teacher of children who had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Copies of the parent and teacher instruments and the special education teacher questionnaires can be downloaded from the Instruments and Assessments page of the ECLS-K website.

Were children with limited English skills excluded from participating in the direct child assessment?

The ECLS-K took special steps to include as many children with limited English skills as possible in the direct child assessments while not assessing them unfairly. In kindergarten and first grade, children from homes where English was not the primary language were first administered the Oral Language Development Scale (OLDS), a subset of tests from the preLAS 2000 (preLAS 2000 assessment of oral language proficiency in young children), to determine if they had sufficient English skills to meaningfully take part in the ECLS-K direct child assessment. In the fall of kindergarten, children whose performance on the OLDS indicated that they could not meaningfully participate in the main ECLS-K cognitive assessment battery (which was administered in English) and whose home language was Spanish were then administered the Spanish preLAS 2000, a translated version of the ECLS-K mathematics assessment, and a Spanish version of the psychomotor assessment in the fall of kindergarten. They also had their height and weight measured. Children whose performance on the OLDS indicated that they had sufficient English language skills to participate in the main ECLS-K battery were administered all of the ECLS-K assessments in English. Children who did not achieve a sufficient score on the OLDS and who spoke a language other than English or Spanish were not administered any cognitive assessments, but they did have their height and weight measured. These same general procedures were used in each round of data collection in kindergarten and first grade.
In the spring of kindergarten, fall of first grade, and spring of first grade, the English language proficiency of children who were not administered the English version of the ECLS-K assessment battery in the prior round was re-evaluated using the OLDS. Once a child passed the OLDS, he or she was administered the assessments in English for all subsequent rounds of data collection; that child’s English language proficiency was not reassessed with the OLDS. The OLDS was not administered in third, fifth, or eighth grade because most of the children in the sample by the spring of the first grade had demonstrated sufficient English proficiency to complete the main ECLS-K cognitive assessments in English.

Did the ECLS-K measure outcomes other than academic achievement?

Yes, the ECLS-K included measures of children's social skills, approaches to learning, and physical well-being. During the fall of kindergarten a psychomotor assessment was administered to gauge children's fine and gross motor skills. The main instrument for measuring children's social development was an adaptation of Gresham and Elliott's Social Skills Rating System (SSRS; its adaptation in the ECLS-K is the Social Rating Scale (SRS)), which was completed by teachers (in kindergarten, first, third, and fifth grades) and parents (in kindergarten and first grade only). The SRS item-level data and questionnaire items are available as restricted-use files (
In the third- and fifth-grade years, children provided information about themselves by completing a short self description questionnaire (SDQ). On the SDQ, children rated their perceptions of their competence and their interest in reading, mathematics, and school in general. They also rated their popularity with peers and competence in peer relationships and reported on any problem behaviors that they might exhibit. The third- and fifth-grade SDQ item-level data and questionnaire items are available publicly at
In eighth grade, a new version of the SDQ was developed using items from a published instrument designed to be used with adolescents (Self Description Questionnaire II; Marsh 1992). In addition, two scales from the eighth-grade student questionnaire, which were adapted from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS:88), tapped students’ self-concept and their perceptions of how much control they had over their own lives. Students completed self-administered paper and pencil questionnaires about their school experiences, their activities, their perceptions of themselves, and their weight, diet, and level of exercise. The students’ self-reported data from the eighth-grade data collection are available on the Kindergarten Through Eighth Grade Full Sample Public-Use Data File.

Does the ECLS-K provide information on children's participation in child care and early education programs?

Yes, the ECLS-K collected data on children's child care and early education program participation prior to kindergarten. It also collected data about children's participation in before- and after-school care and education during kindergarten, first, third, and fifth grades.