The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011) is sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, the study benefits from its partnership with and sponsorship by several additional federal agencies. The study is also endorsed by many professional organizations in the area of education.
The children in the ECLS-K:2011 comprise a nationally representative sample selected from both public and private schools attending both full-day and part-day kindergarten in 2010-11. The children came from diverse socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds, and the sample includes both children in kindergarten for the first time and kindergarten repeaters. Also participating in the study were the children's parents, teachers, schools, and before- and after-school care providers. The ECLS-K:2011 is a voluntary study; no one selected for the study was required to respond to the questionnaires or to participate in the assessments. The information participants chose to provide was and will be kept private. All responses that relate to or describe identifiable characteristics of individuals are used only for statistical purposes and may not be disclosed, or used, in identifiable form for any other purpose, unless compelled by law.
Children, their families, teachers, schools, and care providers provided information on children's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development. Information was also collected on children's home environment, home educational activities, school environment, classroom environment, classroom curriculum, teacher qualifications, and before- and after-school care.
The ECLS-K:2011 is a longitudinal study, with the same children followed from kindergarten through the fifth grade. Information was collected in the fall and the spring of kindergarten (2010-11), the fall and spring of first grade (2011-12), the fall and spring of second grade (2012-13), the spring of third grade (2014), the spring of fourth grade (2015), and the spring of fifth grade (2016). Note that although the study refers to later rounds of data collection by the grade the majority of children were expected to be in (that is, the modal grade for children who were in kindergarten in the 2010–11 school year), children were included in subsequent data collections regardless of their grade level. Field tests, pilot tests, and cognitive interviews were conducted at various points in the life of the study to develop psychometrically sound cognitive assessments and to gather information from teachers, school administrators, and parents to inform the development of new survey items.
The ECLS-K:2011 includes a nationally representative sample of children. Information was collected from children, their families, their teachers, their schools, and their before- and after-school care providers across the United States.
The ECLS-K:2011 is designed to provide comprehensive and reliable data that can be used to describe and to better understand children's development and experiences in the elementary grades, and how children's early experiences relate to their later development, learning, and experiences in school. The data collected over the years allow researchers, policymakers, and educators to study how various student, home, classroom, school, and community factors at various points in the child's life relate to cognitive, social, and emotional development.
Trained field staff assessed children in their schools and collected information from parents. The majority of parent interviews were conducted by telephone though interviews were conducted in person for parents who did not have telephones, who were difficult to contact by telephone, or who preferred an in-person interview. Teachers and school administrators were contacted at their schools and asked to complete hard-copy self-administered questionnaires. Before- and after-school care providers were asked to complete hard-copy self-administered questionnaires in the children's kindergarten year.