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Digest of Education Statistics: 2007
Digest of Education Statistics: 2007

NCES 2008-022
March 2008

Appendix A.2. Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (ECLS-K) was designed to provide detailed information on children's early school experiences. The study began in the fall of 1998. A nationally representative sample of 22,782 children enrolled in 1,277 kindergarten programs during the 1998–99 school year was selected to participate in the ECLS-K. The children attended both public and private kindergartens, and full-day and part-day programs. The sample included children from different racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and oversamples of Asian and Pacific Islander children and private school kindergartners. Base-year data were collected in the fall and spring of the kindergarten year. Data were collected again in the fall of first grade (from a 30 percent subsample of schools) and the spring of first grade, and then in the spring of third grade in 2002 and the spring of fifth grade in 2004. The same children were followed through the eighth grade.

The ECLS-K includes a direct child cognitive assessment that is administered one-on-one with each child in the study. The assessment uses a computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI) approach and a two-stage adaptive testing methodology. In the eighth grade, a two-stage adaptive paper-and-pencil assessment was administered in small groups. The assessment includes three cognitive domains—reading, mathematics, and general knowledge—at kindergarten and first grade. General knowledge was replaced by science at the third, fifth, and eighth grades. Children's height and weight are measured at each data collection point, and a direct measure of children's psychomotor development was administered in the fall of the kindergarten year only. In addition to these measures, the ECLS-K collects information about children's social skills and academic achievement through teacher reports, and through student reports at the third, fifth, and eighth grades.

A computer-assisted telephone interview with the children's parents/guardians is conducted at each data collection point. Parents/guardians are asked to provide key information about their children on subjects such as family demographics (e.g., family members, age, relation to child, race/ethnicity), family structure (e.g., household members and composition), parent involvement, home educational activities (e.g., reading to the child), child health, parental education and employment status, and child's social skills and behaviors.

Data on the schools that children attend and their classrooms are collected by self-administered questionnaires completed by school administrators and classroom teachers. Administrators provide information about the school population, programs, and policies. At the classroom level, data are collected on the composition of the classroom, teaching practices, curriculum, and teacher qualifications and experience. In addition, special education teachers and related services staff provide reports on the services received by children with disabilities.

Further information on the ECLS-K may be obtained from

Elvira Germino Hausken
Early Childhood, International, and Crosscutting Studies Division
Early Childhood and Household Studies Program
National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006