Assessment of Major Federal Data Sets for Analyses of Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander Subgroups and Native Americans: Inventory of Selected Existing Federal Databases. Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten (ECLS-K)


Sponsoring agency

National Center for Education Statistics
Department of Education


Reference date

Fall 1998


The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) is designed to track the performance of some 22,000 children from kindergarten through the fifth grade. Initiated in Fall, 1998, its objective is to study the "whole child," including health, social and emotional development, and educational experiences. The study will explore the many factors, such as school, family, and child characteristics, and explain the differential levels of school success for specific subgroups. The conceptual model, collaboratively designed by health, human services, and education experts, frames the study. Information from this longitudinal effort will provide insight into the multiple ways that the family, child, school, and community interact to explain the progress and development in children as they progress from kindergarten through the third grade.

The study has three primary purposes and four issues of interest: To understand the roles of families and schools in collaboratively supporting children's education; to understand how teachers work with children from diverse backgrounds; to investigate teacher and school expectations. The issues of specific interest are: describing the levels of school skills and knowledge that children possess when they enter kindergarten; examining three crucial transitions--from home to kindergarten, from kindergarten to first grade, and from first to later grades; inspecting how kindergarten experiences relate to later school performance; and, describing growth in mathematics, reading, and general knowledge as it relates to teacher practices.

Information will be collected on four levels--from the child; from parents and guardians; from teachers; and from school administrators.


The following questions develop the detail on race/ethnic origin:

  • Parent Interview (CAPI Protocol)

    Is (name) of Hispanic or Latino origin?    YES       NO

    • What is (name's) race?
      American Indian or Alaskan Native
      Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
      Other race (specify)

    First Grade Spring Parent Interview

    In the last interview, you indicated that (child/you/child's mother/child's father)(was/were) Hispanic. Which Spanish/Hispanic/Latino group best describes (child/you/child's mother/child/s father)?

    • Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano
      Puerto Rican
      Other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino Group (specify)

    In our last interview, you indicated that (reference person) was/were Asian. Which Asian group best describes (appropriate reference)?

    • Asian Indian Japanese  
      Chinese Korean  
      Filipino Vietnamese Other

    In our last interview, you indicated that (reference person) was/were a Pacific Islander. Which Pacific Islander group best describes (reference person)?

    • Native Hawaiian Samoan
      Guamanian or Chamorro Other

Interviewing policy

Language minority children will be identified through a Home Language Survey; classroom teachers also will be asked questions about the child's home language. Children with home language other than English will complete the Oral Language Development Scale (OLDS). Above a given score, children will be assessed in English; Hispanic children below the score will be assessed using Spanish language subtests. Current plans call for bilingual interviewers to be available as needed for all other interviews and, to the extent possible, in the required languages. A Spanish language version of the questionnaire is available in paper format; for other languages, the interviewer does direct translation for the respondent.

Sample size

The sample sizes shown in Appendix Tables A-1 to A-3 refer to children of kindergarten age. As noted above, the subgroup detail on race/ethnicity is not yet available, but will be collected as part of the First Grade interview. The Asian/PI group was oversampled by a factor of 3.

Publications of data for Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans

The initial phase of data collection has just been completed; plans for tabulation and publication are still being developed, but it is expected that limited data for Hispanics and Asians will be made available. The availability of data for subpopulations is yet to be determined. The availability of public use micro-data tapes is yet to be determined.

Revised race/ethnic definitions

Given the longitudinal nature of this effort, the need to reflect the proposed revised OMB race/ethnic definitions will be faced as directed by NCES and OMB. The questions and response categories planned for use in this effort, however, appear consistent for the most part with the expected guidelines, including an allowance for the reporting of multiple racial/ethnic categories.

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