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How do we better understand children’s early development?

Charting early childhood development

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2022-23 (ECLS-K:2023) will provide detailed, comprehensive data to describe and better understand

  • Children’s early learning and development
  • Transitions into kindergarten and beyond
  • Progress through the elementary grades
  • How children’s early experiences relate to their later development, learning, and experiences in school

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) selected Westat to design and conduct the preschool through 3rd grade rounds of the ECLS-K:2023, as well as draft the 5th grade instruments.

Westat also conducted the ECLS-K:2023’s predecessor studies:

  • ECLS-K:2011; followed 18,000+ children from kindergarten through 5th grade
  • ECLS-K:1998-99; followed 21,000+ children from kindergarten through 8th grade

The ECLS-K:2023 adds a preschool cohort. The study can now measure influences on children before school entry and may include measures of their home environments and access to early care and education.

  • During spring 2022, about 236,000 households will be asked to complete a web screener to determine eligibility for the study’s preschool parent interview. If eligible, parents will then complete a web survey about their child’s background characteristics, child care, and development. 
  • During the 2022-23 school year, about 20,000 kindergartners nationwide in 1,000 public and private schools will be selected to participate in the ECLS-K:2023. They will be followed from kindergarten through 5th grade.
  • Information about the children, their parents, teachers, and schools will collected in the fall and spring of kindergarten, and in the spring of 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades.
  • During each data collection, children will complete a direct cognitive assessment; their parents will complete web surveys. Each spring, school administrators and teachers will complete web surveys.
  • The multifaceted data collected across the years will allow researchers and policymakers to study how various child, home, classroom, school, and community factors at various points in children’s lives relate to cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.

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