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Citation:Denton, K., & West, J. (2002). ChildrenÕs reading and mathematics achievement in kindergarten and first grade (NCES 2002125). Washington DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

This is a follow up report that examines findings from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Ð Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K), a national study of kindergartners, their schools, classrooms, teachers and families sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics. The ECLS-K began following a nationally representative sample of approximately 22,000 kindergartners in the fall of 1998, with the plan to follow the same cohort of children from kindergarten entry through the fifth grade. Data sources include a series of surveys of family members and school personnel; reviews of school records, including grade reports; and academic skills assessments of participating children. Assessments for students at the kindergarten level were developed specifically for the ECLS and addressed childrenÕs early academic skills in reading, mathematics, and general knowledge. Denton & West explore ways in which childrenÕs backgrounds, literacy, approaches to learning, and general health status at kindergarten entry were associated with their spring kindergarten and first grade reading and mathematics knowledge and skills. The authors found that differences in childrenÕs overall achievement by their familyÕs poverty status, race/ethnicity, and school type persist from kindergarten through the spring of first grade. The authors noted that Òchildren who begin kindergarten with certain resources seem to be at an advantage. Children who demonstrate early literacy skills and who come from a positive literacy environment, who possess a positive approach to learning, and who enjoy very good or excellent general health seem to perform better after 1 and even 2 years of formal schooling than children who do not have these resourcesÓ (pp. xii-xiii).

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