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Citation:West, J., Denton, K., & Germino-Hausken, E. (2000). America's kindergartners: Findings from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, kindergarten class of 1998-99, fall 1998 ( NCES 2000-070). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, NCES.

This report presents 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 study began following a nationally representative sample of approximately 22,000 kindergartners in the fall of 1998. 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. The study also looked at other child outcomes, including social skills, physical health and well-being, and childrenÕs approaches to learning, but these were assessed via parent or teacher report, while cognitive skills and knowledge were assessed directly. Findings addressed childrenÕs skills upon entry to kindergarten. Results indicate that childrenÕs reading, mathematics and general knowledge differ according to their age at kindergarten entry, their motherÕs educational attainment, their family type, the primary language spoken in the home and their race-ethnicity. Findings suggest that while first-time kindergartners are similar in many ways, differences exist in children's skills and knowledge in relation to their characteristics, background, and experiences. The study will continue to follow the cohort through their fifth-grade year.

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