The purpose of this report

The purpose of this report is to describe basic descriptive statistics on barriers to parent-school involvement data that are available using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011). Readers who are interested in more complex questions and in-depth analysis are encouraged to explore other National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) resources, including publications, online data tools, and public- and restricted-use datasets. Researchers may also be interested in exploring other aspects of parent involvement collected in the ECLS-K:2011 but not presented in this report by visiting https://nces.ed.gov/ecls. Questionnaires and data files are available on this website for more in-depth analyses by other investigators.

The brief begins by examining the level of parents’ involvement in activities in their children’s schools and the specific types of activities in which they participated when their children were enrolled in school. Then, the brief describes the types of barriers to participation that parents face. This publication was prepared for NCES under Contract No. ED-IES-12-D-0002 with American Institutes for Research. Mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Finally, the brief focuses on children whose parents have low involvement, showing how the barriers to involvement differ across child, family, and school characteristics. Similar to previous NCES reports, this Statistics in Brief compares parent-school involvement by the following child, family, and school characteristics: students’ race/ethnicity, household poverty status, parents’ highest level of education, family type, parent labor force status, students’ primary home language, school type, and school minority enrollment.

DATA, METHODS, AND
STRUCTURE OF THE BRIEF

The ECLS-K:2011 is a nationally representative study of kindergartners in the 2010–11 school year that is designed to study children’s school experiences from kindergarten through fifth grade. As such, it administers assessments to students and collects questionnaire data from their parents, teachers, and administrators. This Statistics in Brief uses the parent data included in the ECLS K:2011 Kindergarten-Second Grade Data File, which were collected in the fall and spring of kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. At each round of data collection, parents were interviewed about a wide range of topics, including their involvement in their child’s school; the child’s home environment; the activities that family members do with the child outside of school; the parents’ expectations for the child; and languages spoken in the home. The parent-school involvement estimates presented in this brief are from the 2012–13 school year, when most children in the 2010 11 kindergarten class were in second grade. About 94 percent of 2010–11 kindergartners were in second grade in the 2012–13 school year. The term second-graders used in this brief refers to this kindergarten cohort and includes the 6 percent of students who were in another grade.

The comparisons highlighted in the text are statistically significant at the p < .05 level to ensure that the differences were larger than might be expected due to sampling variation. No adjustments were made for multiple comparisons. For additional information about p values and the data or methods used in this study, see the Methodology and Technical Notes at the end of the report.

Measuring Parent-School Involvement

In this brief, the term “parents” is used to describe levels of parent-school involvement in specific parent-school involvement activities. However, the respondents are asked to also include activities of “other adults in your household” in the question-wording. Thus, the “parent involvement” term used in this report also includes activities of adult siblings and other relatives or nonrelatives residing in the child’s household.

Since other NCES reports show that parent-school participation is higher during the elementary school years (Noel, Stark, and Redford 2013; McQuiggan and Megra 2017), this brief focuses on elementary school children’s parents and some barriers to participation in certain activities at school. Readers should keep in mind that parents can participate in their children’s schooling in other ways, such as communicating with their child’s teachers, that are not discussed in this report.

Level of parent-school involvement

This Statistics in Brief uses data from parents’ responses to the following ECLS-K:2011 question to estimate the number of times parents participated in activities at their child’s school: “During this school year, how many times have you or other adults in your household gone to meetings or participated in activities at {CHILD}’s school?” The question was open-ended, and the response categories were created based on the distribution of the responses. Respondents who participated in 0–3 activities are categorized as having “low” involvement. Respondents who participated in 4–6 activities are categorized as having “moderate” involvement. Respondents who participated in 7 or more activities are categorized as having “high” involvement. Figure 1 shows the distribution of children by level of parent-school involvement.

The specific cutoffs for low (0–3 activities), moderate (4–6 activities), and high (7 or more activities) involvement were based on the distribution of the number of times a parent or another adult in the household had gone to a meeting or participated in activities at the child’s school. Each category accounts for roughly one-third of the sample size. Although alternative methods are available, such as using continuous values instead of specific cutoffs, these cutoffs were used to ensure there were sufficient samples in each category to produce reliable estimates and provide substantively meaningful size groupings, as well as to make the language throughout the report easier to follow. These cutoffs and labels were not created based on prior research and should not be interpreted as what are acceptable amounts of effective parent-school involvement based on evidence-based research.

Parent-school involvement activities

The brief estimates parents’ involvement in various school activities using the following question: “Since the beginning of this school year, have you or the other adults in your household…

  • attended an open house or a back-to-school night?
  • attended a meeting of a PTA, PTO, or Parent-Teacher Organization?
  • gone to a regularly scheduled parent-teacher conference with {CHILD}’s teacher or meeting with {CHILD}’s
    teacher?
  • attended a school or class event, such as a play, sports event, or science fair?
  • served as a volunteer in {CHILD}’s classroom or elsewhere in the school?”

Barriers to parent-school involvement

In addition to asking parents about their participation in school activities, the ECLS-K:2011 asked parents about the barriers that made it difficult for them to participate, using the following question: “This year, have the following reasons made it harder for you to participate in activities at {CHILD}’s school?

  • inconvenient meeting times?
  • no child care keeps your family from going to school meetings or events?
  • family members can’t get time off from work?
  • problems with safety going to the school?
  • the school does not make your family feel welcome?
  • problems with transportation to the school?
  • you don’t hear about things going on at school that you might want to be involved in?”

Using the responses to these ECLS-K:2011 questions, the analyses in this brief examine parents’ participation in specific school activities, and the barriers they face to participation, by their level of reported parent-school involvement. The estimates in this brief represent the 2010–11 kindergarten class in school year 2012–13, when most students were in second grade.

KEY FINDINGS

  • In the 2012–13 school year, when most of the 2010–11 kindergartners were in second grade, a higher percentage of these students had parents who reported going to a regularly scheduled, parent-teacher conference or meeting (93 percent) than attending an open house or back-to-school night (84 percent); attending a school or class event, such as a play, sports event, or science fair (82 percent); serving as a volunteer in the classroom or elsewhere in the school (52 percent); or attending a meeting of a PTA or PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) (43 percent) (table A-2).
  • The four most common barriers were “family members can’t get time off work” (48 percent), “inconvenient meeting times” (33 percent), “no child care” (17 percent), and “[parents] don’t hear about things going on at school that [they] might want to be involved in” (12 percent) (table A-3).
  • Among second-graders whose parents reported low involvement in school activities, 59 percent overall had parents who reported an inability to get time off from work as a barrier. Higher percentages of this barrier were reported for students who had two parents employed full time (68 percent) or who had a single parent employed full time (73 percent) (figure 4).
  • Among second-graders whose parents reported low involvement, 46 percent overall had parents who reported inconvenient meeting times as a barrier. Compared to the overall average, higher percentages of this barrier were reported for Black students (62 percent), while lower percentages were reported for White students (37 percent) (figure 5).
  • Among second-graders whose parents reported low involvement in school activities, 22 percent overall had parents who reported a lack of child care as a barrier, with a higher percentage of this barrier reported for Hispanic students (30 percent) (table A-4).

1.
What types of school activities do second-grade students’ parents participate in, and how does this participation vary by the level of parent-school involvement?

In the 2012–13 school year, when most of the 2010–11 kindergartners were in second grade, the most common school activity reported by students’ parents was regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences or meetings (93 percent), followed by attending an open house or back-to-school night (84 percent); attending a school or class event, such as a play, sports event, or science fair (82 percent); serving as a volunteer in the classroom or elsewhere in the school (52 percent); or attending a meeting of a PTA or PTO (Parent- Teacher Organization) (43 percent) (table A-2).

Among second-graders whose parents reported low involvement in school activities, 86 percent had parents who reported attending a regularly scheduled parent-teacher conference or meeting, 70 percent had parents who reported attending an open house or back-to-school night, and 63 percent had parents who reported attending a school or class event, such as a play, sports event, or science fair (figure 2). The school activities least commonly reported by parents with low involvement were attending PTA or PTO meetings (29 percent) and serving as a volunteer in the classroom or elsewhere in the school (24 percent).

Among second-graders whose parents reported high involvement in school activities, 97 percent had parents who reported attending a regularly scheduled parent-teacher conference or meeting, 95 percent reported attending a school or class event, and 93 percent had parents who reported attending an open house or back-to-school night, which was higher than the percentage who reported serving as a volunteer in the school (83 percent) or who reported attending a PTA or PTO meeting (58 percent).

When comparing types of participation across levels of parent-school involvement, parents who reported high involvement in school activities had a higher rate of participation in most types of activities than parents who had low and moderate involvement. Differences in participation between parents who reported high and low involvement were most pronounced for serving as a volunteer in the classroom or school (a 59-percentage-point difference), which was a larger difference than attending a parent-teacher conference or meeting (an 11-percentage-point
difference). Meanwhile, compared to parents who reported low involvement in school activities, parents who reported high involvement in school activities had a higher rate of participation in attending a school or class event (95 percent versus 63 percent) and attending a PTA or PTO meeting (58 percent versus 29 percent).

2.
What are the barriers to parent-school involvement in second grade, and how do the types of barriers vary by level of parent-school involvement.

The four most common barriers reported by second-graders’ parents were “family members can’t get time off from work” (48 percent), “inconvenient meeting times” (33 percent), “no childcare” (17 percent), and “[parents] don’t hear about things going on at school that [they] might want to be involved in” (12 percent) (table A-3). The three least common barriers were “problems with transportation to the school” (4 percent), “school does not make family feel welcome” (3 percent), and “problems with safety going to the school” (1 percent). The most common barriers reported were the same for parents who had low, moderate, and high involvement. While the general patterns of barriers were similar across parent involvement levels, the percentages reporting specific barriers generally were lower for parents with high school involvement (figure 3). For example, 20 percent of parents who had high involvement reported inconvenient meeting times, compared to 46 percent of parents who had low involvement. Also, 35 percent of parents who had high involvement reported that family members can’t get time off from work, compared to 59 percent of parents who had low involvement. There was also a difference for the barrier of no childcare (13 percent for parents with high involvement vs. 22 percent for parents with low involvement). In addition, 8 percent of parents who had high involvement did not hear about things going on at school that they might want to be involved in, compared to 15 percent of parents who had low involvement.

3.
Among second-grade students whose parents reported low levels of parent-school involvement, how do the specific barriers vary by child, family, and school characteristics

The comparisons in study question 3 examine 2010–11 kindergartners whose parents reported low parent- school involvement in the 2012–13 school year (when most students were in second grade), focusing on the four barriers they reported most frequently: an inability to get time off from work, inconvenient meeting times, no child care, and not hearing about things going on at school that they might want to be involved in. The comparisons are based on the following child, family, and school characteristics: child’s race/ethnicity, household poverty status, parents’ highest level of education, family type, parents’ labor force status, primary home language, school type, and school minority enrollment percentage. For each barrier, only measurable differences between the overall percentage of children whose parents reported the barrier and the corresponding percentage of children with specific individual, family, and school characteristics whose parents reported the barrier are highlighted in the text.

Inability to get time off from work among parents with low involvement

In the 2012–13 school year, when most of the 2010–11 kindergartners were in second grade, an inability to get time off from work was the most common barrier among parents reporting low parent-school involvement.

Differences by child/family characteristics

Among second-graders whose parents reported low involvement in school activities, 59 percent overall had parents who reported an inability to get time off from work as a barrier,
with higher percentages of this barrier reported for students who had two parents employed full time (68 percent) or who had a single parent employed full time (73 percent) (figure 4). Conversely, the percentages of students who had one parent employed full time and one parent not in the labor force (47 percent) and a single parent not in the labor force (33 percent) were lower than the overall percentage.

Differences by school characteristics

For parents who reported low involvement in school activities, no measurable differences by school-level characteristics were found in the percentage of second-graders’ parents who reported inability to get time off from work as a barrier to involvement.

Inconvenient meeting times among parents with low involvement

In the 2012–13 school year, when most of the 2010–11 kindergartners were in second grade, inconvenient meeting times were the second most common barrier among parents reporting low parent-school involvement.

Differences by child/family characteristics

Among second-graders whose parents reported low involvement in school activities, 46 percent overall had parents who reported inconvenient meeting times as a barrier. Differences in the percentage of second-graders parents’ reporting this barrier were found by child’s race/ethnicity, household poverty status, family type, and parents’ labor force status. For example, the percentage of Black students (62 percent) with parents reporting this barrier was higher than the overall percentage (46 percent),  whereas the percentage of White students (37 percent) was lower than the overall percentage (figure 5). For household poverty status, 40 percent of students from households with incomes at or above 200 percent of the poverty level had parents reporting this barrier, which was lower than the overall percentage (table A-4). For family type, the percentage of students in one-parent households who reported this barrier (53 percent) was higher than the overall percentage. Also, the percentage of students who had one parent working full time and one parent not in the labor force reporting this barrier (33 percent) was lower than the overall percentage, while the percentage of students who had a single parent employed full time (60 percent) was higher than the overall percentage.

Differences by school characteristics

Some 35 percent of students attending schools with less than 10 percent minority enrollment had parents reporting the barrier of inconvenient meeting times, which was lower than the overall percentage (46 percent, table A-4). There were no measurable differences for the barrier of inconvenient meeting times between the overall percentage and the percentage of students attending schools with 10–24 percent minority enrollment (41 percent), 25–49 percent minority enrollment (45 percent), 50–74 percent minority enrollment (48 percent), and 75 percent or more minority enrollment (50 percent).


No childcare among parents with low involvement

In the 2012–13 school year, when most of the 2010–11 kindergartners were in second grade, no childcare was the third most common barrier among parents reporting low parent-school involvement.

Differences by child/family characteristics

Among second-graders whose parents reported low involvement in school activities, 22 percent overall had parents who reported no child care as a barrier. Differences in the percentage of second-graders parents’ reporting this barrier were found by child’s race/ethnicity, household poverty status, parents’ highest level of education, parents’ labor force status, and primary home language. For example, 28 percent of students from households with incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level had parents reporting this barrier, which was higher than the overall percentage (22 percent), while the percentage of students whose families had incomes at or above 200 percent of the poverty level (16 percent) was lower than the overall percentage (22 percent) (figure 6). Also, for child’s race/ethnicity, the percentage of Hispanic students (30 percent) with parents reporting this barrier was higher than the overall percentage (22 percent, table A-4).

 

The percentage of second-graders whose parents reported low involvement in school activities and who reported no childcare as a barrier was higher for students whose parents’ highest level of education was less than a high school credential (30 percent) than for the overall percentage of students (22 percent). The percentages of students who had two parents employed full time or who had a single parent employed full time and who reported this barrier (15 and 16 percent, respectively) were lower than the overall percentage. Meanwhile, the percentage of students
who had one parent working full time and one parent not in the labor force (36 percent) was higher than the overall percentage. Also, 33 percent of students whose home language was non-English had parents reporting this barrier, which was higher than the overall percentage.

Differences by school characteristics

In schools with less than 10 percent minority enrollment, the percentage of students (15 percent) whose parents reported this barrier was lower than the overall percentage (22 percent). However, in schools with 75 percent or more minority enrollment, the percentage of students (27 percent) whose parents reported this barrier was greater than the overall percentage (22 percent).

Not hearing about anything of interest to get involved in at school among parents with low involvement

In the 2012–13 school year, when most of the 2010–11 kindergartners were in second grade, not hearing “about things going on at school that [they] might want to be involved in” was the fourth most common barrier among parents reporting low parent-school involvement.

Differences by child/family characteristics

Among second-graders whose parents reported low involvement in school activities, 15 percent overall had parents who reported not hearing about things going on at school that they might want to be involved in as a barrier. Differences in the percentage of second-graders’ parents reporting this barrier were found by child’s race/ ethnicity, household poverty status, parents’ highest level of education, and primary home language (table A-4). For example, 24 percent of students whose home language was non-English had parents reporting this barrier, which was higher than the overall percentage (15 percent) (figure 7).

 

For household poverty status, 20 percent of students whose families had incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty level had parents reporting this barrier, which was higher than the overall percentage (15 percent), while the percentage of students whose families had incomes above 200 percent of the poverty level (11 percent) was lower than the overall percentage (figure 8).

 

For parents’ highest level of education, 23 percent of students’ parents with less than a high school credential reported this barrier, which was higher than the overall percentage (15 percent), while the percentage of students’ parents with a graduate/ professional degree (8 percent) who reported this barrier was lower than the overall percentage (table A-4).

http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2017165

More detailed information on early childhood education reports produced by the National Center for Education
Statistics (NCES) using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11, can be found in
the following publications:

Mulligan, G.M., Hastedt, S., and McCarroll, J.C. (2012). First-Time Kindergartners in 2010–11: First Findings From the Kindergarten Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011) (NCES 2012-049). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from
https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012049.

Mulligan, G.M., McCarroll, J.C., Flanagan, K.D., and Potter, D. (2014). Findings From the First-Grade Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011) (NCES 2015-109). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from
https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2015109.

Mulligan, G.M., McCarroll, J.C., Flanagan, K.D., and Potter, D. (2015). Findings From the Second-Grade Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011)(NCES 2015-077).  U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from
https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2015077.

Mulligan, G.M., McCarroll, J.C., Flanagan, K.D., and Potter, D. (2016). Findings From the Third-Grade Round of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011) (NCES 2016-094). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from
https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2016094.

Rathbun, A., and Zhang, A. (2016). Primary Early Care and Education Arrangements and Achievement at Kindergarten Entry (NCES 2016-070). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC:  National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from
https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2016070.

METHODOLOGY AND TECHNICAL NOTES

Survey Overview and Methodology

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), is sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, to provide detailed information on the school achievement and experiences of students throughout their elementary school years. Westat, Inc., assisted with the design of the study and collected the data upon which this report is based. The students participating in the ECLS-K:2011 were followed longitudinally from kindergarten (the 2010–11 school year) through the spring of 2016, when most were in fifth grade. This sample of students is designed to be nationally representative of all students who were enrolled in kindergarten, or who were of kindergarten age and were being educated in an ungraded classroom or school in the 2010–11 school year. The sample was designed to be representative of those in public and private schools those who attended full-day and part-day programs, those who were in kindergarten for the first time, and those who were kindergarten repeaters.

The ECLS-K:2011 places an emphasis on measuring students’ experiences within multiple contexts and development in multiple domains, including cognitive, socioemotional, and physical development. The study is designed to collect information from students as well as from their parents and guardians, teachers, schools, and before- and after-school care providers. The estimates in this Statistics in Brief are based on the data collected from students’ parents or guardians during the kindergarten and the second-grade parent interview. The estimates pertain to kindergartners in the 2010–11 school year whose parents reported various levels of parent-school involvement in the 2012–13 school year, when some 94 percent of 2010–11 kindergartners were in second grade.

Sample Design

A nationally representative sample of approximately 18,170 children from about 1,310 schools participated in the base-year administration of the ECLS-K:2011 in the 2010–11 school year. The sample included children from different racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The ECLS-K:2011 cohort was sampled using a multistage sampling design. In the first stage, 90 primary sampling units (PSUs) were selected from a national sample of PSUs. The PSUs were counties and county groups. In the second stage, public and private schools educating kindergartners (or ungraded schools educating children of kindergarten age) were selected within the PSUs. Finally, students were sampled from the selected schools. The schools were selected from a preliminary version of the frame developed for the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which contained information about public schools that were included in the 2006–07 Common Core of Data Public Elementary/ Secondary School Universe Survey and private schools that were included in the 2007–08 Private School Universe Survey. The NAEP frame had not yet been updated and, therefore, was not final at the time it was obtained for use in the ECLS-K:2011. For this reason, a supplemental frame of newly opened schools and kindergarten programs was developed in the spring of 2010, and a supplemental sample of schools selected from that frame was added to the main sample of study schools. In the third stage of sampling, approximately 23 kindergartners were selected from a list of all enrolled kindergartners (or students of kindergarten age being educated in an ungraded classroom) in each of the sampled schools.

Data Collection

Fall and spring data collections were conducted in the 2010–11 school year when all study children were in kindergarten; in the 2011–12 school year, when most study children were in first grade; and in the 2012–13 school year, when most study children were in second grade. This report features the data collected in 2012–13. The spring second-grade data collection included base-year respondents who attended schools within all 90 sampled PSUs. Due to the increased data collection costs associated with following students who transferred from their original sample school, in each round of data collection only a subsample of these students were followed into their new schools. About 13,850 children from about 2,330 schools participated in the spring second-grade data collection. For more information on the sample design and sampling procedures, refer to the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), User’s Manual for the ECLS-K:2011 Kindergarten Data File and Electronic Codebook (Tourangeau et al. 2013), the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), User’s Manual for the ECLS-K:2011 Kindergarten–First Grade Data File and Electronic Codebook (Tourangeau et al. 2014), and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11
(ECLS-K:2011), User’s Manual for the ECLS-K:2011 Kindergarten–Second Grade Data File and Electronic Codebook (Tourangeau et al. 2015). Information on the child and family characteristics used in this report (children’s race/ethnicity, household poverty status, parents’ highest level of education, family type, and primary home language) was collected through interviews with parents in the children’s kindergarten year and the spring of 2013, when most children were in second grade. Most parent interviews were conducted by telephone; however, they were conducted in person for parents who were unreachable by telephone or who preferred an in-person interview. The respondent to the parent interview was usually a parent or guardian in the household who identified himself or herself as the person who knew the most about the child’s care, education, and health. The parent interview was fully translated into Spanish before data collection began and could be administered by bilingual interviewers if parent respondents preferred to speak in Spanish. Because it was cost-prohibitive to do so, the parent interview was not translated into other languages. However, interviews could be completed with parents who spoke other languages by using an interpreter who translated from the English questionnaire during the interview. The information on school type and school minority enrollment in table A-4 was collected through hard-copy paper questionnaires completed by the school principal/administrator and/or his or her designee during the spring data collection round of the second- grade year (i.e., spring 2013).

Response Rates

The weighted parent unit response rates were 74.2 percent for the fall 2010 kindergarten data collection, 67.1 percent for spring 2011 kindergarten data collection, and 74.3 percent for the spring 2013 second- grade data collection. The overall response rates for the kindergarten parent interviews, which also take into account school-level response (62.7 percent), were 46.7 percent for the fall kindergarten data collection and 42.1 percent for the spring kindergarten data collection. The overall response rate for the spring second-grade parent interviews was 46.6 percent.

The weighted spring 2013 school administrator response rate was 90.1 percent. The overall response rate for the spring 2013 school administrator questionnaire, accounting for school
level response rates, was 56.5 percent.

A nonresponse bias analysis was conducted to determine if substantial bias was introduced as a result of nonresponse. To examine the effect of school nonresponse, estimates from the ECLS-K:2011 schools were compared to those produced using frame data (i.e., data from the Common Core of Data and the Private School Universe Survey). The differences in the two sets of estimates are very small, suggesting there is not significant nonresponse bias present in the data. To examine the effect of nonresponse for data collected through instruments that have a response rate lower than 85 percent (the kindergarten parent interviews and the second-grade child assessments), estimates produced using weights that include adjustments for nonresponse were compared to estimates produced using weights without nonresponse adjustments. Additionally, for the parent interview data, estimates from the ECLS-K:2011 were compared to those from other data sources (for example, the National Household Education Surveys Program). The results of these nonresponse bias analyses also suggest that there is not a substantial bias due to nonresponse after adjusting for that nonresponse. For more information on the nonresponse bias analyses, refer to the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), User’s Manual for the ECLS-K:2011 Kindergarten Data File and Electronic Codebook (Tourangeau et al. 2013) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), User’s Manual for the ECLS-K:2011 Kindergarten–Second Grade Data File and Electronic Codebook (Tourangeau et al. 2015).

The item missing rate for the variables in the analytic sample used in this report is generally low (less than 1 percent). The exceptions were poverty status in the spring of kindergarten, which has an item missing rate of 13 percent, and family type in the fall of kindergarten, which has an item missing rate of 8 percent. The item missing rates for parents’ highest level of education were 2 percent for the first parent identified in the household and 3 percent for the second parent identified in the household. Even though the item nonresponse rate was relatively low, missing parent education data were imputed. This was done because parent education and some other variables were used to create a measure of household socioeconomic status that is provided in the data file. More information on item-level missing data and hot-deck imputation can be found in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), User’s Manual for the ECLS-K:2011 Kindergarten Data File and Electronic Codebook (Tourangeau\ et al. 2013) and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), User’s Manual for the ECLS-K:2011 Kindergarten–Second Grade Data File and Electronic Codebook (Tourangeau et al. 2015).

Data Reliability

Estimates produced using data from sample surveys, such as ECLS-K:2011, are subject to two types of errors: nonsampling errors and sampling errors. Nonsampling errors are errors made in the collection and processing of data. Sampling errors occur because the data are collected from a sample rather than a census of the population.

Nonsampling Errors

Nonsampling error is the term used to describe variations in the estimates that may be caused by population coverage limitations as well as by data collection, processing, and reporting procedures. The sources of nonsampling errors are typically nonresponse, differences in respondents’ interpretations of the meaning of survey questions, response differences related to the particular time when the survey was conducted, and mistakes in data preparation.

In general, it is difficult to identify and estimate either the amount of nonsampling error or the bias that it causes. In the ECLS-K:2011, efforts were made to prevent such errors from occurring and to compensate for them where possible (e.g., by field-testing items and assessments, using survey questions that had been tested and used in previous surveys, conducting multiday assessor/interviewer training, holding assessor certification sessions, and monitoring assessor/interviewer performance and field data quality throughout the collection period).

Another potential source of nonsampling error is respondent bias, which occurs when respondents systematically misreport (intentionally or unintentionally) information in a study. One potential source of respondent bias is social desirability bias, which can result when respondents provide information they believe is socially desirable or acceptable but that does not accurately reflect the respondents’ characteristics or experiences. An associated error occurs when respondents give unduly positive reports about those close to them. For example, parents may give a better assessment of their children’s reading ability than might be obtained from a direct assessment. If there are no systematic differences among specific groups under study in their tendency to give socially desirable or unduly positive responses, then comparisons of the different groups will provide reasonable measures of relative differences among the groups.

The information in this report is based on items from the kindergarten and spring 2013 parent interviews and the spring 2013 school administrator survey. Analysis of potential bias due to item nonresponse is typically conducted for those items with a response rate of less than 85 percent. As noted earlier, most of the items used in this report had an item-level missing rate below 1 percent and none had a response rate lower than 85 percent.

Sampling Errors and Weighting

The ECLS-K:2011 data are weighted to compensate for unequal probabilities of selection at each sampling stage and to adjust for the effects of school, teacher, before- and after-school care provider, child, and parent nonresponse. The sample weights used in the ECLS-K:2011 analyses were developed in several stages. The first stage of the weighting process assigned weights to the sampled PSUs that are equal to the inverse of their probability of selection. The second stage of the weighting process assigned weights to the schools sampled within the selected PSUs. The base weight for each sampled school is the PSU weight multiplied by the inverse of the probability of the school being selected from the PSU. The base weights of responding schools were adjusted to compensate for nonresponse among the set of eligible schools. These adjustments were made separately for public and private schools.

To compute the kindergarten base weight for each student in the sample, the school nonresponse-adjusted weight for the school the student attended was multiplied by the within- school student weight. The within- school student weight was calculated separately for Asian/Pacific Islander (API) students and non-API students to account for the oversampling of API students. For API students, the within-school student weight is the total number of API kindergarten students in the school divided by the number of API kindergarten students sampled in the school. For non-API students, the within-school student weight is the total number of non-API kindergarten students in the school divided by the number of non-API kindergarten students sampled in the school. The
student-level base weight was then adjusted for nonresponse for different components of the study. The weights developed for use in the analysis of the data collected in second grade are derived from the kindergarten student base weight. The spring second-grade student base weight is the base-year student base weight adjusted for base-year nonresponse. The estimates in this report were weighted by W6CS6P_6A0. This weight was computed from the fall second- grade child base weight adjusted for nonresponse to the data collection instruments that are the sources of information featured in this report to minimize bias in the estimates. That is, this weight is adjusted for nonresponse associated with parent data from the fall or spring of kindergarten and parent data from the spring of second grade.

In addition to properly weighting the data in this report, special procedures for estimating the statistical significance of the estimates were employed because the data were collected using a complex sample design. A complex sample design, like that used in the ECLS-K:2011, results in data that violate the assumptions that are normally required to assess the statistical significance of results. Statistical tests of significance from sample surveys require information about standard errors. The standard errors of the estimates from complex sample surveys may vary from those that would be expected if the sample were a simple random sample and the observations were independent and identically distributed random variables. Using the statistical software Stata, the jackknife 2 replication variance estimation method was used to compute approximately unbiased estimates of the standard errors of the estimates in the report.

References

McQuiggan, M., and Megra, M. (2017). Parent and Family Involvement in Education: Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016. First Look. NCES 2017-102. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 12/10/2018, from
https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017102.pdf.

Noel, A., Stark, P., and Redford, J. (2013). Parent and Family Involvement in Education, From the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012: First Look (NCES 2013-028.REV2). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from  https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013028rev.pdf.

Tourangeau, K., Nord, C., Lê, T., Sorongon, A.G., Hagedorn, M.C., Daly, P., and Najarian, M. (2013). Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), User’s Manual for the ECLS-K:2011 Kindergarten Data File and Electronic Codebook (NCES 2013-061). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Tourangeau, K., Nord, C., Lê, T., Wallner- Allen, K., Hagedorn, M.C., Leggitt,

J., and Najarian, M. (2014). Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–11 (ECLS-K:2011), User’s Manual for the ECLS-K:2011 Kindergarten– First Grade Data File and Electronic
Codebook (NCES 2015-069). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.