Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The federal National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has launched a longitudinal study of the kindergarten class of 2010-11 that will run through their expected completion of fifth grade in 2016. The first report is a profile of the nation’s 3.5 million first-time kindergartners, drawn from the study’s nationally representative sample of 18,200 children enrolled in 970 schools.

The recently released profile of kindergartners includes both demographic and educational information.

First the demographics:

The new study from NCES, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the third in a series of longitudinal studies of young children.

In the recently released profile of kindergartners, NCES also assessed children’s early reading and math skills using individually administered direct assessments based on the framework used for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. According to the NCES profile:

“The study will provide information on students’ status at entry to school, their transition into school, and their progression through the elementary grades,” the report notes. “The longitudinal nature of the … data will enable researchers to study how a wide range of family, school, community and individual factors are associated with educational socio-emotional and physical development over time. Information is being collected from the students, their parents/guardians, their teachers, their school administrators, and their before- and after-school care providers.”

(Note: The third bullet has been corrected to accurately characterize the 38% whose parents have earned bachelor’s degrees or higher.)