One tangential thought from yesterday’s post about new research on gender gaps in the elementary grades. This is a good example of the federal role in education research working. It doesn’t appear that this study was funded by the Department of Education, but the researchers used data made available by the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, a massive, long-term study that collected information on over 17,000 children starting in kindergarten and tracked them (with some attrition) through 5th grade. The resulting data set, along with the data set from its companion Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, has been an incredible resource for researchers and has facilitated some important work. Even more exciting, the federal Institute of Education Sciences launched a new ECLS-K two years ago, with the kindergarten class of 2010-11. This is the kind of thing that really only the federal government can do, and something that’s made a significant contribution to the field of early childhood and K-12 research. I know the federal role in education research comes in for a lot of criticism--much of it well-founded. But let’s also give credit where credit’s due--as it is here.
The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.