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ERIC Number: ED560407
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun-17
Pages: 93
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 140
Inequalities at the Starting Gate: Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills Gaps between 2010-2011 Kindergarten Classmates. Report
Garcia, Emma
Economic Policy Institute
Inequalities in education outcomes such as test scores or degree attainment have been at the center of education policy debates for decades. Indeed, the first seminal national report on the state of U.S. education--the 1966 Coleman Report--examined some of these inequalities 50 years ago. Since then, researchers have examined performance gaps by income level and race or ethnicity in depth, as well as inequalities in educational attainment (degrees earned, etc.), employment opportunities, earnings, and even health status and overall well-being--all of which can be seen, partly, as long-lasting consequences of earlier education gaps (Altonji and Blank 1999; Cutler and Lleras-Muney 2010; Duncan and Murnane 2011a; Jencks and Phillips 1998; Magnuson and Waldfogel 2008; Morsy and Rothstein 2015; Rothstein 2004; Schultz 1980). This study seeks to broaden the debate by examining the education gaps that exist even before children enter formal schooling in kindergarten, and showing that the gaps extend to noncognitive skills, which are also critical for adulthood outcomes (Heckman 2008; Heckman & Kautz 2012). Regarding the analysis of early education gaps, this paper is modeled on Lee and Burkam's 2002 monograph "Inequality at the Starting Gate: Social Background Differences in Achievement as Children Begin School," which found that cognitive gaps between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds and races and ethnicities were both sizeable and statistically significant at school entry in kindergarten. Using recent data from a younger cohort of kindergarten students--the National Center for Education Statistics' Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten class of 2010-2011 (hereafter, ECLS-K 2010-2011 NCES), this paper delineates an updated picture of education inequalities among the nation's youngest children in school. It provides a comprehensive analysis of gaps in both cognitive and noncognitive skills among this cohort of children and concludes with a discussion of the research and policy implications of these findings. Appended are: Race and socioeconomic gaps: specifications; Data issues: Definition of variables, missing data, use of sample weights, and distribution of dependent variables; Outcome variables; Control variables (child and family characteristics or "education inputs"); Survey weights; and Distribution of outcomes. [For the summary of this report, see ED560364.]
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Economic Policy Institute
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey