Chicago Longitudinal Study, 1986-1989 (ICPSR 25921)

Version Date: Mar 20, 2014 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Arthur Reynolds, University of Minnesota

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CLS, 1986-1989

The Chicago Longitudinal Study investigates the educational and social development of a same-age cohort of 1,539 low-income, minority children (93 percent African American) who grew up in high-poverty neighborhoods in central-city Chicago and attended government-funded kindergarten programs in the Chicago Public Schools in 1985-1986. Children were at risk of poor outcomes because they face social-environmental disadvantages including neighborhood poverty, family low-income status, and other economic and educational hardships.

Study Goals

The CLS is guided by four major goals:

  1. To document patterns of school performance and social competence throughout the school-age years, including their school achievement and attitudes, academic progress, and psychosocial development.
  2. To evaluate the effects of the Child-Parent Center and Expansion Program on child and youth development. Children and families had the opportunity to participate in this unique Head Start type early childhood intervention from ages three to nine (preschool to third grade).
  3. To identify and better understand the educational and psychosocial pathways through which the effects of early childhood experiences are manifested, and more generally, through which scholastic and behavioral development proceeds.
  4. To investigate the contributions to children's educational and social development of a variety of personal, family, school, and community factors, especially those that can be altered by program or policy interventions to prevent learning difficulties and promote positive outcomes.

Studies addressing the first two goals have been reported extensively. Participation in the Child-Parent Center Program for different lengths of time, for example, has been found to be significantly associated with higher levels of school achievement into adolescence, with higher levels of consumer skills, with enhanced parent involvement in children's education, and with lower rates of grade retention and special education, lower rates of early school dropout, and with lower rates of delinquent behavior (Reynolds, 1994, 1995, 2000; Reynolds and Temple, 1995, 1998; Temple, Reynolds, and Miedel, in press). Children's patterns of school and social adjustment over time (Reynolds and Bezruczko, 1993; Reynolds and Gill, 1994; Reynolds, 2000) as well as several methodological contributions (Reynolds and Temple, 1995; Reynolds, 1998a, 1998b) also have been reported elsewhere. Examples of studies addressing goals three and four are reported in a special issue of the Journal of School Psychology (Reynolds, 1999).

The Chicago Longitudinal Study is particularly appropriate for addressing these and other goals for two reasons. First, the CLS is one of the most extensive and comprehensive studies undertaken of a low-income, urban sample. Data were collected beginning during children's preschool years and have continued on a yearly basis throughout the school-age years. Multiple sources of data have been utilized in this on-going study, including teacher surveys, child surveys and interviews, parent surveys and interviews, school administrative records, standardized tests, and classroom observations. Thus, the impact of a variety of individual, family, and school-related factors can be investigated.

A second unique feature of the CLS is that although the project concerns child development, an emphasis is given to factors and experiences that are alterable by program or policy intervention both within and outside of schools. Besides information on early childhood intervention, information has been collected on classroom adjustment, parent involvement and parenting practices, grade retention and special education placement, school mobility, educational expectations of children, teachers, and parents, and on the school learning environment.

Reynolds, Arthur. Chicago Longitudinal Study, 1986-1989. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2014-03-20.

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To protect respondent privacy, these data are restricted from general dissemination. Access to parts of the Chicago Longitudinal Study data requires a signed User Agreement. To obtain the file(s), researchers must agree to the terms and conditions of the Restricted Data Use Agreement, found via ICPSR's online Restricted Data Contracting System, by clicking the "apply online for access to the data" link above.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1986 -- 1989
1986 -- 1989

The original sample included all 1,150 children who attended or received services from the 20 Child-Parent Centers in kindergarten in 1985-1986. Another 389 children of the same age participated in an alternative all-day kindergarten program in 5 randomly selected Chicago public schools serving low-income children. Study children were born in 1980. As a consequence of living in school neighborhoods eligible for Title I funding, all children in this cohort were eligible for and participated in government-funded early childhood programs. CLS children in kindergarten attended schools, for example, in which 67 percent of students in the attendance area were from low-income families, compared to 42 percent for all students in the Chicago public schools.


Children born in 1980 and who attended or received services, in 1985-1986, from the 20 Child-Parent Centers kindergarten program or attended an alternative all-day kindergarten program in a Chicago public school serving low income children.



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Reynolds, Arthur. Chicago Longitudinal Study, 1986-1989. ICPSR25921-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-08-07.

2014-03-20 Added a study overview document.

2009-11-13 Added a restricted-use user agreement and a public-use codebook. Updated the covers of the restricted-use codebook, and the user guide.

2009-08-07 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.