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What Works Clearinghouse


The review below focuses on a study of Head Start. The WWC has conducted a systematic review of research studies examining the effectiveness of Head Start. The findings from that comprehensive review, which include this study, can be found in the intervention report.

What is the study about?

This study examined the effects of offering Head Start to 3- and 4-year-olds. Head Start is a federal program aimed at boosting the school readiness of low-income children by providing preschool education and health and nutrition services.

What did the study find about effectiveness at the first follow-up?

The study found that children offered the chance to enroll in Head Start as 3-year-olds had higher scores on four of eight measures of language and literacy, the single measure of pre-writing, and one of two measures of math skills at the first follow-up, than children not offered enrollment as 3-year-olds.

What did the study find about effectiveness at the later follow-ups?

The study found no significant differences between the children offered and not offered the chance to enroll in Head Start as 3-year-olds on language and literacy, pre-writing, and math skills measured at the second, third, and fourth follow-ups. These follow-ups corresponded to the ends of preschool, kindergarten, and first grade, respectively.

Citation

Puma, M., et al. (2010). Head Start impact study: Final report. Washington, DC: Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This quick review was prepared for the WWC by Mathematica Policy Research under contract ED-07-CO-0062.