WWC review of this study

Head Start impact study.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. (2010). Washington, DC: Author. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED507845.pdf. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED507845

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    3,697
     Students
    , grade
    PK
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: July 2015

Mathematics achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Counting Bears Test

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4 year olds, Head Start year;
1,617 students

0.59

0.55

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
665 students

387.98

382.22

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
674 students

389.02

384.54

No

--

Counting Bears Test

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
672 students

0.57

0.49

No

--

McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities- Draw-A-Design Task

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
672 students

3.18

3

No

--

McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities- Draw-A-Design Task

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
654 students

3.33

3.19

No

--

McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities- Draw-A-Design Task

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
594 students

4.47

4.23

No

--

McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities- Draw-A-Design Task

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
681 students

4.8

4.57

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
593 students

406.34

404.44

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
548 students

459.75

458.16

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Calculation

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,519 students

461.76

460.46

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Math Reasoning Test

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
548 students

462.09

460.68

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Quantitative Concepts

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
548 students

464.56

463.28

No

--

Counting Bears Test

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
659 students

0.33

0.31

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,526 students

455.16

454.13

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Calculation

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
546 students

460.99

460.19

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Math Reasoning Test

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,526 students

458.36

457.67

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, Kindergarten;
1,533 students

426.59

426.32

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
634 students

452.52

452.1

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Quantitative Concepts

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,524 students

461.79

461.28

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Calculation

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
632 students

463.28

463.07

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Math Reasoning Test

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, Kindergarten;
1,533 students

434.15

434.12

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Quantitative Concepts

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, Kindergarten;
1,530 students

441.83

441.88

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Head Start vs. Business as usual

4 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 3;
1,422 students

486.96

487.7

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Calculation

Head Start vs. Business as usual

4 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 3;
1,422 students

491.28

491.52

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Math Reasoning Test

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
634 students

455.79

456.19

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Applied Problems subtest

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
560 students

431.39

432.35

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Quantitative Concepts

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
633 students

459.44

460.33

No

--

Counting Bears Test

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
588 students

0.58

0.62

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Math Reasoning Test

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
560 students

436.65

438.06

No

--

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Quantitative Concepts

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
558 students

441.89

443.83

No

--
Reading achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Parent Emergent Literacy Scale (PELS)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3 year olds, Head Start year;
2,062 students

2.86

2.35

Yes

 
 
14
More Outcomes

Parent Emergent Literacy Scale (PELS)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4 year olds, Head Start year;
1,635 students

3.76

3.35

Yes

 
 
12
Show Supplemental Findings

Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Reading (ECLS-K Reading)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

4 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 3;
1,414 students

98.61

96.63

No

--
Social-emotional development outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3 year olds, Head Start year;
2,062 students

5.8

6.24

No

--
More Outcomes

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4 year olds, Head Start year;
1,629 students

5.6

5.8

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3 year olds, Head Start year;
2,062 students

12.41

12.38

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4 year olds, Head Start year;
1,629 students

12.46

12.48

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3 year olds, Head Start year;
2,061 students

10.95

10.99

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4 year olds, Head Start year;
1,631 students

11.01

11.06

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
667 students

5.5

6.58

Yes

 
 
12

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
667 students

1.58

2.02

Yes

 
 
11

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
667 students

12.55

12.2

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
664 students

1.98

2.31

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
667 students

11.02

10.8

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
667 students

2.9

3.19

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Head Start;
2,062 students

1.71

2

Yes

 
 
7

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Withdrawn Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
650 students

0.64

0.81

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
571 students

12.66

12.41

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
596 students

2.71

2.96

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Problems with Structured Learning Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,226 students

50.14

48.81

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

4 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 3;
1,508 students

5.7

6.18

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

4 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 3;
1,508 students

2.24

2.47

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Withdrawn Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,576 students

0.71

0.83

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Withdrawn Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
665 students

0.56

0.69

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Aggressive Behavior Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
449 students

48.24

49

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
596 students

11.1

11.01

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
594 students

12.64

12.53

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
568 students

12.64

12.53

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
595 students

5.57

5.87

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Head Start;
1,630 students

2.73

2.86

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Black, Head Start;
731 students

1.59

1.69

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Head Start;
595 students

1.61

1.74

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Inattentive/Hyperactive Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
418 students

51.03

51.46

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Inattentive/Hyperactive Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
451 students

50.66

51.13

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Oppositional Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
490 students

46.97

47.42

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,577 students

4.84

5.05

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
664 students

6.45

6.61

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Head Start;
2,062 students

2.97

3.05

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,577 students

2.2

2.29

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Head Start;
1,630 students

1.71

1.77

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

4 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 3;
1,508 students

1.91

1.99

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Aggressive Behavior Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
485 students

48.1

48.28

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Inattentive/Hyperactive Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,179 students

50.35

50.5

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Inattentive/Hyperactive Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
494 students

49.34

49.64

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Problems with Peer Interaction Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,226 students

51.33

51.53

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, Kindergarten;
1,556 students

12.66

12.63

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, Kindergarten;
1,556 students

2.41

2.47

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Black, Head Start;
731 students

2.85

2.82

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,577 students

1.43

1.46

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Withdrawn Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Head Start;
2,060 students

0.55

0.58

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Oppositional Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,176 students

47.79

47.88

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Oppositional Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
448 students

47.47

47.46

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Oppositional Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Black, Grade 1;
238 students

49.34

49.38

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Problems with Peer Interaction Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
464 students

51.04

51.15

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,577 students

12.64

12.63

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Black, Head Start;
731 students

5.48

5.52

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
650 students

5.25

5.27

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
568 students

2.55

2.56

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
650 students

2.5

2.48

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
673 students

2

2.01

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Withdrawn Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Black, Head Start;
731 students

0.44

0.44

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Withdrawn Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
571 students

0.97

0.98

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,576 students

11.09

11.13

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
663 students

11.13

11.18

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Black, Head Start;
731 students

12.31

12.34

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
567 students

5.57

5.44

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
664 students

3.17

3.13

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
571 students

2.27

2.23

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, Kindergarten;
1,556 students

11.1

11.17

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
570 students

11.05

11.12

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
673 students

11.02

11.09

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
650 students

11.13

11.18

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
673 students

6.3

6.14

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, Kindergarten;
1,555 students

5.18

4.99

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
568 students

1.48

1.39

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
650 students

1.65

1.56

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Aggressive Behavior Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,166 students

48.56

49.12

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Aggressive Behavior Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
414 students

49.08

48.52

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Problems with Structured Learning Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,226 students

51.03

50.29

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Shy/Socially Reticent Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
494 students

47.68

47.1

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
568 students

11.09

11.19

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

4 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 3;
1,508 students

11.95

12.11

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
571 students

5.38

5.13

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
571 students

1.56

1.44

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Withdrawn Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
664 students

0.66

0.58

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Problems with Structured Learning Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
430 students

51.84

50.76

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Problems with Structured Learning Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
464 students

51.96

50.77

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Withdrawn-Low Energy Behavior Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,177 students

49.87

49.22

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Withdrawn-Low Energy Behavior Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
491 students

50.06

49.35

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

4 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 3;
1,156 students

0.02

0.12

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Hyperactive Behavior Subscale (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, Kindergarten;
1,556 students

1.53

1.39

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Withdrawn-Low Energy Behavior Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
419 students

48.95

48

No

--

Total Problem Behavior Scale (TPBS), Aggressive Behavior Subscale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
673 students

3.07

2.87

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Oppositional Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
417 students

49.03

47.82

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Problems with Peer Interaction Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
430 students

51.62

50.08

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Shy/Socially Reticent Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Grade 1;
1,182 students

48

46.76

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
664 students

12.36

12.62

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Problems with Structured Learning Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
430 students

50.35

48.76

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Head Start;
673 students

12.24

12.53

No

--

Social Competencies Checklist

Head Start vs. Business as usual

0 Years

3-year-old cohort, Black, Head Start;
731 students

10.72

11.03

No

--

Social Skills and Positive Approaches to Learning Scale

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, Hispanic, Grade 1;
650 students

12.68

13.06

No

--

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Problems with Teacher Interaction Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
464 students

50.59

47.71

No

-11
 
 

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Shy/Socially Reticent Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

1 Year

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Kindergarten;
420 students

48.04

45.87

No

-11
 
 

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Withdrawn-Low Energy Behavior Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
452 students

50.38

48.31

No

-11
 
 

Adjustment Scales for Preschool Intervention (ASPI), Shy/Socially Reticent Dimension (Negative)

Head Start vs. Business as usual

2 Years

4-year-old cohort, White/Other, Grade 1;
451 students

48.66

46.17

No

-13
 
 

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 51%
    Male: 49%
  • Race
    Black
    25%
    Not specified
    5%
    White
    25%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    44%
    Not Hispanic
    56%

  • Rural, Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

    Midwest, Northeast, South, West

Setting

The study was conducted using a nationally-representative sample of Head Start programs in the United States. Head Start programs in Puerto Rico were included in the original sample, but were analyzed separately and are not included in this report, since the assessments were provided only in Spanish, which is outside the scope of the review protocol for the Early Childhood Education topic area (version 3.0).

Study sample

The sample was created using a multistage process. All Head Start and delegate agencies in fiscal year 1998–99 were stratified by geography and demographic characteristics, and a random sample was then drawn from this list. Head Start and delegate agencies were excluded from the sample pool if they were new grantees, were administered by American Indian/Alaska Native tribal organizations, had participated in the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2000, ran programs that were exclusively Early Head Start or Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, or had operated in communities in which most children participated in Head Start (this is because these programs were “saturated,” meaning there would be a limited chance of forming a comparison group, since so many children were already being served). Subsequently, eligible Head Start programs were randomly sampled from within delegate agencies. Similar to the criteria used above to exclude Head Start and delegate agencies, Head Start programs were excluded from the sample pool if they were saturated, had closed or merged with another program, were co-operated with a non-Head Start agency (e.g., a private preschool program), or were exclusively Early Head Start or Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs. Finally, children were randomly selected from the applicant pool of each program and then randomly assigned either to be offered Head Start or to be in the comparison group. Programs were allowed to exclude a limited number of children from the random assignment process if they were thought to be “high-risk” and in particular need of Head Start services. These children were not included in the impact analysis. The study design and presentation of findings focused on two cohorts of children: Three-year-old cohort: Children who were 3-years-old when applying to Head Start. The baseline sample included 383 Head Start programs, 1,466 children in the Head Start group, and 988 children in the comparison group. The analytic sample (after attrition) included at most 2,062 children (1,278 intervention and 784 comparison) for the general reading achievement and social-emotional development outcome domains. Four-year-old cohort: Children who were 4-years-old when applying to Head Start. The baseline sample included 383 Head Start programs, 1,192 children in the Head Start group, and 815 children in the comparison group. The analytic sample (after attrition) included at most 1,635 children (1,008 intervention and 627 comparison), depending on the outcome. Children in both cohorts were followed through the spring of third grade. Approximately 50% of the 3-year-old children who were originally assigned to the comparison group enrolled in Head Start as 4-year-olds. As a result, the desired contest was not maintained after the first year. Any impacts examined with the 3-year-old cohort after the first year of Head Start were determined to not be a test of the effectiveness of Head Start and are not included in this intervention report.

Intervention Group

Head Start includes diverse program models, and the study intervention group did as well. The intervention group included: center-based programs with home visits (the most common type), programs in which Head Start staff visited families at their homes, family child care programs, and programs that combined these models. Individual Head Start programs maintained their standard practices during the study. The programs in the Head Start group varied in terms of their quality, the specific types of services provided, and the numbers of months and hours the programs were available. In addition, children’s attendance levels varied.

Comparison Group

Parents of children in the comparison group were free to enroll their children in any program other than the Head Start programs in the study (or to not enroll them in any program). Consequently, children in the comparison group experienced diverse types of early care and education settings ranging from parent-only care to programs that were similar in type and services to Head Start. Authors reported that 17.3% of the 3-year-old baseline comparison group were enrolled in Head Start programs that were not part of the study in spite of their study group assignment. Authors reported that 13.9% of the 4-year-old baseline comparison group were enrolled in Head Start programs that were not part of the study in spite of their study group assignment.

Support for implementation

The study did not report information on the support or professional development offered in Head Start programs.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Bitler, M. P., Hoynes, H. W., & Domina, T. (2013). Experimental evidence on distributional effects of Head Start (NBER Working Paper 20434). Cambridge, MA: NBER.

  • Puma, M., Bell, S., Cook, R., Heid, C., Broene, P., Jenkins, F., & Downer, J. (2012). Third grade follow-up to the Head Start impact study final report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. (2005). Head Start impact study: First year findings. Washington, DC.

 

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