Head Start Impact Study Final Report

Posted by on February 01, 2010

Lukewarm results prompt Head Start overhaul

A congressionally-mandated study on the impact of the 2002-2003 Head Start program showed that at the end of one program year, access to Head Start positively influenced children’s school readiness, but when measured again at the end of kindergarten and first grade, Head Start children and control group children were at the same level. The study measured the cognitive and social/emotional development, health status, and behavior of approximately 5000 three- and four-year-olds randomly assigned to either a control group or a group with access to a Head Start program. In the wake of the report, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sibelius announced that her department is now in the process of raising Head Start performance standards; increasing program accountability by only renewing grants for high-quality, constantly improving programs; improving classroom practices by providing higher quality training for classroom teachers, staff, and program directors; improving technical assistance to grantees looking to improve their programs; and convening a research advisory committee to gather insights from the Head Start Impact Study and other relevant research to ensure continuity of quality programs.

See the report: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/impact_study/reports/impact_study/executive_summary_final.pdf

Read a release from HHS: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/01/20100113a.html

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