Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES): 2003 Cohort [United States] (ICPSR 22580)

Published: Oct 2, 2015

Principal Investigator(s):
United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation



Version V6

The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) is an ongoing national longitudinal study of the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development of Head Start children. It examines the characteristics, well-being, and accomplishments of families, the observed quality of Head Start classrooms, and the characteristics and opinions of Head Start teachers and other program staff. FACES was designed to address four central questions related to program performance objectives:

  1. Does Head Start enhance children's development and school readiness?
  2. Does Head Start strengthen families as the primary nurturers of their children?
  3. Does head Start provide children with high quality educational, health, and nutritional services?
  4. How is classroom quality related to child outcomes?

The FACES 2003 Cohort involved a nationally representative sample of children and families in Head Start programs in the United States who were studied at entry into the program in the fall of 2003, assessed at the completion of their program experience, and followed up at the end of their kindergarten year. The FACES 2003 battery has five main components: the child assessment, parent interview, teacher and staff interviews, classroom observations and teacher-child reports.

  1. The child assessments included the major components of school readiness, and were collected through direct child assessments and rating scales completed by parents and teachers. Some of the direct child assessments included the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Third Edition-Revised (PPVT-III), Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised, McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities, story and print concepts, social awareness, color names and one-to-one counting and assessor ratings.

  2. The parent interview was designed to provide Head Start with a comprehensive understanding of the families that they serve, including the characteristics of households and household members, levels and types of participation in the program and in other community services, involvement with their children, and an understanding of their children's development. In addition to this, parents were asked to rate each child on a set of behaviors that assessed the child's basic social skills and behavior problems.

  3. The teacher and staff interview was designed to provide information on Head Start personnel experience, education, and training as well as knowledge and beliefs about child development, and educational activities with children and parents.

  4. The classroom observations were designed to measure peer interactions, friendships of children, and the extent to which Head Start programs employed skilled teachers and provided developmentally appropriate environments and curricula for their children. Some of the assessments used included the Assessment Profile, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R), classroom observation of teacher-directed activities, and the Arnett Caregiver Interaction Scale.

  5. The teacher-child report was designed to capture important sources of information about children's learning and behavior through the use of the Teacher-Child Report (TCR), social skills ratings, the Behavior Problems scale and the Preschool Learning Behavior Scale (PLBS).

United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES): 2003 Cohort [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2015-10-02. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR22580.v6

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (Contract order number 03Y003118101D, Head Start Performance Measures Center: FACES and Quality Research Centers Consortium)

This data collection may not be used for any purpose other than statistical reporting and analysis. Use of these data to learn the identity of any person or establishment is prohibited. To protect respondent privacy, the FACES 2003 Cohort data are restricted from general dissemination. Access to parts of this study requires a signed User Agreement. To obtain the file(s), researchers must agree to the terms and conditions of the Restricted Data Use Agreement, which is included with every download and can also be obtained separately on the Browse Documentation page.

2003 -- 2006 (Fall 2003 through Spring 2006)

  • Project Officer

    The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey would like to acknowledge Maria Woolverton's role as the ACF Project Officer.

  • Principal Investigator

    Nicholas Zill, Ph.D. (Westat) was the Principal Investigator for this project.

  • Acknowledgment

    Special collaborators on data collection for the FACES 2003 dataset include subcontractors Xtria and CDM Group, Inc.).

  • Additional Resources

    Reports based on this data collection are available at the Administration for Children and Families Web site.

To conform with ICPSR filenaming conventions, data and documentation files have been assigned new file names that differ from those assigned by the original data producer, Westat, Inc. A crosswalk document (linking old data file names to new ones) may be found within each of the PDF codebooks and the User Guide.

A representative sample of 2,400 children who were 3 and 4 years old and their parents in a stratified national probability sample of 63 Head Start programs.

The programs participating in the FACES 2003 Cohort were randomly selected from 1,669 Head Start programs that were constructed from the 2002-2003 Program Information Report (PIR).

observational data

survey data



2015-10-02 Added a variable search function to the study homepage.

2013-07-08 The FACES instrument matrix has been updated to include the 2009 cohort.

2013-05-13 The FACES instrument matrix has been updated and the FACES-produced questionnaires are now available in the documentation download.

2010-12-16 The Restricted Data Use Agreement has been updated.

2010-10-27 Updated the FACES Instrument Matrix to include the 2006 cohort.

2010-07-14 A Code Book cover was updated.

2010-07-12 The FACES Instrument Matrix and public PDF versions of the Codebooks have been added.

2010-02-05 The Restricted Data Use Agreement was updated.

2009-04-01 User Guide bookmarks were updated.

2009-02-10 The description of Teacher Beliefs Scale has been updated in the User Guide.

2008-09-10 The Restricted Data Use Agreement has been added.

2008-07-09 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:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The FACES 2003 data include both full sample weights and replicate weights. There are cross-sectional weights for the fall 2003 child-level and class-level data files and cross-sectional weights for the spring 2004 child-level data files. Additionally, there are longitudinal weights for the fall 2003 through spring 2004 child-level data and for the fall 2003 through spring 2005/spring 2006 child-level data. There are cross-sectional child-level weights for the spring 2005/spring 2006 data and a single set of jackknife factors for use with all of the weights.

Consult the Data User's Guide for a more in-depth explanation of the weights, the weighting procedure, and the specific formulas used for each of the weights.


  • 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.