Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS), United States, 2007-2008 (ICPSR 35003)
Published: Apr 18, 2018
Version V2 (see more versions)
HSIS Third Grade Follow-up, 2007-2008
Since its beginning in 1965 as a part of the War on Poverty, Head Start's goal has been to boost the school readiness of low income children. Based on a "whole child" model, the program provides comprehensive services that include preschool education; medical, dental, and mental health care; nutrition services; and efforts to help parents foster their child's development. Head Start services are designed to be responsive to each child's and family's ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.
In the 1998 reauthorization of Head Start, Congress mandated that the United States Department of Health and Human Services determine, on a national level, the impact of Head Start on the children it serves. This legislative mandate required that the impact study address two main research questions:
- What difference does Head Start make to key outcomes of development and learning (and in particular, the multiple domains of school readiness) for low-income children? What difference does Head Start make to parental practices that contribute to children's school readiness?
- Under what circumstances does Head Start achieve the greatest impact? What works for which children? What Head Start services are most related to impact?
The Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) addresses these questions by reporting on the impacts of Head Start on children and families during the children's preschool, kindergarten, and first grade years. The HSIS was conducted with a nationally representative sample of nearly 5,000 three- and four-year old preschool children across 84 nationally representative grantee/delegate agencies in communities where there are more eligible children and families than can be served by the program. The children participating were randomly assigned to either a treatment group (which had access to Head Start services) or a comparison group (which did not have access to Head Start services, but could receive other community resources). The HSIS data collection began in the fall of 2002 and ended in spring 2006, following children through the spring of their first grade year. Baseline data were collected through parent interviews and child assessments in fall 2002. The annual spring data collection included child assessments, parent interviews, teacher surveys, and teacher-child ratings. In addition, during the preschool years only, data collection included classroom and family day care observations, center director interviews, care provider interviews, and care provider-child ratings.
The Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study builds upon the existing randomized control design in the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) in order to determine the longer-term impact of the Head Start program on the well-being of children and families through the end of third grade. The data collection for the Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study was conducted during the spring of the children's third grade year (2007 and 2008). In addition to the child assessments, parent interviews, teacher surveys, and teacher-child-ratings used for the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS) data collection, a principal survey was added to collect school data, including school demographics, and characteristics and quality indicators for schools, teachers and classrooms. As part of the third grade child assessment, self-reported data also was collected on the child's perception of his/her academic and social skills.
Both studies, for different grade levels, examined differences in outcomes in several domains related to school readiness: children's cognitive, social-emotional, health, and parenting outcomes (e.g., use of spanking, exposing children to cultural enrichment activities, and parenting styles). It also examined whether impacts differed based on characteristics of the children and their families, including the child's pre-academic skills at the beginning of the study; the child's primary language; whether the child has special needs; the mother's race/ethnicity; the primary caregiver's level of depressive symptoms; household risk; and urban or rural location.
United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Public Use Files: The Head Start Impact Study documentation is public use and is available for download. Documentation includes the User Guide, Questionnaires and Codebooks.
Restricted Use Files: To protect respondent privacy, the Head Start Impact Study 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, 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
2007 -- 2008
Date of Collection
Data Collection Notes
This is the third-grade follow-up study to the Head Start Impact Study (HSIS), 2002-2006.
The primary purpose of the Head Start Impact Study is to determine whether Head Start has impacts on participating children and their parents and whether any impacts vary among different types of children and families. By impact, we mean a difference between the outcomes observed for Head Start participants and what would have been observed for these same individuals had they not participated in Head Start.
The Third Grade Follow-up was conducted in order to determine the longer-term impact of the Head Start program on the well-being of children and families through the end of third grade.
The study was designed to separately examine two cohorts of children, newly entering three- and four-year-olds. This design reflects the hypothesis that different program impacts may be associated with different age of entry into Head Start. Differential impacts were of particular interest in light of a trend of increased enrollment of the three-year-olds in some grantee/delegate agencies presumably due to the growing availability of preschool options for four-year-olds. Consequently, the study included two separate samples: a newly entering three-year-old group (to be studied through two years of Head Start participation i.e., Head Start year and age four year, kindergarten and first grade), and a newly entering four-year-old group (to be studied through one year of Head Start participation, kindergarten and first grade).
Third Grade Follow-up data was collected through parent interviews and child assessments in the spring of 2007 and spring of 2008. Data collection included child assessments, parent interviews, teacher surveys, and teacher-child ratings (similar to the original HSIS study). In addition, school principal survey data was collected. Outcome measures were developed in four domains: child cognitive development, child social-emotional development, health, and parenting practices.
The Head Start Impact Study is based on a nationally representative sample of both Head Start programs and children. First-time applicants to Head Start in fall 2002 were randomly selected from a nationally representative sample of Head Start programs.The study used a multi-stage sampling process to select a representative group of Head Start programs. The children were randomly assigned to the Head Start group or the control group.
For a detailed sampling description, users should refer to the Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study Final Report.
All newly entering three- and four-year-olds in all Head Start programs operating in 2002-2003, except those serving only special populations (i.e., programs serving primarily migrant or seasonal farmworkers and their families, American Indian or Alaskan Native tribal populations, or Early Head Start children), very new programs, or programs in communities that did not have more children eligible for Head Start than could be served with the existing number of funded slots. In this data collection, this sample of children is in third grade.
Unit(s) of Observation
Mode of Data Collection
Description of Variables
The measures used in this study fall into three categories:
- child and family demographics and other characteristics collected at baseline that were used as covariates in impact analyses and also used to form child and family subgroups
- child and family outcome measures (i.e. the variables on which program impacts were estimated)
- characteristics of the school experiences of participating children
Response rates for each instrument by data collection period, cohort (three- or four-year-old cohort), and status (treatment or control group) are provided in the User Guide.
Presence of Common Scales
The following are a list of measures used in the study. All assessments and other outcome measures are described in the Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study Final Report.
- PPVT (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-adapted)
- Woodcock-Johnson III Letter-Word Identification
- Woodcock-Johnson III Applied Problems
- Woodcock-Johnson III Calculation
- ECLS-K Third Grade Reading Assessment
- Woodcock-Munoz Letter Word Identification
- Self-Description Questionnaire (SDQ)
Weights are attached to each child in the files. Cross sectional weights are provided for the Third Grade Follow-up data collection period. The final program and center weights are also provided.
Careful consideration should be given to the choice of weight for a specific analysis since it depends on the type of data analyzed. Each set of weights is appropriate for a different set of data or combination of sets of data. A general description of the types of weights available for use is provided in the User Guide. For a more detailed description about the weights, users should refer to Appendix A in the Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study Final Report.
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.
This study is provided by Child Care & Early Education Research Connections.