TITLE: Head Start Program Performance Measures: Second Progress Report

ABSTRACT: Head Start has made dramatic progress toward developing an outcome-oriented accountability system, the Program Performance Measures Initiative, which can be used to determine the quality and effectiveness of Head Start. Based on the ultimate goal of Head Start--promoting the social competence of children, which is reflected in a comprehensive view of school readiness--the Performance Measures are a set of indicators that chart progress in: (1) enhancing children's healthy growth and development, (2) strengthening families as the primary nurturers of their children, (3) providing children with educational, health and nutritional services, (4) linking children and families to needed community services, and (5) ensuring well-managed programs that involve parents in decision-making. The data in this report are drawn from the Spring 1997 Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) field test, in which approximately 2,400 parents and children were studied in a nationally representative sample of 40 Head Start programs across the country. The survey, planned as a periodic longitudinal data collection, was an opportunity to assess the feasibility of interviewing and assessing parents and children on a large scale using selected instruments. It provided valuable information on the status of Head Start programs, children and families. Overall results from FACES indicate that: (1) Head Start classroom quality is good; (2) Head Start children are ready for school; (3) program quality is linked to child performance; and (4) Head Start families are involved, despite challenges. FACES provides information about children as they enter the program, their experiences in Head Start, and their status both at school entry and after a year of kindergarten. The full study, launched in Fall, 1997, follows 3200 children and families in 40 Head Start programs. The ongoing Performance Measures Initiative will help Head Start chart its progress in meeting GPRA goals and improving services.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Administration on Children, Youth and Families

FEDERAL CONTACT: Louisa Tarullo, Ed.D.

PHONE NUMBER: 202-205-8324

PIC ID: 6331.1

PERFORMER ORGANIZATION: Westat, Inc. Rockville, MD; Ellsworth Associates; Abt Associates, Cambridge MA, and The CDM Group, Bethesda, MD