Education Report Roundup

Head Start Pupils’ Gains Found to Fade

By Mary Ann Zehr — January 19, 2010 1 min read

Participation in Head Start has positive effects on children’s learning while they are in the program, but most of that advantage disappears by the end of 1st grade, a federal study of Head Start programs says.

A randomized controlled study of nearly 5,000 low-income children released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week shows that a group of children who entered Head Start at age 4 benefited from a year in the program—particularly in learning language and literacy—compared with children of the same age who were eligible for Head Start but didn’t enroll in it. Benefits included learning vocabulary, letter-word recognition, spelling, color identification, and letter naming.

The learning advantages for children who entered Head Start at age 3 were even stronger. By the end of Head Start, that group showed gains in most of the language and learning areas that the 4-year-old group had, but also showed benefits in learning math, prewriting skills, and perceptual motor skills.

However, by the end of 1st grade, the study found, children who had attended Head Start had an edge in only one aspect of learning in comparison with control groups. Children in the Head Start 4-year-old group did significantly better on vocabulary than children in the control group. Head Start participants in the 3-year-old group performed better on oral comprehension than children in the study’s control group.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, whose agency oversees the federal preschool program, said in a statement about the study that for Head Start to achieve its full potential, we must improve its quality and promote high standards across all early-childhood programs.

A version of this article appeared in the January 20, 2010 edition of Education Week as Head Start Pupils’ Gains Found to Fade

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read