Tag Archives: Head Start Advantages Mostly Gone by 3rd Grade

Final report of ‘Head Start’ study: Early gains may not last

25 Dec

In Embracing parents as education leaders, moi said:

Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:

One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved.  Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/try-parent-visits-not-parent-takeovers-of-schools/2012/05/30/gJQAlDDz2U_story.html

The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement.http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd


Julia Lawrence of Education News reports in the article, Kentucky Venture Aims to Train Parents to Become Ed Leaders:

When the Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership opens its doors in Kentucky, it will do so with the goal of getting parents more involved in their children’s academic lives. The Institute’s mission will be to empower parents to take a more active role in determining the future direction of their local education system, which includes greater participation in parent-teacher groups, local school boards and school councils.

Kentucky residents who wish to get involved will have an opportunity to enroll in a 24-month mentoring program offered by the Institute, which will introduce them to the ins and outs of the state’s academic system. Institute leaders say that parents will graduate from the course having learned “the business of education,” leaving them more able to understand the problems confronting state schools today.

Their attempts at involvement will no longer be thwarted by unfamiliar jargon and impenetrable quantitative reports. The goal at graduation will be to have parents not only fully cognizant of the current issues facing K-12 education in the state but also ready to provide solutions for those issues as well….

The CIPL will be building on top of the work done by the existing Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership, which has been working for more than 15 years on ways to keep parents in the loop on education. Over 1,600 Kentucky parents have gone through the programs offered by the CIPL, with many going on to take leadership positions in their schools, districts and even at state level. According to KYForward.com, CIPL boasts recruiting two people who have served on the Kentucky Board of Education.

Furthermore, as CIPL expanded its reach, it created a self-perpetuating network among the state’s parents. Those who go through CIPL later go on to recruit and mentor up to 20 other parents each – all in service of giving parents a greater voice in their children’s education…..

In the end, the aim of the Institute is to convince parents that with the right preparation they can have a real, positive impact on student achievement statewide.  http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/kys-new-venture-aims-to-train-parents-to-become-ed-leaders/


Parental support is a key ingredient in learning.

Lesli A. Maxwell reports in the Education Week article, Head Start Advantages Mostly Gone by 3rd Grade, Study Finds:

In the first phase of the evaluation, a group of children who entered Head Start at age 4 saw benefits from spending one year in the program, including learning vocabulary, letter-word recognition, spelling, color identification, and letter-naming, compared with children of the same age in a control group who didn’t attend Head Start. For children who entered Head Start at age 3, the gains were even greater, demonstrated by their language and literacy skills, as well their skills in learning math, prewriting, and perceptual motor skills.

The second phase of the study showed that those gains had faded considerably by the end of 1st grade, with Head Start children showing an edge only in learning vocabulary over their peers in the control group who had not participated in Head Start.

And now, in this final phase of the study, “there was little evidence of systematic differences in children’s elementary school experiences through 3rd grade, between children provided access to Head Start and their counterparts in the control group,” the researchers wrote in an executive summary…

Specifically, by the end of 3rd grade, 4-year-old Head Start participants showed only a single advantage in the areas of literacy, numeracy, and school performance over their peers in the control group. Only their performance on one reading assessment showed that they still retained some benefit over their control group counterparts. But, according to the study, their participation in Head Start showed no significant positive impacts on math skills, prewriting, promotion, or teachers’ reports of children’s school accomplishments. About 40 percent of the children in the control group did not receive formal preschool services; the rest did, just not through Head Start.

In the 3-year-old cohort, researchers found a learning disadvantage for those who had been in Head Start. Parents of the Head Start children reported lower rates of grade promotion than parents of the students who were not in the Head Start group….

When researchers examined the impacts on children’s social-emotional development, their findings were significantly different for the two age groups. For 4-year-olds, parents of Head Start participants reported less aggressive behavior at the end of 3rd grade than did the parents of the control group children. In contrast, teachers reported higher incidences of emotional problems in Head Start students, and less positive relationships with them. For the 3-year-old group, parents of Head Start participants reported better social skills in their children, compared to the control group parents.

In examining impacts on health, the researchers similarly found no remaining advantages of Head Start participation at the end of 3rd grade. Parenting practices however, still showed some positive benefits of Head Start participation in both age groups. For 4-year-olds in the Head Start group, parents reported spending more time with their children than did the control group parents, and in the 3-year-old group, researchers found that parents in the Head Start group were more likely to use a parenting style characterized by high warmth and high control.

Yasmina Vinci, the executive director of the National Head Start Association, called the vanishing impacts of Head Start in the early grades “troubling,” but noted that Head Start does its core job well by preparing disadvantaged children for kindergarten. “Our work with students ends when children graduate from Head Start, but it is clear that for many, their circumstances continue to hinder their success; circumstances including, but not limited to, the quality of their primary and secondary education,” she said in a prepared statement.

Ms. Guernsey said to sustain the positive impacts of any early-learning experience into the first years of elementary school requires more emphasis on improvements in kindergarten, first, and second grades.

“The idea that one or two years of preschool is a silver bullet really needs to be stripped from our minds,” she said. “The impact study from two years ago and this one now reminds us that the quality of the learning experience in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade really matters too.” http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/early_years/2012/12/head_start_advantages_mostly_gone_by_third_grade_study_finds.html

Here are some key points from the executive summary:

Key Findings

Looking across the full study period, from the beginning of Head Start through 3rd grade, the evidence is clear that access to Head Start improved children’s preschool outcomes across developmental domains, but had few impacts on children in kindergarten through 3rd grade. Providing access to Head Start was found to have a positive impact on the types and quality of preschool programs that children attended, with the study finding statistically significant differences between the Head Start group and the control group on every measure of children’s preschool experiences in the first year of the study. In contrast, there was little evidence of systematic differences in children’s elementary school experiences through 3rd grade, between children provided access to Head Start and their counterparts in the control group.

In terms of children’s well-being, there is also clear evidence that access to Head Start had an impact on children’s language and literacy development while children were in Head Start. These effects, albeit modest in magnitude, were found for both age cohorts during their first year of admission to the Head Start program. However, these early effects rapidly dissipated in elementary school, with only a single impact remaining at the end of 3rd grade for children in each age cohort.

With regard to children’s social-emotional development, the results differed by age cohort and by the person describing the child’s behavior. For children in the 4-year-old cohort, there were no observed impacts through the end of kindergarten but favorable impacts reported by parents and unfavorable impacts reported by teachers emerged at the end of 1st and 3rd grades. One unfavorable impact on the children’s self-report emerged at the end of 3rd grade. In contrast to the 4-year-old cohort, for the 3-year-old cohort there were favorable impacts on parent-reported social emotional outcomes in the early years of the study that continued into early elementary school. However, there were no impacts on teacher-reported measures of social-emotional development for the 3-year-old cohort at any data collection point or on the children’s self-reports in 3rd grade.

In the health domain, early favorable impacts were noted for both age cohorts, but by the end of 3rd grade, there were no remaining impacts for either age cohort. Finally, with regard to parenting practices, the impacts were concentrated in the younger cohort. For the 4-year-old cohort, there was one favorable impact across the years while there were several favorable impacts on parenting approaches and parent-child activities and interactions (all reported by parents) across the years for the 3-year-old cohort.

In summary, there were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts found for either cohort in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices. The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children.

In addition to looking at Head Start’s average impact across the diverse set of children and families who participated in the program, the study also examined how impacts varied among different types of participants. There is evidence that for some outcomes, Head Start had a differential impact for some subgroups of children over others. At the end of 3rd grade for the 3-year-old cohort, the most striking sustained subgroup findings were found in the cognitive domain for children from high risk households as well as for children of parents who reported no depressive symptoms. Among the 4-year-olds, sustained benefits were experienced by children of parents who reported mild depressive symptoms, severe depressive symptoms, and Black children. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/head_start_executive_summary.pdf

In addition to parent support affecting education outcome, another major factor is the impact of poverty.

In Study: Poverty affects education attainment, moi said:

In 3rd world America: Money changes everything, moi wrote:

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Sabrina Tavernise wrote an excellent New York Times article, Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say:

It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.

Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period….http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?emc=eta1

Teachers and schools have been made TOTALLY responsible for the education outcome of the children, many of whom come to school not ready to learn and who reside in families that for a variety of reasons cannot support their education. All children are capable of learning, but a one-size-fits-all approach does not serve all children well. Different populations of children will require different strategies and some children will require remedial help, early intervention, and family support to achieve their education goals.

Richard D. Kahlenberg, , a senior fellow at The Century Foundation wrote the informative Washington Post article, How to attack the growing educational gap between rich and poor. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-to-attack-the-growing-educational-gap-between-rich-and-poor/2012/02/10/gIQArDOg4Q_blog.html

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/3rd-world-america-money-changes-everything/



Tips for parent and teacher conferences                                    https://drwilda.com/2012/11/07/tips-for-parent-and-teacher-conferences/

Common Sense Media report: Media choices at home affect school performance                                                                      https://drwilda.com/2012/11/01/common-sense-media-report-media-choices-at-home-affect-school-performance/

Making time for family dinner                                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/09/10/making-time-for-family-dinner/ 

Policy brief: The fiscal and educational benefits of universal universal preschool https://drwilda.com/2012/11/25/policy-brief-the-fiscal-and-educational-benefits-of-universal-universal-preschool/

Studies: Lack of support and early parenthood cause kids to dropout                                                                                https://drwilda.com/2012/11/19/studies-lack-of-support-and-early-parenthood-cause-kids-to-dropout/

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