*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In the current paper, we use data from the Head Start treatment year to address this possibility. Specifically, we will examine whether there is statistically significant variation in Head Start’s impacts on children’s cognitive outcomes across individual children, subgroups of children, and Head Start centers. To do so, we use a new and innovative methodology for estimating sources of variation in program impacts (Bloom, 2012). Outcomes used in our study include the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (Dunn & Dunn, 1997), the Woodcock-Johnson Letter-Word Identification subscale, the Woodcock-Johnson Oral Comprehension subscale, and the Woodcock-Johnson Applied Problems subscale (Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001). These tests measure children’s receptive vocabulary, early reading, text comprehension, and early mathematics, respectively. Our sample includes all three-year-old and four-year-old children randomized to either receive Head Start in the treatment year or to a business-as-usual control condition and who were tested at the end of the first year of the study (N=approximately 3,505 children in 180 center groups).
Analysis is ongoing, but preliminary work suggests that there is statistically significant variation in Head Start impacts across center groups on children’ early reading and text comprehension skills (p<.05). There are no statistically significant differences across center groups on children’s receptive vocabulary or early mathematics skills. At APPAM, we will also present impact variation results across individuals and subgroups. Findings will be discussed in the context of currently evolving policy proposals to combine early childhood funding streams to expand preschool access to all U.S. 4-year-old children.