Data Tables for FACES 2006: A Second Year in Head Start Report

Published: December 15, 2010
Head Start
Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), 1997-2018 | Learn more about this project

Head Start is a national program that aims to promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social, and other services to enrolled children and families. The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private nonprofit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families; the Office of Head Start emphasizes a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the reading and mathematics skills they need to be successful in school. The program also seeks to engage parents in their children’s learning and to promote their progress toward their own educational, literacy, and employment goals (Administration for Children and Families [ACF] 2009).

The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) was first launched in 1997 as a periodic longitudinal study of program performance. Successive nationally representative samples of Head Start children, their families, classrooms, and programs provide descriptive information on the population served; staff qualifications, credentials, beliefs, and opinions; classroom practices and quality measures; and child and family outcomes. FACES includes a battery of direct child assessments across multiple domains. It also comprises interviews with the child’s parents, teachers, and program managers, as well as direct observations of classroom quality. (For background information on FACES 2006, see West et al. 2007, Tarullo et al. 2008, West et al. 2008; and West et al. 2010.) FACES is a tool for measuring Head Start program performance at the national level. This recurring data collection provides the means to assess program performance both currently and over time.

This set of tables is designed to accompany a research brief which profiles the second year in the program for 3-year-old Head Start children and families who were newly enrolled in fall 2006 (ACF 2010b) and are still attending in spring 2008. FACES selects two groups of first-time enrollees— those entering at age 4 and those entering at age 3—who are expected to attend Head Start for one or two years, respectively, prior to kindergarten entry. The 3-year-old group is of particular interest for several reasons: (1) as the Head Start Program Information Report (PIR) shows, 3-year-olds occupy a growing share of the total population served by Head Start, increasing from 24 percent in 1980 to 40 percent in 2007 (ACF 2010a); (2) they may differ in important characteristics from children who enter at age 4 in terms of developmental level and exposure to prior care experiences; and (3) they have the potential to continue in Head Start for two program years or to leave for another prekindergarten experience.