Design for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Survey, 2007-2011

Project Overview

To further the expansion of Head Start research efforts, the Head Start Act of 1998 called for continued evaluation and research activities that explore program quality and effectiveness, identify ways in which services may be improved, and contribute to the understanding of the characteristics and needs of population groups eligible for services. The ‘Design for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Survey’ project will provide ACF with a reliable and valid research plan to gather periodic information that describes the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs and participating families. In collaboration with Federal staff, this design project will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team of experts, including multicultural researchers, early childhood and dual language learner assessment experts, sampling and analytic specialists, and representatives from MSHS programs, families, and communities.

The Design Team will draw on the experiences and findings from the existing descriptive studies of Head Start such as The Family and Child Experiences Survey and The Early Head Start Survey. These surveys provide state-of-the-art models for conducting periodic program surveys of MSHS and accurate estimates of the resources necessary to implement the study. The MSHS Survey design will be tailored to consider the unique characteristics of MSHS programs and families such as language needs, culture, services provided to children from birth to five years old, family mobility, and shorter and erratic service seasons.

The result of this project will be a comprehensive, multi-method research design that describes variations in program services, identifies strengths and gaps in MSHS services, and describes the families and children served by the programs through observations, interviews, surveys, and direct assessments of children. The project will begin the work of establishing a collaborative research partnership with administrators, staff, children and families of MSHS and the Office of Head Start. The primary tasks of this project are to complete the sampling plan, select appropriate study instruments, provide a plan for working closely with MSHS programs, prepare a data collection plan, and develop a plan for data analyses.

The point of contact is Wendy DeCourcey.

Primary Design Team

The primary Design Team includes:

Robert W. O’Brien, Ph.D., The CDM Group, Inc. (Project Director)
Sandra Barrueco, Ph.D., The Catholic University of America (Co-PI)
Michael López, Ph.D., The National Center for Latino Child and Family Research (Co-PI)
Douglas Klayman, Ph.D., Social Dynamics, LLC
K.P. Srinath, Ph.D., Abt Associates, Inc.
Mary Ann D’Elio, M.S., The CDM Group, Inc.

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