Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), 1997-2018

Project Overview

The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) provides descriptive information on the characteristics, experiences and outcomes of Head Start children and families, as well as the characteristics of the Head Start programs that serve them. Five FACES cohorts have been fielded to date – FACES 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009.

Each FACES cohort includes a nationally representative sample of 3- to 4-year-old children entering Head Start for the first time in the fall of the program year, their families, Head Start teachers, classrooms, centers, and programs. Children are sampled from Head Start programs and centers from across the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The children and families in each cohort participate in the study for 2-3 years depending on the children’s age when they enter Head Start. Data are collected in the fall and spring of the children’s first year in Head Start, at the end of their second program year for children who entered the program at age 3, and at the end of kindergarten for children who completed one or two years of the program. (Children in the FACES 1997 cohort were followed until the end of first grade.)

At each wave of data collection, FACES children are administered a one-on-one assessment of their development that includes important school readiness skills in language, literacy, and mathematics, as well as measurement of their height and weight (FACES 2006 and 2009 only). Parents are interviewed and asked questions about their child’s health and development, family life, and Head Start experience. Head Start teachers and kindergarten teachers provide information about the sampled children’s classroom experiences and their social skills and behaviors. Head Start program and center directors and education coordinators provide information on program policies and practices. Head Start staff and kindergarten teachers also provide information on their own educational backgrounds and credentials. Classrooms are observed to measure structural and process quality, including teacher-child interaction.

The points of contact are Maria Woolverton and Mary Mueggenborg.

FACES Data Archive

FACES data from the 1997 – 2006 cohorts are archived by Research Connections, a web-based clearinghouse of resources from the many disciplines related to child care and early education. FACES instruments and other documentation from these cohorts are available as well. For more information, email contact@childcareresearch.org.

FACES Instruments

Instruments for the FACES 1997 – 2006 cohorts are indexed and made available (with the exception of copyrighted instruments) in the Research Connections database. A FACES Instrument Matrix provides a complete list of the instruments used in each cohort.

  • FACES Instrument Matrix

    Published: June 15, 2010

    The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) uses many instruments to collect data…

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