In March 2001, the Head Start Bureau and the Commissioner's Office of Research and Evaluation in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families awarded eight cooperative agreements under the Head Start Quality Research Center (HSQRC) Consortium to promote the school readiness of preschool children in Head Start. The mission of the HSQRC Consortium is to support the continuous improvement of Head Start by developing, testing, refining, and disseminating interventions to enhance child outcomes in Head Start. To achieve the Consortium’s goal, the eight research organizations have been awarded five-year grants to work in partnership with local Head Start programs.
The HSQRCs were awarded grants to improve child outcomes in the areas of literacy, social-emotional development, and other domains of school readiness. Their interventions include enhancements to curriculum, teacher training and mentoring, parent involvement, and assessment practices. In the first year of the research, each partnership of researchers and Head Start programs launched studies to test individual interventions and the feasibility of using a common set of measures across sites in a pre-post design. These interventions were continued in the programs during the second year of the study while the effectiveness of the individual interventions was tested using common measures in a treatment/control design. In some cases, projects initiated experimental designs starting in year one. Therefore, for some interventions, the outcome data for treatment and control groups are available for two program years.