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Head Start Quality Research Centers Consortium I (QRC), 1995-2000

Project Overview

In 1995, the Head Start Bureau established four Quality Research Centers (QRCs) at (1) the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; (2) High/Scope Educational Research Foundation; (3) Education Development Center, Inc. (a consortium including Harvard University, Boston College, and the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children); and (4) Georgia State University. The objective of the QRC Consortium was to create an ongoing partnership among ACYF, Head Start grantees, and the academic research community, and to make possible through that partnership the exploration of important research questions relating to quality program practices and program outcomes that emerged over time in the work of these partners.

Purpose and Background

The objectives of the QRC Consortium were to: (1) Support the exploration of important research questions relating to quality in program practices; (2) Identify existing measures and develop, test, and refine new measures of program quality and methods of assessing program quality; (3) Develop ongoing databases and data analytic strategies useful for examining quality practices in Head Start programs; (4) Explore linkages among program practices, program quality measures, program performance measures, and observable outcomes for children and families; and (5) Provide an ongoing mechanism for information dissemination about quality program practices and measures to the Head Start, early childhood, and family support communities.

The QRC Consortium worked cooperatively with each other and with other relevant outside experts to develop instruments (parent interviews, classroom observation protocols, and child assessment procedures) that could be used to gather the Head Start Program Performance Measures that were recommended by expert advisers. Within the context of their own local research, they also pretested the instruments on children and families attending local Head Start programs affiliated with each QRC, and revised the instruments based on the results of these assessments.

Team Members

Federal Staff:

Louisa Tarullo
Project Officer 2000
Commissioner's Office of Research and Evaluation
Administration on Children, Youth and Families

Marita Hopmann
Project Officer 1997-2000
Commissioner's Office of Research and Evaluation
Administration on Children, Youth and Families

James Griffin
Project Officer 1995-1997
Commissioner's Office of Research and Evaluation
Administration on Children, Youth and Families

QRC Staff:

David Dickinson
Principal Investigator
Education Development Center, Inc.
55 Chapel Street
Newton, MA 02458

Martha Abbott-Shim
Principal Investigator
Quality Counts
4 Executive Park East #318
Atlanta, GA 30329

Lawrence Schweinhart
Research Division Chair
High/Scope Educational Research Foundation
600 North River Street
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Donna Bryant
Principal Investigator
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
105 Smith Level Road CB No. 8180
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Ellen Peisner-Feinberg
Co-Principal Investigator
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Suite 300 NationsBank Plaza, CB No. 8040
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Nicholas Zill
Project Director (PMC)
Westat, Inc.
TA2134
1500 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850

Ruth Hubbell McKey
Co-Project Director (PMC)
Ellsworth Associates, Inc.
1749 Old Meadow Road, Suite 600
McLean, VA 22102

Gary Resnick
Westat, Inc.
TA2134
1500 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850

Joint Presentations

Dickinson, D.K., Bryant, D., Peisner-Feinberg, E., Lambert, R. & Wolf, A. (1999, April). Phonemic awareness in Head Start children: Relationship to language and literacy and parenting variables. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Albuquerque, NM.

Hopmann, M. & Lambert, R. (1998, July). Symposium Co-chairs. Quality is the key to effectiveness: The Head Start Quality Research Consortium. Symposium presentation at the Head Start National Research Conference, Washington, D.C.

Griffin, J., Lopez, M., Bryant, D., Thigpen, B., Schweinhart, L.J., Okoloko, V., Rosenthal, B., Dickinson, D., Collins, F., Houlares, J., Abbott-Shim, M., Lambert, R., & Cunningham,G. (1996, June). Implementing the New Head Start research agenda: The Head Start Quality Research Center Consortium. Symposium conducted at Head Start's Third National Research Conference, June 1996.

Hopmann, M., Abbott-Shim, M., Peisner-Feinberg, E., Howard, C., Oden, S., & Cunningham,G. (2000, April). Improving quality in the Classroom: Observations and recommendations from Head Start Quality Research Centers. Symposium conducted at the National Head Start Association Conference, April 2000.

Hopmann, M., Abbott-Shim, M., Bryant, D., Dickinson, D., Lambert, R., Schweinhart, L., Sayer, A., & Cunningham,G. (2000, June). Improving quality in the classroom: Observations and recommendations from Head Start Quality Research Centers. Symposium conducted at Head Start's Fifth National Research Conference, June 2000.

Abbott-Shim, M., Dickinson, D., Schweinhart, L., Bryant, D., & Lambert, R. (2000, November). Improving quality in the classroom: Observations and recommendations from the Head Start Quality Research Centers. Presentation at National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference, November 2000.