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Program Assessment


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Head Start

Head Start aims to prepare low-income children succeed in school by providing comprehensive child development programs to children under five and their families. Services include center-based programs, home visiting programs, and Early Head Start programs for children under three. Grantees are chosen/monitored federally.


What This Rating Means

Moderately Effective

In general, a program rated Moderately Effective has set ambitious goals and is well-managed. Moderately Effective programs likely need to improve their efficiency or address other problems in the programs' design or management in order to achieve better results.
  • Head Start demonstrates some success in closing the school readiness gap between low income children and their peers. Head Start has implemented a system to assess the performance of individual Head Start program grantees in preparing children for school.
  • By statute, funds are distributed in a way that significantly limits competition: priority is given to existing Head Start programs, unless they fail to meet program requirements. Grantees are reviewed on-site every three years, and the monitoring system has been improved.
  • Head Start has established coordination offices in each state that work to integrate Head Start with child care programs and other early education services, which is much needed. Consistent with the President's Good Start, Grow Smart initiative, the Office of Head Start and State Collaboration Directors are working to improve alignment of preschool and kindergarten curricula.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Using outcome data to help grantees improve school readiness. Analyze data from the NRS and PRISM to understand link between program activities and outcomes and use this in decision-making/planning.
  • Continuing to work with States to promote a coordinated early childhood education delivery system.
  • Developing measures to: assess social/emotional outcomes of Head Start children; assess child development outcomes of Early Head Start children; capture reductions in deficiencies among grantees.

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The content on is developed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and Federal agencies.