Jerry West is a senior fellow at Mathematica in Washington, DC, with over 25 years of experience designing and conducting studies of children, their families, and early care and education experiences.
West has guided national longitudinal studies of children’s development and learning from birth through middle childhood. He has also overseen national computer-assisted telephone interview surveys of child care and early school experiences.
West directs the 2006 and 2009 cohort of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) and oversaw the design of the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Study, 5th-Grade Follow-Up. Both studies include an extensive child assessment battery, computer-assisted interviews with parents conducted in program and home settings, observational measures, and data collection from early education programs, schools, and classroom teachers. He is the project director for a Congressionally mandated study of dual language learners attending Head Start and Early Head Start. He is coprincipal investigator and survey director for the National Title I Study of Implementation and Outcomes: Early Childhood Language Development, which is examining the relationships between school programs and classroom practices, and children's language development, background knowledge, and reading comprehension. The study includes multiple cohorts of children in prekindergarten through third grade.
Before joining Mathematica, West directed the Early Childhood and Household Studies Program at the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. He had management and design responsibility for the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth (ECLS-B) and Kindergarten (ECLS-K) cohort studies, and the National Household Education Survey. The ECLS-K is the first study to follow a national sample of children from the start of kindergarten through their first nine years of schooling, and the ECLS-B is the first to follow a national sample of children from birth to school. Hundreds of federal government reports, academic publications, and professional meeting presentations have used the ECLS-K data.
West has authored many reports, professional papers, and articles on school readiness, child care and early education, mothers’ and fathers’ involvement in their children’s education, and kindergarten in the United States. He is a member of the Research Connections Advisory Council and its Archive of Datasets Committee. A recognized expert on longitudinal research, is often consulted by those designing and conducting longitudinal studies of young children in the United States and abroad. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.