Jessica Harding

Jessica Harding

Areas of Expertise
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Research design
  • Parental well-being and self-sufficiency
  • Early childhood education programs and systems
  • Child Development
  • Early Childhood Systems
  • Systematic Evidence Reviews
  • Strengthening Families and Responsible Fatherhood
About Jessica

Jessica Harding studies early childhood education and programs that support at-risk families to promote their children’s development, including through increasing parents’ income, employment, education, parenting skills, and engagement with their children’s education. 

As part of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) team, Harding conducts quantitative analyses of Head Start children’s development. For example, she has led analyses to examine whether changes in children’s demographic characteristics explain changes in their outcomes across FACES cohorts. Harding provides technical assistance to grantees and conducts implementation evaluations, including (1) coaching Strengthening Working Families Initiative grantees who support parents facing barriers to training for middle- or high-skilled jobs and (2) working with the National Center on Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships to inform its continuous quality improvement. Harding also works on systematic evidence reviews and currently leads a review of programs to support pregnant and parenting adolescents.

Harding joined Mathematica in 2016. Her work has been published in top-tier journals, including the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, Developmental Psychology, and the Journal of Marriage and Family. She received her Ph.D. in applied psychology from New York University.

Key Projects
  • Head Start: The Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES)

    Mathematica conducted five-year studies of the 2006 and 2009 FACES cohorts, and, for the most recent study (2014-2018), redesigned FACES to provide key data more rapidly and with greater frequency and to help researchers examine more complex issues and topics in greater detail and efficiency.