Tracking Quality in Head Start Classrooms: FACES 2006 to FACES 2014 (Technical Report)

Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Nov 30, 2016
Nikki Aikens, Charles Bush, Philip Gleason, Lizabeth Malone, and Louisa Tarullo

Key Findings:

  • Average scores on the two factors of the ECERS-R improve across cohorts, including from FACES 2006 to 2014 and from FACES 2009 to 2014.
  • CLASS Instructional Support scores increase from FACES 2006 to 2014, and there are fewer classrooms scoring in the low range.
  • The percentage of classrooms with a teacher who has a bachelor’s degree or higher increases from FACES 2006 to 2014.
  • Changes in teacher characteristics that we examined accounted for only 15 percent of the trends in observed classroom quality.
In this report, we highlight findings from cross-cohort analyses of data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) 2006, 2009, and 2014. The analyses (1) provide a descriptive portrait of observed classroom quality and other relevant classroom, teacher,  and program characteristics at each time period; (2) determine the existence of trends or patterns in observed classroom quality and selected classroom, teacher, and program characteristics across cohorts; and (3) examine whether changes in such characteristics can explain the trends in observed classroom quality fully, partially, or not at all. We first describe the research questions the analyses are intended to address and then provide a brief overview of the FACES design across cohorts, including a description of any caveats related to the instrumentation and sampling across cohorts. Next, we describe our analytic approach and summarize findings from each analysis. We conclude this report with a discussion of the implications of the findings for future research. A companion policy brief (Aikens et al. 2016), also highlights a subset of the current findings.