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  • Individual Author: Malone, Lizabeth; Bernstein, Sara; Atkins-Burnett, Sally; Xue, Yange
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Introduction

    AI/AN FACES 2015 is the first national study of Region XI AI/AN Head Start children and their families, classrooms, and programs. To date, the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) has been a major source of descriptive information on Head Start and preschool children ages 3 to 5 years old who attend the program. FACES gathers data from Regions I-X, the 10 geographically based Head Start regions, with the most recent round conducted in 2014.

    The AI/AN FACES 2015 study presents a new opportunity to explore the psychometric performance of commonly used measures of preschoolers’ cognitive and social-emotional development. The reliability and validity of a measure are not inherent but depend on its use. Norming samples for most child assessment measures do not include large numbers of AI/AN children and as a result little is known about measure performance when administered to AI/AN children. Concerns exist about whether scores from these measures accurately reflect the children’s abilities, skills, and knowledge. Previous...

    Introduction

    AI/AN FACES 2015 is the first national study of Region XI AI/AN Head Start children and their families, classrooms, and programs. To date, the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) has been a major source of descriptive information on Head Start and preschool children ages 3 to 5 years old who attend the program. FACES gathers data from Regions I-X, the 10 geographically based Head Start regions, with the most recent round conducted in 2014.

    The AI/AN FACES 2015 study presents a new opportunity to explore the psychometric performance of commonly used measures of preschoolers’ cognitive and social-emotional development. The reliability and validity of a measure are not inherent but depend on its use. Norming samples for most child assessment measures do not include large numbers of AI/AN children and as a result little is known about measure performance when administered to AI/AN children. Concerns exist about whether scores from these measures accurately reflect the children’s abilities, skills, and knowledge. Previous smaller studies have used these measures with AI/AN children, but none were large enough to test the measures’ psychometric performance. Child outcomes measures in AI/AN FACES 2015 were aligned with those in FACES 2014. Therefore, this alignment allows us to learn how standardized child development measures performed when administered to a large sample of AI/AN children.

    This report describes the performance of cognitive and social-emotional measures of preschoolers’ development for AI/AN children, using recent data from AI/AN FACES 2015 and FACES 2014.

    Purpose

    The purpose of this technical report is to present findings from analyses of how preschool cognitive and social-emotional measures performed in AI/AN FACES 2015. We examined the internal consistency of measures when administered to AI/AN children, reviewed descriptive statistics as context of difference in mean ability across groups in the AI/AN FACES 2015 and FACES 2014 samples, conducted analyses of differential item functioning (DIF) within cognitive measures to compare the performance of AI/AN children and White children (including data from FACES 2014), and examined the strength of bivariate correlations between measures of similar constructs and different constructs to assess evidence of concurrent and discriminant validity. The findings, therefore, provide initial evidence on the reliability and validity of the measures for AI/AN preschoolers.

    Key Findings and Highlights

    For most of the measures, findings from these analyses suggest that it is appropriate to report the AI/AN FACES 2015 preschool child outcomes scores, the exception being one of the two measures of executive function (Heads-Toes-Knees-Shoulders or HTKS, which was added to AI/AN FACES 2015 to expand measurement of this construct beyond what is used in FACES 2014).

    • All measures demonstrated acceptable reliability with alphas of 0.70 or above.
    • The strength of correlations between measures is in an expected pattern. Correlations are stronger between measures of similar constructs (for example, receptive and expressive language) than between different constructs (for example, social behavior and language).
    • Among six cognitive measures flagged across reviews, none warrant additional follow-up based on the DIF analyses. Most cognitive measures did not show evidence of performing differently across groups based on DIF analysis. Two cognitive measures (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Fourth Edition and Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test-Fourth Edition) had items demonstrating DIF; however, the number of items with DIF was close to or less than the number we would expect by chance and were balanced overall with some easier for AI/AN children and others easier for White children.
    • None of the teacher- and assessor-reported social-emotional measures exhibited performance concerns based on the current review.
    • Examination of the executive function measures indicated that the pencil tapping task is an appropriate measure for this sample. However, a floor problem was found with the HTKS, indicating the measure provided limited information to distinguish the children in this sample.

    These analyses are based on a specific sample of children—AI/AN children in Head Start programs operated by federally recognized tribes. While this information provides initial evidence of the reliability and validity for these measures of cognitive and social-emotional development, researchers should keep in mind the diversity of tribal communities and the AI/AN population nationwide and in Head Start more generally as compared to Region XI AI/AN Head Start when considering the use of these measures with other AI/AN children.

    Methods

    The AI/AN FACES 2015 sample provides information about Region XI Head Start children, their families, classrooms, centers, and programs. We selected a sample of Region XI Head Start programs from the 2012-2013 Head Start Program Information Report, selecting one to two centers per program and two to four classrooms per center. Within each classroom, all children (both AI/AN and non-AI/AN) were selected for the study. Twenty-one programs, 37 centers, 73 classrooms, and 1,049 children participated in the study.

    The FACES 2014 sample provides information at the national level about Head Start programs, centers, classrooms, and the children and families they serve. We selected a sample of Head Start programs from the 2012-2013 Head Start Program Information Report, with two centers per program and two classrooms per center selected for participation. Within each classroom, we randomly selected 12 children for the study. One-hundred seventy-six programs, 346 centers, 667 classrooms, and 2,206 children (in 60 programs) were still study participants in spring 2015. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Akee, Randall; Copeland, William; Costello, E. Jane; Simeonova, Emilia
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2018

    We examine the effects of a quasi-experimental unconditional household income transfer on child emotional and behavioral health and personality traits. Using longitudinal data, we find that there are large beneficial effects on children’s emotional and behavioral health and personality traits during adolescence. We find evidence that these effects are most pronounced for children who start out with the lowest initial endowments. The income intervention also results in improvements in parental relationships which we interpret as a potential mechanism behind our findings. (Author abstract) 

    We examine the effects of a quasi-experimental unconditional household income transfer on child emotional and behavioral health and personality traits. Using longitudinal data, we find that there are large beneficial effects on children’s emotional and behavioral health and personality traits during adolescence. We find evidence that these effects are most pronounced for children who start out with the lowest initial endowments. The income intervention also results in improvements in parental relationships which we interpret as a potential mechanism behind our findings. (Author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Bernstein, Sara; Malone, Lizabeth; AI/AN FACES 2015 Workgroup
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    It is important for Head Start to have information about children’s and families’ strengths and needs over the course of the program year. We examine Region XI Head Start children’s growth in cognitive skills (in language, literacy, and mathematics), social-emotional skills, and executive function during the program year to learn about their progress toward being ready for school. We also consider children’s physical health at the end of the program year, as it can influence children’s readiness for school. This research brief describes the developmental progress of Region XI Head Start children as they complete a program year (from fall 2015 to spring 2016), using recent data from the American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (AI/AN FACES 2015). (Author introduction)

    It is important for Head Start to have information about children’s and families’ strengths and needs over the course of the program year. We examine Region XI Head Start children’s growth in cognitive skills (in language, literacy, and mathematics), social-emotional skills, and executive function during the program year to learn about their progress toward being ready for school. We also consider children’s physical health at the end of the program year, as it can influence children’s readiness for school. This research brief describes the developmental progress of Region XI Head Start children as they complete a program year (from fall 2015 to spring 2016), using recent data from the American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (AI/AN FACES 2015). (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Cook, Steven T. ; Seki, Mai; Wimer, Lynn
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    Most families in the child protective services system also interact with the child support enforcement system. This study exploits a natural experiment in Wisconsin, created by the state's large regional variation in child support referral policy, to estimate a potentially important effect of child support enforcement on the duration of out-of-home foster care placement. The effect we examine is whether requiring parents to pay support to offset the costs of foster care delays children's reunification with a parent or other permanent placement. We find evidence of this unintended effect, which is important not only because longer foster care spells are expensive for taxpayers, but also because extended placements in foster care may have consequences for child well-being. Our results highlight the potential importance of cross-systems analysis and the potential consequences when the policies and fundamental objectives of public systems are inconsistently coordinated. We discuss the implications of our findings for child support and child protective services policy. (Author...

    Most families in the child protective services system also interact with the child support enforcement system. This study exploits a natural experiment in Wisconsin, created by the state's large regional variation in child support referral policy, to estimate a potentially important effect of child support enforcement on the duration of out-of-home foster care placement. The effect we examine is whether requiring parents to pay support to offset the costs of foster care delays children's reunification with a parent or other permanent placement. We find evidence of this unintended effect, which is important not only because longer foster care spells are expensive for taxpayers, but also because extended placements in foster care may have consequences for child well-being. Our results highlight the potential importance of cross-systems analysis and the potential consequences when the policies and fundamental objectives of public systems are inconsistently coordinated. We discuss the implications of our findings for child support and child protective services policy. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Herbst, Chris M.; Tekin, Erdal
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2016

    In this paper, we examine the impact of U.S. child-care subsidies on the cognitive and behavioral development of children in low-income female-headed families. We identify the effect of subsidy receipt by exploiting geographic variation in the distance that families must travel from home to reach the nearest social service agency that administers the subsidy application process. Using data from the Kindergarten cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, our instrumental variables estimates suggest that children receiving subsidized child care in the year before kindergarten score lower on tests of cognitive ability and reveal more behavior problems throughout kindergarten. An auxiliary analysis of longer-run outcomes shows that these negative effects largely disappear by the time children finish first grade. (Author abstract)

    In this paper, we examine the impact of U.S. child-care subsidies on the cognitive and behavioral development of children in low-income female-headed families. We identify the effect of subsidy receipt by exploiting geographic variation in the distance that families must travel from home to reach the nearest social service agency that administers the subsidy application process. Using data from the Kindergarten cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, our instrumental variables estimates suggest that children receiving subsidized child care in the year before kindergarten score lower on tests of cognitive ability and reveal more behavior problems throughout kindergarten. An auxiliary analysis of longer-run outcomes shows that these negative effects largely disappear by the time children finish first grade. (Author abstract)

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