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Penn Child Research Center

The Use of Child Outcome Data in Head Start—“We’ve Got to Get it Right!”

Dr. Fantuzzo's Master Lecture at the National Research Conference on Early Childhood


The critical and complex question: “How can we better use child outcome data in Head Start to improve program effectiveness?” is at the heart of both aspirations and frustrations in realizing the national Head Start mission. In this session, John Fantuzzo will unpack his understanding of three important aspects of this question: 1) the existence of evidence-based, child well-being data to promote child development outcomes in Head Start; 2) the ongoing operational use of these data in local Head Start programs; and 3) expectations and supports for this use in the national Head Start governance system. An applied researcher serving Head Start children and families for nearly four decades, the presenter will draw from his personal experience grappling with the challenges presented by the facets of this essential question. He will share what he sees as current realities and affirm our collective resolve to “get it right!”