Watkins, Bianca Simone (2019-08). Impact of Head Start on African American Academic School Readiness: A Meta-Analysis. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This meta-analysis examined how Head Start is impacting the academic school readiness skills of African American students from studies ranging from 1987 to 2017. Academic school readiness skills include early literacy, language, and early numeracy along with subcategories of each. The study also examined if race/ethnicity of students and teachers, parent annual income, and parent level of education impacts African American students in Head Start. There were several moderators of interest which also included: percentage of African American students within the study and the year that studies were completed or published. The meta-analysis resulted in 77 studies, which met the inclusion criteria. Results indicate Head Start has a moderate effect (Cohen's d = 0.62) on African American school readiness using a random-effects model. Parents who had lower levels of education had children with significantly lower levels of academic achievement. In addition, when Asian teachers were included within the study, academic school readiness of African American students was positively impacted. The discussion includes possible rationale for significant and nonsignificant results. The study's limitations, possible applications, and future directions of research are also discussed.

publication date

  • August 2019