In recent years, a growing number of states in the U.S. have chosen to provide publicly-funded preschool programs for their pre-kindergarten-aged children. Along with the expanded availability of public preschool have come increased calls for these programs to be held accountable for achieving measurable results in bolstering the skills and school readiness of the children who attend them. But how should the contribution of these programs to child development be assessed and evaluated?
The Head Start National Reporting System (NRS) is one response to these demands for greater accountability, one focused on the largest federal preschool program for children from low-income families. The NRS was designed to provide indicators of the progress children are making on key early literacy and math skills for all local Head Start programs.