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Estimating impacts of treatment random assignment on classroom quality in the Head Start Impact Study: The problem of missing data

Results from the original analysis of the classroom quality data from the Head Start Impact Study (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010) show that randomization to Head Start lead to improvement in the quality of care children received. However, these results are obfuscated by the way in which missing data were handled. The apparent improvements in classroom quality may be due to greater access to formal care settings, greater access to higher quality formal care settings, or more likely to a combination of the two. Purpose / Objective / Research Question / Focus of Study: Description of the focus of the research. To address this problem, the primary objectives of this research are to address the challenges faced when estimating impacts of treatment random assignment on classroom quality within the Head Start Impact Study, to explore how different solutions influence the impact estimates, and to offer methodological solutions. That is, the goal of this research is to be able to accurately answer the following questions: What are the impacts of random assignment to Head Start on measures of classroom quality? Do children who are randomly assigned to Head Start receive higher/better quality care than children who are randomly assigned to the control group? However, there are several challenges to answering these questions accurately. The largest threat to estimating unbiased impacts is missing data on the dependent variable, classroom quality. We expect that missing data on classroom quality are endogenous to treatment random assignment. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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