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Our Research Has Shown The Way!

HighScope was built on research.

We continue to study early childhood development day to day and decade to decade. And we would love to share our findings with you!.

You can see our staff present our research findings in many arenas — academic conferences, practitioner conferences, sponsored forums, and in publications.

Head Start Research

HighScope and Head Start: Long-Time Teammates

HighScope and Head Start share a long history of providing high​-­quality services to lower­​ income children. Our Perry Preschool Study helped to support the creation of Head Start. Today, it is estimated that one­-fifth of Head Start programs use the HighScope Curriculum in their preschool classrooms. HighScope has conducted research for many years on the effectiveness of Head Start and on how to further enhance the program through professional development activities.

Explore some of our research on Head Start below:

Preschool Curriculum Comparison Study
International Research
Links to Related Research

Perry Preschool Study

Lifetime Effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (2005)

This study — perhaps the most well-known of all HighScope research efforts — examines the lives of 123 children born in poverty and at high risk of failing in school.

From 1962–1967, at ages 3 and 4, the subjects were randomly divided into a program group that received a high-quality preschool program based on HighScope's participatory learning approach, and a comparison group that received no preschool program. In the study's most recent phase, 97% of the study participants still living were interviewed at age 40. Additional data were gathered from the subjects' school, social services, and arrest records.

The study found that adults at age 40 who had the preschool program had higher earnings, were more likely to hold a job, had committed fewer crimes, and were more likely to have graduated from high school than adults who did not have preschool.

Related sources

"Benefits, Costs, and Explanation of the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," by Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Ph.D. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, Florida, April 26, 2003.

"Early Lessons," by Emily Hanford, American RadioWorks, American Public Media, 2009. 

"How the HighScope Perry Preschool Project Grew: A Researcher's Tale" by Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Ph. D. Research Bulletin, Phi Delta Kappa Center for Evaluation, Development, and Research, June 2002, No. 32.

"The HighScope Perry Preschool Project," by Greg Parks, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Justice bulletin, October 2000.

"Lasting Benefits of Preschool Programs," by Lawrence J. Schweinhart, Ph.D., ERIC EECE Publications — Digests, EDO-PS-94-2, January 1994, ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

References (HighScope Publications)

Schweinhart, L. J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnett, W. S., Belfield, C. R., & Nores, M. (2005). Lifetime effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool study through age 40. (Monographs of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 14). Ypsilanti, MI: HighScope Press.

Barnett, W. S. (1996). Lives in the balance: Age-27 benefit-cost analysis of the HighScope Perry Preschool Program (Monographs of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 11). Ypsilanti, MI: HighScope Press.

Schweinhart, L. J., Barnes, H. V., & Weikart, D. P. (1993). Significant benefits: The HighScope Perry Preschool study through age 27 (Monographs of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, 10). Ypsilanti: HighScope Press.

For a list of additional discussions of the Perry study in refereed journals, click here

Presentations and Articles

Policy briefs

Epstein, A. S., Schweinhart, L. J., DeBruin-Parecki, A., & Robin, K. B. (2004). Preschool assessment: A guide to developing a balanced approach (NIEER Policy Brief, Issue 7). New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Childhood Research.

Schweinhart, L. J. (n.d.). Making validated educational models central in preschool standards (Working paper). New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Childhood Research.

Schweinhart, L. J. (2003, May). Using preschool research to facilitate change. Presentation at the United Way Success by 6 Conference: "Engaging Leaders: Building Bright Futures for Young Children," Charlotte, NC.

Schweinhart, L. J. (in press). How to make early childhood programs highly effective. In E. Zigler, W. Gilliam, & W. S. Barnett (Eds.), The Pre-K debates: Current controversies and issues. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Fulcher-Dawson, R. (2006, October). Investing in Michigan's future: Meeting the early childhood challenge. Lansing, MI: Education Policy Center at Michigan State University.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Fulcher-Dawson, R. (2009). Early childhood education. In G. Sykes, B. Schneider, & D. N. Plank (Eds.), Handbook of education policy research (pp. 876–888). New York: Routledge.

Recent conference presentations

Wakabayashi, T. (2012, May). Using the new Child Observation Record (COR) benchmarks developed for Head Start and other publicly funded preschool programs. Session presented at the 2012 HighScope International Conference, Ypsilanti, MI.

Schweinhart, L., Browning, K. G., & Xiang, Z. (2012, April). The impact of the Michigan Great Start Readiness Program on children’s retention through 12th grade. Session presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Wakabayashi, T. (2012, April). When research ≠ evaluation. Invited research luncheon keynote address at the National Head Start Conference, Nashville, TN.

Wakabayashi, T. (2012, January). Using new Head Start benchmarks for the HighScope Preschool Child Observation Record. Session presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the California Head Start Association Research Institute, Orange County, CA.

Browning, K., & Daniel-Echols, M. (2010, November). Evaluating state funded early childhood initiatives: Implications and application. Session presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference and Expo, Anaheim, CA.

Daniel-Echols, M. (2010, November). Big money, more scrutiny: How to forge evaluator-early childhood education program partnerships. Roundtable presentation at the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Daniel-Echols, M. (2010, November). When bad evaluations happen to good programs. Session presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference and Expo, Anaheim, CA.

Daniel-Echols, M., & Lin, C. (2010, November). Producing evidence of effectiveness data in the real world of early childhood education. Roundtable presentation at the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.

Daniel-Echols, M., Sawyers, K., & Williams-Bishop, R. (2010, November). Ready children and ready schools: Combining developmentally appropriate early childhood practice and elementary school improvement in the Mississippi Delta. Session presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference and Expo, Anaheim, CA.

Browning, K., & Daniel-Echols, M. (2010, June). Evaluating state-funded early childhood initiatives: Implications and application. Session presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Professional Development Institute, Washington, DC.

Daniel-Echols, M., & Marshall, B. (2010, June). Sequencing and scaffolding early mathematics learning: Across or within activities? Presented as part of a poster symposium at the National Head Start Research Conference, Washington, DC.

Daniel-Echols, M., & Herbert, K. (2009, November). Addressing the challenges of evaluating a professional development intervention for family, friend, and neighbor child care providers. Roundtable presentation at the American Evaluation Association Annual Conference, Orlando, FL.

Daniel-Echols, M., & Crotty, L. (2009, June). Lessons learned on how to forge successful research partnerships. Session presentation at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Professional Development Institute, Charlotte, NC.

Daniel-Echols, M., Malofeeva, E. V., & Xiang, Z. (2009, June). Developing early mathematics skills in preschool children: Evidence from the Numbers Plus Curriculum. Poster presented at the Fourth Annual Institute of Education Sciences Research Conference, Washington, DC.

Malofeeva, E., Xiang, Z., & Daniel-Echols, M. (2009, April). Examining psychometric properties of the Child Observation Record using Rasch analyses. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA.

Malofeeva, E., Xiang, Z., & Daniel-Echols, M. (2009, April). Implementation fidelity: Implications for the Numbers Plus Curriculum. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA.

Malofeeva, E., Daniel-Echols, M., Xiang, Z., & Epstein, A. S. (2009, March). Implementation fidelity: Implications for the Numbers Plus Curriculum. Paper presented as part of a symposium at the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

Browning, K., & Daniel-Echols, M. (2009, November). Evaluating state-funded early childhood initiatives: Implications and application. Session presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children 2009 Annual Conference and Expo., Washington, DC.

Articles on HighScope Curriculum Research

HighScope Perry Preschool Study: General

Farnworth, M., Schweinhart, L. J., & Berrueta-Clement, J. R. (1985, Fall). Preschool intervention, school success and delinquency in a high-risk sample of youth. American Educational Research Journal, 22, 445–464.

Luster, T., & McAdoo, H. (1996). Family and child influences on educational attainment: A secondary analysis of the High/Scope Perry preschool data. Developmental Psychology, 32, 23–39.

Muennig, P., Schweinhart, L., Montie, J., & Neidell, M. (2009). Effects of a prekindergarten education intervention on adult health: 37-year follow-up results of a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Public Health, 99(8), 1431–1437.

Reynolds, A. J., Englund, M. M., Ou, S., Schweinhart, L., & Campbell, F. (2010). Paths of effects of preschool participation to educational attainment at age 21: A three-year study analysis. In A. J. Reynolds, A. J. Rolnick, M. M. Englund, & J. A. Temple (Eds.), Childhood programs and practices in the first decade of life: A human capital integration (pp. 416–452). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schweinhart, L. J. (2000). The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study: A case study in random assignment. Evaluation and Research in Education, 14(3&4), 136–147.

Schweinhart, L. J. (2002). Evaluación de los efectos del Currículum High Scope. In R. Barocio Quijano (Ed.), Contribución al entendimento y práctica de la educación infantil. Mexico: Editorial Trillas.

Schweinhart, L. J. (2007). Outcomes of the HighScope Perry Preschool Study and Michigan School Readiness Program. In M. E. Young & L. M. Richardson (Eds.), Early child development: From measurement to action (pp. 87–102). Washington, DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction/The World Bank.

Schweinhart, L. J. (2010). The challenge of the HighScope Perry Preschool Study. In A. J. Reynolds, A. J. Rolnick, M. M. Englund, & J. A. Temple (Eds.), Childhood programs and practices in the first decade of life: A human capital integration (pp. 157–167). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schweinhart, L. J., Berrueta-Clement, J. R., Barnett, W. S., Epstein, A. S., & Weikart, D. P. (1985, Summer). Effects of the Perry Preschool Program on youths through age 19 – A summary. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 5, 26–35.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1981, December). Effects of the Perry Preschool Program on youths through age 15. Journal of the Division for Early Childhood. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1988). The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program. In R. H. Price, E. L. Cowen, R. P. Lorion, & J. Ramos-McKay (Eds.), Fourteen ounces of prevention: A casebook for practitioners. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Weikart, D. P. (1966). Preschool programs: Preliminary findings. Journal of Special Education, 1(2), 163–181.

HighScope Perry Preschool Study: Economic

Barnett, W. S. (1985). Benefit-cost analysis of the Perry Preschool Program and its policy implications. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 7(4), 333–342.

Barnett, W. S. (1992). Benefits of compensatory preschool education. The Journal of Human Resources, 27(2), 279–312.

Barnett, W. S. (1993). Benefit-cost analysis of preschool education: Findings from a 25-year follow-up. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 63(4), 500–508.

Belfield, C. R., Nores, M., Barnett, W. S., & Schweinhart, L. J. (2006). The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program: Cost-benefit analysis using data from the age-40 follow-up. The Journal of Human Resources, 41(1), 162–190.

Heckman, J. J., Moon, S. H., Pinto, R., Savelyev, P. A., & Yavitz, A. Q. (2009). The rate of return to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program. Journal of Public Economics, 94(1–2), 114–128.

Nores, M., Belfield, C. R., Barnett, W. S., & Schweinhart, L. J. (2005). Updating the economic impacts of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 27(3), 245–261.

HighScope Preschool Curriculum Comparison Study

Schweinhart, L. J., Heckman, J. J., Malofeeva, L., Pinto, R. Moon, S., & Yavitz, A. (2010). The cost-benefit analysis of the Preschool Curriculum Comparison Study (appendix tables and mathematical appendix). Final Report to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Ypsilanti, MI: HighScope.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1997). The High/Scope Preschool Curriculum Comparison Study through age 23. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12, 117–143.

Schweinhart, L. J., Weikart, D. P., & Larner, M. B. (1986, March). Consequences of three preschool curriculum models through age 15. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 1, 15–45.

Schweinhart, L. J., Weikart, D. P., & Larner, M. B. (1986, September). Child-initiated activities in early childhood programs may help prevent delinquency. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 1, 303–312.

Other Studies

Daniel-Echols, M., Malofeeva, E. V., & Schweinhart, L. (2010). Lessons learned from the evaluation of the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP): A longitudinal evaluation. In A. J. Reynolds, A. J. Rolnick, M. M. Englund, & J. A. Temple (Eds.), Childhood programs and practices in the first decade of life: A human capital integration (pp. 199–213). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lazar, I., Darlington, R., Murray, H., Royce, J., & Snipper, A. (1982). Lasting effects of early education: A report from the Consortium for Longitudinal Studies. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 47(2–3, Serial No. 195).

Frede, E., & Barnett, W. S. (1992). Developmentally appropriate public school preschool: A study of implementation of the High/Scope curriculum and its effects on disadvantaged children's skills at first grade. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 7, 483–499.

Montie, J. E., Xiang, Z., & Schweinhart, L. J. (2006). Preschool experience in 10 countries: Cognitive and language performance at age 7. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 21, 313–331.

Reviews Including HighScope Research

Schweinhart, L. J. (1999, April). Evaluation of early childhood programs. Comprehensive Psychiatric Assessment of Young Children, A Monograph of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinics of North America, 8, 395–407.

Schweinhart, L. J. (2006). The HighScope approach: Evidence that participatory learning in early childhood contributes to human development. In N. F. Watt et al. (Eds.), The crisis in youth mental health: Critical issues and effective programs. Vol. 4. Early intervention programs and policies (pp. 207–227). Westport: Praeger Press.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1988). Early childhood education for at-risk four–year-olds? Yes. American Psychologist, 43, 665–667, 42, 254–260.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1988). Education for young children living in poverty: Child-initiated learning or teacher-directed instruction? Elementary School Journal, 89, 213– 225.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1990, June 8). Research support for Head Start. Science, 248, 1174–1176.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1991, September). Response to "Beyond IQ in preschool programs?" Intelligence, 15, 313–315.

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