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Intervention Summary

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HighScope Curriculum

The HighScope Curriculum is an early childhood education program for children ages birth to 5 years. Designed for children with or without special needs and from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicities, the program aims to enhance children's cognitive, socioemotional, and physical development, imparting skills that will help children succeed in school and be more productive and responsible throughout their lives. The curriculum is based on the view that children are active learners who learn from what they do as well as what they hear and see. It offers a balance of activities planned by children (e.g., playing with toys, games) and those planned by adults (e.g., group time, field trips, special events). The classroom is arranged into various areas, such as house, art, block, and book areas, allowing children to independently find, use, and return the materials they need to carry out their chosen activities. In their daily routine, children plan what they will do, carry out their plans, and review their activities with adults and other children. They engage in individual and social play and in small-group and whole-group activities, thereby developing initiative, a sense of responsibility, social cooperation, and individual competence. The curriculum has a version for infants and toddlers (birth to 3 years) and a version for preschool children (3 to 5 years). Studies of the preschool curriculum were reviewed for this summary. Children participate in the preschool program for 1 to 3 years, with each year's teaching practices and curriculum content being developmentally and age appropriate.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Outcomes Review Date: May 2009
1: Intellectual performance
2: Vocabulary
3: Educational achievement
4: Employment rate and earnings
5: Criminal arrests
6: Socioemotional development
Outcome Categories Crime/delinquency
Education
Employment
Mental health
Quality of life
Social functioning
Ages 0-5 (Early childhood)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings School
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Rural and/or frontier
Implementation History The HighScope Curriculum was developed by staff who operated and evaluated the Perry Preschool Program in Ypsilanti Public Schools in Michigan from 1962 to 1967. The curriculum was first published in 1971 in the book The Cognitively Oriented Curriculum. In 1993, survey data suggested than an estimated 13,000 classrooms were using the program, serving 250,000 children a year. Outside the United States, the program has been implemented in Canada, Indonesia, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Studies of the HighScope Curriculum have been conducted in Head Start programs in the United States as well as in preschool classes in the Netherlands and United Kingdom.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: Yes
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: No
Adaptations Some program documents, including the curriculum guide and child observation tool, have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Universal

Quality of Research
Review Date: May 2009

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Schweinhart, L. J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnett, W. S., Belfield, C. R., & Nores, M. (2005). Lifetime effects: The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study through age 40 (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, No. 14). Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1980). Young children grow up: The effects of the Perry Preschool Program on youths through age 15 (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, No. 7). Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Study 2

Epstein, A. S. (1993). Training for quality: Improving early childhood programs through systematic inservice training (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, No. 9). Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Supplementary Materials

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1997). Lasting differences: The High/Scope Preschool Curriculum Comparison Study through age 23 (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, No. 12). Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

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

Weikart, D. P., Epstein, A. S., Schweinhart, L. J., & Bond, J. T. (1978). The Ypsilanti Preschool Curriculum Demonstration Project: Preschool years and longitudinal results through fourth grade (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, No. 4). Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Weikart, D. P., & Schweinhart, L. J. (2005). The High/Scope Curriculum for early childhood care and education. In J. L. Roopnarine & J. E. Johnson (Eds.), Approaches to early childhood education (4th ed., pp. 235-250). Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Intellectual performance
Description of Measures Intellectual performance was assessed using the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Third Revision Form L-M, which was administered by trained program staff to each participant at study entry and annually from ages 4 to 10. The test consists of a series of age-appropriate items progressing from easy to difficult. Items for 5-year-olds, for example, include completing a picture of a man, folding paper into a triangle, copying a square, and identifying similarities and differences in pictures.
Key Findings A study compared individuals who received the HighScope Curriculum starting at ages 3 and 4 with those who did not attend a preschool program. Mean intellectual performance scores were higher among intervention participants than their comparison group counterparts from the end of their first preschool year to age 7 (p < .01 at the end of the first and second preschool year, p < .05 at ages 6 and 7). The effect size was large at the end of the first preschool year (Cohen's d = 0.88) and second preschool year (Cohen's d = 0.87) and small at age 6 (Cohen's d = 0.32) and age 7 (Cohen's d = 0.30). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups at subsequent assessments.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.6 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Vocabulary
Description of Measures Vocabulary was assessed using the first version of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, which was administered by trained program staff to each study participant at study entry and annually from ages 4 to 9. For each item, the child is given a word (e.g., cow, accident, yawning) and asked to select the picture that depicts the word from among several options. The words and pictures are age appropriate and progress from easy to difficult.
Key Findings A study compared individuals who received the HighScope Curriculum starting at ages 3 and 4 with those who did not attend a preschool program. Mean vocabulary scores were higher among intervention participants than their comparison group counterparts at 3 months after study entry (p < .05), the end of their first preschool year (p < .01), and the end of their second preschool year (p < .01). The effect size was small at 3 months (Cohen's d = 0.35), medium at the end of the first preschool year (Cohen's d = 0.74), and large at end of the second preschool year (Cohen's d = 0.91). There were no statistically significant differences between groups at subsequent assessments, but results yielded a small effect size at age 6 (Cohen's d = 0.29) and a very small effect size at age 7 (Cohen's d = 0.19) in favor of the intervention group.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.6 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Educational achievement
Description of Measures Educational achievement was assessed using the following measures: 

  • California Achievement Tests, a series of tests measuring student knowledge and skills in a variety of areas, including reading, language, and arithmetic. Each of the tests is standardized and administered in group settings by a trained test administrator. Students select the answer to each item (e.g., remembering information from a brief story, multiplication) from a set of four or five options. The tests were administered annually from ages 7 to 11 and at age 14.
  • Rate of high school graduation, including award of a General Education Development (GED) certificate. Data on high school graduation status were obtained by trained program staff by searching public school records and adult high school records and by administering the HighScope Age 27 and Age 40 Follow-Up Interviews in face-to-face meetings with each study participant. The department of education and the intermediate school district searched GED records for participants with no record of high school graduation. Requests for information on enrollment status were sent to all postsecondary education programs identified by study participants in their follow-up interview.
Key Findings A study compared individuals who received the HighScope Curriculum starting at ages 3 and 4 with those who did not attend a preschool program. Mean overall achievement test scores were higher among intervention participants than their comparison group counterparts at ages 9 (p < .05), 10 (p < .05), and 14 (p < .01). The effect sizes for these differences were small (Cohen's d = 0.29, 0.34, and 0.49, respectively). Specifically, in reading achievement, the intervention group outscored the comparison group at ages 10 and 14 (p values < .05), with small effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.40 and 0.34, respectively). In arithmetic achievement, the intervention group outscored the comparison group at ages 9 and 14 (p values < .05), with small effect sizes (Cohen's d = 0.31 and 0.33, respectively). Lastly, in language achievement, the intervention group outscored the comparison group at ages 9 (p < .05) and 14 (p < .01), with a small effect size at age 9 (Cohen's d = 0.33) and a medium effect size at age 14 (Cohen's d = 0.63).

The high school graduation rate was higher for intervention participants than for comparison group participants at ages 19 (67% vs. 45%; p < .05), 27 (72% vs. 53%; p < .05), and 40 (77% vs. 60%; p < .01). The effect sizes for these differences were small (odds ratio = 2.36), medium (odds ratio = 2.94), and small (odds ratio = 2.25), respectively.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.6 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: Employment rate and earnings
Description of Measures Employment rate and earnings were assessed by self-report using the HighScope Age 27 and Age 40 Follow-Up Interviews as well as through data collected from social services, welfare, and employment records. The High Scope Follow-Up Interviews were administered by a trained interviewer in face-to-face meetings with each study participant.
Key Findings A study compared individuals who received the HighScope Curriculum starting at ages 3 and 4 with those who did not attend a preschool program. Participants in the intervention group were more likely than their comparison group counterparts to be employed at age 27 (69% vs. 56%; p < .05) and age 40 (76% vs. 62%; p < .05). The effect size was small at both follow-ups (odds ratio = 2.29 and 2.45, respectively). Participants who received the HighScope Curriculum also had significantly greater annual and monthly earnings than participants from the comparison group at ages 27 and 40. The effect sizes were small for these results (odds ratios ranged from 1.8 to 2.5).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.6 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 5: Criminal arrests
Description of Measures Criminal arrests were assessed using data from arrest records collected by trained program staff. Data were collected from the Federal district courts in the State as well as from county circuit and district courts, including those in neighboring counties. Records were searched for names of all study participants (including maiden and married names, nicknames, aliases, and spelling variants). Matches were confirmed using birthdates and sometimes addresses and Social Security numbers. Staff linked names with criminal case numbers and accessed records of felonies, misdemeanors, and civil infractions. At the State level, data were collected from the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN), a database used by police that maintains statewide records of felony and high misdemeanor convictions and related information, as well as from State driving records.

When study participants reported living or having lived in another State, the State police agency was contacted to request a criminal record search for those individuals. Searches were also conducted using various State law enforcement Web sites and Rapsheets.com, an online criminal records database available to the public.

Criminal arrest data were collected at age 19 (juvenile arrest), age 27, and age 40. Arrests were divided into four categories:

  • Violent crimes (e.g., kidnapping, intent to murder, larceny, assault and/or battery)
  • Property crimes (e.g., taking or damaging someone else's property, fraud, theft, arson, breaking and entering)
  • Drug crimes (e.g., sale, possession or delivery of controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia)
  • Other crimes (e.g., passing bad checks, driving offenses, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, weapons offenses)
Key Findings A study compared individuals who received the HighScope Curriculum starting at ages 3 and 4 with those who did not attend a preschool program. The intervention group had significantly fewer overall arrests by ages 27 and 40 than the comparison group (p values < .05) but no fewer juvenile arrests. The intervention group also had significantly fewer arrests for violent (p < .05), property (p < .01), and drug (p < .05) crimes by age 40 than the comparison group but no fewer arrests for other crimes. Within specific age groups, intervention participants had significantly fewer arrests for other crimes by age 19 (p < .05), drug crimes by age 27 (p < .05), and violent crimes (p < .05) and property crimes (p < .01) between ages 28 and 40 than comparison group participants.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.8 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 6: Socioemotional development
Description of Measures Socioemotional development was assessed using the HighScope Child Observation Record (COR), a tool used to observe children ages 2.5 to 6 years in their natural setting and rate them along a variety of behavioral dimensions. Trained program observers used the COR to assess children-initiated behaviors in areas of development including initiative (e.g., complex play, participation in program activities) and social relations (e.g., relating to peers, social problem solving). The COR consists of several age-appropriate items, each with a 5-point rating scale.
Key Findings Children with teachers who received in-service training and implemented the HighScope Curriculum during the school year were rated significantly higher on initiative (p = .005) and social relations (p = .01) than children from the comparison group, who participated in another early childhood program.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.1 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 0-5 (Early childhood) 50% Female
50% Male
100% Black or African American
Study 2 0-5 (Early childhood) 54% Female
46% Male
43% White
32% Black or African American
18% Race/ethnicity unspecified
6% Hispanic or Latino
1% American Indian or Alaska Native

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Intellectual performance 4.0 4.0 3.0 4.0 3.0 3.5 3.6
2: Vocabulary 4.0 4.0 3.0 4.0 3.0 3.5 3.6
3: Educational achievement 3.8 3.8 3.0 4.0 3.5 3.5 3.6
4: Employment rate and earnings 3.5 3.5 3.0 4.0 3.5 4.0 3.6
5: Criminal arrests 4.0 4.0 3.0 4.0 3.5 4.0 3.8
6: Socioemotional development 3.5 3.3 3.3 2.5 3.3 3.0 3.1

Study Strengths

Most of the measures used have good, adequately documented psychometric properties. Systematic, manualized training was provided to teachers to enhance fidelity. Intervention fidelity was examined in several ways, including visits by outside experts, and documentation indicated the high degree to which teachers followed the intervention curriculum; for example, teachers provided written notes on fidelity for several months. Attrition was minimal considering the length of the follow-up (i.e., age 27, age 40). The analyses used were sufficient.

Study Weaknesses

In one of the studies, confounding variables were not adequately addressed. Further, nearly one third of the children had missing data on some items of the Preschool Child Observation Record used in this study, posing a threat to the statistical power of the results.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: May 2009

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Epstein, A. S. (2007). Essentials of active learning in preschool: Getting to know the High/Scope Curriculum. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. (1996). High/Scope approach to preschool education: Adult-child interaction participant guide. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. (2001). High/Scope's approach for infants and toddlers in group-care: Supportive adult-child interactions. Ypsilanti, MI: Author.

High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. (2001). Preschool program quality assessment: Administration manual. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. (2003). High/Scope program quality assessment: 1-day workshop. Ypsilanti, MI: Author.

High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. (2003). Preschool Child Observation Record. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. (2006). Supporting children in resolving conflicts [DVD]. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. (2007). The daily routine [DVD]. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Hohmann, M., Weikart, D. P., & Epstein, A. S. (2008). Educating young children: The complete guide to the High/Scope Preschool Curriculum. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Post, J., & Hohmann, M. (2000). Tender care and early learning: Supporting infants and toddlers in child care settings. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Program Web site, http://www.highscope.org/

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0

Dissemination Strengths

Program materials are comprehensive, easy to use, attractively presented, and regularly updated. Important background information and rationales for the curriculum are offered in the curriculum guide. The program Web site is easy to navigate and provides program materials, electronic tools, opportunities for networking with other users, and educational courses. Training is provided using a range of methods and formats and includes activities based on principles of adult learning. Multiple levels of certification for individuals and organizations are offered (e.g., teacher certification, trainer certification, program accreditation). Quality assurance tools are available in multiple formats and are accompanied by guidance for administration.

Dissemination Weaknesses

No weaknesses were identified by reviewers.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Step-by-Step materials $714 per class Yes
Advanced Study materials $500 per class Yes
Supplemental materials $900 per class Yes
Step-by-Step 10-day training $2,225 per person Yes
Advanced Study 6-day training $675 per person No
Supplemental training $675 per person No
4-week preschool curriculum course for teacher certification $3,135 per person No
1-day workshop $125 per person No
2-day workshop $225 per person No
Online courses $240 each No
Customized technical assistance and consultation $1,200 per day No
Program Quality Assessment form $8 each Yes
Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

* Epstein, A. S. (1993). Training for quality: Improving early childhood programs through systematic inservice training (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, No. 9). Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Schweinhart, L. J., & Weikart, D. P. (1997). Lasting differences: The High/Scope Preschool Curriculum Comparison Study through age 23 (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, No. 12). Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Gavin Haque
(734) 485-2000
gavinh@highscope.org

To learn more about research, contact:
Marijata Daniel-Echols, Ph.D.
(734) 485-2000
mdaniel-echols@highscope.org

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

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