Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Learning Disabilities


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Urban, Stanley


Head Start programs--New Jersey--Camden


Disability and Equity in Education


Extensive published research supports comprehensive preschool programs for children and their families, especially for "At Risk" populations often found within inner cities. Programs such as Head Start prepare children for school entrance, provide them with a caring and nurturing environment and empower families with the skills and resources necessary for successful living. The Camden County Council On Economic Opportunity (CCCOEO, Inc.), grantee for the Camden County, New Jersey Head Start Program, provides comprehensive services for "At Risk" preschool children, ages three to five.

Starting in September 1998 to March 1999, sixty-seven preschoolers attending various CCCOEO Head Start Centers were given the BRIGANCE® Preschool Screen for three and four year olds. Children scoring below suggested cutoff scores were rescreened. Scores were compared to the suggested cutoff scores, and recommendations were made. A pre-test/post-test format compared returning four year olds' BRIGANCE® scores with four year old children who had never attended a Head Start program. Children having scores that fell below the recommended cutoff, were rescreened by Special Needs teachers, within two to six months of the original screening date. Children with appropriate scores were not rescreened. Results were compiled into a database and statistically analyzed by two nonparametric tests, and presented visually by graphs and charts. Three hypotheses were confirmed by the statistics presented. Analysis of the median and mode scores, and proof through nonparametric tests shows the overall average for new and returning students as different, with new students being lower, for the entire data set and for the data set with LD excluded, proving Head Start as a beneficial program for "At Risk" Preschoolers.

Further analysis of the data reveals 22 students detected by the BRIGANCE® Screen, as having probable developmental disabilities or academic delay. Twelve are referred, evaluated and positively identified as students with learning disabilities. Accuracy of detection and identification equals 100 percent for the first twelve students, leading to the assumption of positive identification of learning disabilities for the remaining ten students, once properly referred and evaluated.