Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Head Start programs--Iowa--Waterloo; Head Start programs; Tutors and tutoring; Iowa--Waterloo;


The University of Northern Iowa Center for Urban Education (UNI-CUE), located in Waterloo, Iowa, offers a variety of programs, including the Academic Skills Achievement Program (ASAP). The Academic Skills Achievement Program is designed to provide tutoring services, addressing both academic and social needs, to children in a variety of educational settings. The tutors are university undergraduates who provide a community service while at the same time earning two hours of elective credit. The target of this evaluation is one component of the Academic Skills Achievement Program, specifically the Head Start site located at UNI-CUE. The purpose of this evaluation is to gain an understanding of the nature of the tutoring services provided, thereby providing insight into what occurs during these adult-child interactions.

In the Spring of 1994, the Head Start classroom located in the UNI-CUE building, which was under the direction of 1 full-time teacher and 1 paraprofessional, had 18 children enrolled. Of these 18 preschoolers, 15 were provided with a tutor. The tutoring took place in the available classrooms of the UNI-CUE building. The tutors consisted of 8 undergraduate female students with varying experience with children and tutoring. Interviews were conducted with the participating tutors, ASAP site supervisors and coordinator, Head Start classroom teacher, and the Tri-County Head Start coordinator. The evaluation questions developed addressed the following areas; (a) philosophy and foundation of both program, (b) organization and implementation, and (c) perceived outcomes of the services provided by the Academic Skills Achievement Program at the UNI-CUE Head Start.

Through the information collected during the interviews, it was apparent that a major goal of both programs is to provide opportunities for socialization and positive interaction. It would appear from the perceptions of the participants and supervisors that this was being accomplished. Overall the participants expressed satisfaction with their experience in the Academic Skills Achievement Program. The strengths of the program can be seen in the opportunity for individual attention for each child and the strong relationships developed between the tutors and the children.

As a result of the information collected during this evaluation and a review of current literature, suggestions for program improvement were developed in order for the program to be updated to be congruent with current thinking and philosophy in early childhood education. The three major areas of program improvement identified were: (a) focus of the tutor/tutee interaction, (b) staff development, (c) redefining the role of the site supervisor, and (d) restructuring of the program at the Head Start site.

The Academic Skills Achievement Program has been in operation at the UNI-CUE Head Start for over 10 years. During this time, there have been changes in theory and practice in early childhood education and the education of minority, at-risk children, and an increase in the interest in multicultural education and awareness and the link between education and the community. The recommendations from this evaluation incorporate elements from current research on best practice in these areas. An evaluation is an ongoing process. The implementation of recommendations in this report needs to be monitored and adjusted as needed.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Carmen Montecinos


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Date Original


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1 PDF file (117 pages)



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