Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
Engage, Measure, Act
Parent Gauge™
PFCE Measurement Tool

What is Parent Gauge™?

Parent Gauge™ moves past just the inputs and outputs and instead allows you to take parents’ own words and concretely measure whether your efforts meet the needs of your families.

Who can use it?

There are multiple levels of access: Family service workers and teachers, Center Admins, Program Admins, and State Admins.

Measuring family engagement through parents' own words

NHSA is now offering a web-based instrument that measures parent experience and the impact of early childhood programs’ engagement efforts. This innovative new tool aligns with the Office of Head Start’s Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework. Programs can use this tool to identify the needs of their families, the strengths of their PFCE efforts, and areas for improvement. Easy-to-read results provide baseline data and measure growth throughout the year.

Through a series of closed- and open-ended questions, Parent Gauge™ explores a family's experience with entry and transition, knowledge of child development, empowerment and identity, relationships with staff, family growth and stability, and health and nutrition. The tool provides immediate feedback to staff regarding parent needs, but it also provides data on program effectiveness.

The tool is administered 2-3 times during the year, and the user-friendly dashboard provides immediate, color-coded, directional feedback to staff. Data can easily be reviewed on our cloud-based platform at the staff, center, and program levels, and anonymized data is aggregated for state and national level analytics and benchmarking. 


Why did we create Parent Gauge™?

Parent and family engagement is such an important element of Head Start’s work but, thus far, programs have lacked a valid, evidence-based tool to measure these efforts. Parent Gauge™ moves past just the inputs and outputs and instead allows you to take parents’ own words and concretely measure whether your efforts meet the needs of your families and further their learning and growth.

The creation of Parent Gauge™ was initiated by the Region 5 Head Start Association and the National Head Start Association, with support from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and the Ford Foundation and has been developed by the NORC Center at the University of Chicago. It is a scientifically validated instrument that was pilot tested with Head Start programs nationally. Parent Gauge™ will continue to mature using the data collected, including plans to eventually use Natural Language Processing to analyze open-ended parent responses, and provide insights into family engagement and program improvement.

Pricing Information

The annual subscription to Parent Gauge™ is a base usage fee of $1800 plus $3 per family. Very small programs (under 100 children) qualify for a discounted, $800 base usage fee. NHSA members receive a 15% discount off their total price.


If you have any questions or need help completing your order, please contact us at

Looking for More Information?

If you want to read more, don't forget to check out our blog at

Tags: , , , ,
"This tool shows how family engagement strategies can be integrated across services and systems in line with the new Performance Standards." - Amanda Schwanke, Dodge County HS