Use of Early Childhood Data Examined

Association of Educators
February 24, 2014 — 705 views  

The new ECDC 2013 Early Childhood Data Systems Survey has revealed that a number of states are unable to answer the simplest fundamental questions concerning early education and childhood care, including whether young children aged five years or below are on the right track to achieve academic success and if the early childhood educators are sufficiently trained to prepare and teach young children. This is because the data system dealing with young children is uncoordinated and maintained in separate systems with different processes and managing agencies.

Importance of Early Childhood Data

Early Childhood Data is extremely important to policymakers for a number of reasons:

Quality of programs: The state and local managers of the program will get accurate, timely and current  feedback on performance of programs compared to the given standards of quality. They will then have the capability to identify and  adapt practices being followed by the best performing providers to improve programs all over the state.

Quality of the ECE workforce: Institution of higher education, legislators of state and all other leaders can have access to supply and demand information for the ECE staff members and an exhaustive picture of investments and professional opportunities for development and knowledge of how good these support systems work to attract, retain and develop the ECE workforce.

Access to better quality programs: Advocates and policymakers will have a comprehensive picture of distribution of quality of the services across regions, communities and neighborhoods of the state and have access to data systems that answer queries like the availability of better quality programs for toddlers or young learners of the English language.

Tracking progress: Educators of the ECE will extract cumulative and rich information on the strengths of the children and their progress in all the areas of development and utilize this information to plan curricula and learning experiences. 

New findings

The important findings from the  ECDC 2013 Early Childhood Data Systems Survey are:

  • Among 49 states and District of Columbia, only one state – Pennsylvania - has the capability to link child level data through all ECE programs and also to the K-12 data system of the state.
  • About 30 states can securely link ECE child level data to the K-12 data of the states, contrasted with 20 states where ECE child-level data is linked to social services data and 12 states which link the ECE child-level data to health data
  • ECE data systems coordinated by the state are more likely to link data for children in pre-kindergarten and pre-school programs compared to children in subsidized child care or Head Start programs.
  • 36 states collate data relating to child development from ECE programs and data on kindergarten entry assessment has been collected by 29 states.
  • An ECE data governance entity has been designated by 32 states to guide the use and development of longitudinal ECE data systems coordinated by the state.


Recommendations

The report has the following recommendations for practitioners and policymakers:

  • Strengthen the ability of the states to link early learning data securely through all federal and state programs
  • Expand the efforts of the state to connect, gather and use child assessment and screening data for the improvement of early education.
  • Work for the creation and sustenance of data governance entities working on early childhood education to increase security, coordination and the proper utilization of related data.

 

Association of Educators