Connecting Data and Data Systems to Improve Effectiveness and Inform Decisions
Though research has shown that program quality and staff training are linked to educational outcomes for young children, data about programs, early childhood education (ECE) professionals, and children themselves are not connected. Policymakers, program administrators, ECE professionals, and parents need connected, timely, and accurate data to make informed decisions and to evaluate how to help children succeed when they enter school and beyond.
Comprehensive and connected data (and systems) on children, programs, and the workforce can be used to track progress over time, pinpoint problems, identify underserved groups, and allocate limited resources.
Effective use of data systems will also help states evaluate and improve the following:
- Program quality: State and local program managers will receive timely and accurate ongoing feedback on the performance of programs in relation to their quality standards and will be able to identify and adapt strategies and practices from the highest-performing providers to improve all programs across the state.
- ECE workforce quality: Higher education institutions, state legislators, and other leaders will have information on supply of and demand for ECE staff members; a comprehensive picture of professional development opportunities and investments; and an understanding of how well these supports are working to attract, retain, and develop an ECE workforce that can help parents prepare every young child for success in school and life.
- Access to high-quality programs: Policymakers and advocates will have a detailed picture of how the quality of services is distributed across neighborhoods, communities, and regions of their states; they will also see the distribution of accessible data systems that answer questions about, for example, the availability of high-quality programs for infants and toddlers or young English-language learners.
- Child outcomes: ECE professionals will draw from rich, cumulative information on children’s strengths and progress in all areas of their development and use this information to plan and adjust curricula, learning experiences, and family engagement efforts.