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Related Resources – Data

Improving instruction and child outcomes by using data effectively

Effective use of child, teacher and classroom assessment data can help teachers and educational leaders target instructional strategies and resources to achieve desired early learning outcomes. States vary in their capacity to support the use of data to inform decisions. Technical expertise can support SEA staff understanding of the nature and types of data that can be used to improve the quality of early educational experiences and ultimately early learning outcomes.

Selected Resources and Websites

New! Using Child Assessment Data to Achieve Positive Outcomes is a video by the Colorado Department of Education that shows administrators and teachers illustrating how they use authentic child assessment data to: 1) inform funders, 2) inform classroom level instruction, 3) support teachers, and 4) meet the needs of individual children and their families.


An Educator’s Guide to Questionnaire Development is a tool for principals, superintendents, state-level personnel, or other school or district personnel can use when they need to make a decision about an education policy or practice but (1) lack the information needed to make that decision and (2) lack a preexisting questionnaire that can be used to gather the information. This guide can help these educators collect information about attitudes, perceptions, or factual information to inform their decisions.

Building Capacity to Use Linked Data for Program Improvement and Research Initiatives highlights the opportunities and challenges in linking data, and has developed several short, easy-to-read resources to help program leaders work toward linking their data.

Data Collection and Use in Early Childhood Education Programs: Evidence from the Northeast Region. REL Northeast & Islands studied how seven preschools in a midsized city in the Northeast Region collect and use early childhood education data and the challenges they face in doing so. The study demonstrates how data can be used in preschools, and can help inform preschool administrators who are looking for different approaches to collecting and using data, policymakers who are interested in increasing data-informed decisionmaking in preschools, and education leaders who want to improve their data structures to answer more complex questions about early childhood experiences and outcomes in K–12 settings. (Webinar discussing the findings can be found here).

The Center on Standards and Assessments Implementation The Center on Standards and Assessments Implementation (CSAI), funded through the U.S. Department of Education is designed to assist states’ transition to new standards and assessments.

Child Trends Child Trends, a non-profit research organization seeks to improve the lives of children and youth by conducting high-quality research and sharing it with the people and institutions whose decisions and actions affect children. Resources on early childhood assessment can be found on their website. One key report on early childhood measures can be found here.

CLASP Data Finder CLASP maintains a customizable database of information on early childhood care and education programs and families, including figures on poverty, demographics, child care, Head Start and Early Head Start, TANF, and work supports. You can run reports based on all states, the U.S., or specific states.

The Condition of Education 2015. The indicators presented in The Condition of Education 2015 provides an update on the state of education in America and includes findings on the demographics of American schools, U.S. resources for schooling, and outcomes associated with education.Three spotlight indicators describe approaches to learning behaviors for first-time kindergartners and their relationship to achievement in kindergarten and first grade, disparities in educational outcomes among male youth of color, and differences in postsecondary degree completion by socioeconomic status.

The Condition of Education 2014. This website has the key indicators of the condition of education in the United States. These indicators summarize important developments and trends using the latest statistics and are updated as data become available. The Condition of Education 2014 was recently released and can be access through the website.

Data in Head Start and Early Head Start: Digging Into Data. This interactive training tool from the Head Start National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations (NCPMFO) uses real-life scenarios to help program leaders choose and use data for many audiences. Activities include checking the integrity of available information, using a variety of techniques to aggregate and analyze data, using data to make decision on program priorities, and presenting and sharing data with different stakeholders.

The Early Childhood Data Collaborative The Early Childhood Data Collaborative supports state policymakers’ development and use of coordinated state early care and education (ECE) data systems to improve the quality of ECE programs and the workforce, increase access to high-quality ECE programs, and ultimately improve child outcomes. The ECDC will provide tools and resources to encourage state policy change and provide a national forum to support the development and use of coordinated state ECE data systems.

Head Start Data Are Totally Interesting, We Swear. NIEER/CEELO researcher Megan Carolan wrote a guest blog for the New America Foundation’s EdCentral, exploring the large pool of data that exists from the federal Head Start program’s Program Information Reports.

Practitioner Data Use in Schools: Workshop Toolkit. This toolkit is designed to help teachers and administrators use education data more systematically and accurately.

State of American’s Children 2014. This report provides a comprehensive compilation and analysis of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on population, poverty, family structure, family income, health, nutrition, early childhood development, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and gun violence. The report provides key child data showing alarming numbers of children at risk. A section on Early Childhood covers Head Start and home visiting programs as well.

The State of Preschool 2014. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2013-2014 school year as well as documenting more than a decade of change since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. The Yearbook also provides narrative information on early childhood education efforts in the 10 states and the U.S. territories that do not provide state-funded pre-K.

State Preschool Yearbook 2013. The 2013 State Preschool Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2012-2013 school year as well as documenting a decade of progress since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. Tracking trends long term is key to understanding the progress of early childhood education across the country and improving educational opportunities for America’s children. For the first time, the Yearbook also provides narrative information on early childhood education efforts in the 10 states and the U.S. territories which do not provide state-funded pre-K.

Tracking Progress in Early Care and Education: Program, Staff, and Family Measurement Tools is a resource from the Office of Head Start National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement that features 15 evidence-based tools to that programs can use to measure parent, family, and community engagement outcomes.

The Young Child Risk Calculator. The National Center for Children in Poverty updated The Young Child Risk Calculator, an interactive tool that shows users how many children under age nine in each state are experiencing serious risks to their development.