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Report: Most States Cannot Answer 'Basic' Questions about Early Childhood Education

The Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) has released the "2013 State of the States' Early Childhood Data Systems," which finds that most states cannot answer basic questions about the efficacy of early childhood education (ECE) because the data are housed in multiple systems that are uncoordinated and managed by different governmental agencies.

The report is based on the findings of a July 2013 survey of 50 states and the District of Columbia. "Completed by state education, health and social services staff," according to the report's executive summary, "focused on these three key aspects of state data systems:

  • Do states have the ability to securely link child‐level data across ECE programs and to other state data systems, including K‐12, health, and social services?
  • Do states collect developmental screening, assessment, and kindergarten entry data to examine children's developmental status and service needs?
  • Do states have an ECE data governance structure designated to support the development and use of a coordinated longitudinal ECE data system?"

Key findings of the report include:

  • Pennsylvania was the only state that reported an ability to "link child‐level data across all ECE programs and to the state's K‐12 data system;"
  • Thirty states reported that ECE child-level data are linked to K-12 data;
  • Twenty states reported links between ECE child-level data and social services data, and 18 more said they had plans to create such linkages;
  • Only twelve states said they link ECE child-level data with their health data, but 22 said they were planning to in the future;
  • Twenty-five and 23 states, respectively, reported linking preschool special education data or pre-kindergarten data, but only nine states said they link federal Head Start data to K-12 data and only 12 reported linking subsidized child care to other ECE data;
  • Thirty-six states reported that they collect state-level data about child development from ECE programs;
  • Twenty-nine states told researchers they collect Kindergarten entry assessment data; and
  • "Thirty-two states have designated an ECE data governance entity to guide the development and use of a state‐coordinated longitudinal ECE data system," according to the report. "These governance entities are well positioned to coordinate data across the multiple state agencies that administer a patchwork of state and federally funded programs."

To view the full report, visit ecedata.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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