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Mel Gravely

Data Does It: How to Effectively Collect Data in Your Head Start Program

pie_chartHead Start collects tons of data all the time. It exists and persists in every aspect of what you do. The challenge, however, is learning how to purposefully collect and use data to enhance student achievement and improve family outcomes.

Learning how to collect and interpret data will allow practitioners the opportunity to predict learning peaks and valleys, as well as identify critical family engagement opportunities and intervention points. This information is imperative to help develop best practices both inside and outside the classroom.

Collecting data is an ongoing process. However, that doesn’t mean it happens organically. You have to plan…

Identify stakeholders and form a data team
Before a plan can be put in place, you need to gather the team who decides the plan. Be sure to clarify roles, and to give everyone on the team a sense of ownership of the results. Make sure that there is representation from those on which the data will have the most impact on their jobs and lives.

See Team Building

Develop a formal data collection model
This is a no brainer. Without a plan of collection, no data can be collected. Will the data be self-reported, observed by a third-party, or aggregated from existing figures? What tools will you use to collect the data? How long will it take?

Focus data collection for specific applicable use, but recognize that findings will likely inform multiple aspects of your agency.
If you have a specific problem, gathering targeted data is one of the primary tools to help solve that problem. Designing a specific collection model for that problem is imperative. However, while data should be focused for a specific applicable use, recognize that the majority of the time, there will be multiple eventual uses for findings from the data. This can really help eliminate duplicated efforts in the long-term

Additional Resources:
The Office of Head Start provides many resources to help your Head Start program gather data effectively.


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