What's Happening: The purpose of this study is to describe what data preschools in a mid-sized city in the Northeast collect, how they use that data, and the challenges they face. The study focuses on three types of data: early learning outcomes, dosage (i.e., the amount of exposure to early childhood education), and classroom quality. The report further demonstrates how preschools could use data to inform program-level decisions. Administrators and teachers at seven preschools in a convenience sample of preschools were interviewed using a structured protocol. The transcripts were coded using hierarchically organized codes and then analyzed to determine the main themes. The report also includes descriptive analyses of early learning outcomes, dosage, and classroom quality data provided by two of the preschool programs. Participating preschools assess children's early learning outcomes through a variety of systems to inform instruction and for parent outreach. Preschools report various processes for collecting and storing attendance data for compliance purposes, but some want to link them to learning outcomes. Participating preschools conduct observations of classrooms to provide feedback to teachers. There are some challenges to combining and analyzing individual programs' early learning and dosage data to inform program-level decisions. Further research is needed to determine which systems for collecting and using data lead to better outcomes for children. Early childhood programs may benefit from guidance on effective methods for presenting information about children's progress and the importance of attending preschool to parents and other relevant audiences.
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the results of another report of the same name. This study explores how seven early childhood education programs in a mid-sized city in the Northeast region are collecting and using data, how they would like to use data, how they could use the data that they have, and the challenges they face in these efforts. Participating preschools used a variety of externally and internally developed systems to collect data on early learning outcomes, dosage (the amount of time children spend in early childhood education), and classroom quality. The preschools also provided data on early learning outcomes and dosage to parents, but some administrators and teachers had concerns about effective strategies for communicating findings from the data. The preschools reported collecting sufficient data and generally do not want to collect more data.