Data Quality Campaign Early Childhood Data Collaborative

2013 National Results

Overview of ECDC’s 2013 Early Childhood Data Systems Survey

The 2013 State of States’ Early Childhood Data Systems report is based on a survey of 50 states and the District of Columbia, assessing the coordination of their early childhood data systems. The survey was completed by state education, health, and social services program staff and focused on states’ capacity to securely link child-level ECE data, collect state-level child screening and assessment data and manage the security and use of coordinated ECE data.


The major findings from the survey include:


  • In 49 states and the District of Columbia, child-level data across different ECE programs are not all linked. Only one state – Pennsylvania – can link child-level data across all ECE programs and to the state’s K-12 data system. Most states cannot answer key policy questions about all children served in publicly-funded early care and education programs because ECE child-level data is not linked.
  • 30 states reported securely linking ECE child-level data to states’ K-12 data, compared to 20 states that link ECE child-level data to social services data and 12 states that link ECE child-level data to states’ health data. A number of states are engaged in planning processes to create these linkages between state health (22 states) and social services (18 states) data systems.
  • State coordinated ECE data systems are more likely to link data for children participating in state pre-kindergarten and preschool special education than children in Head Start or subsidized child care programs. More states securely link preschool special education data (25 states) or state-prekindergarten data (23 states) than link federal Head Start (9 states) or subsidized child care (12 states) data.
  • 36 states collect state-level child development data from ECE programs and 29 states capture kindergarten entry assessment data. Aggregate data on developmental screening and assessment, including kindergarten readiness assessment (collected by 29 states), can be useful at a state level to track, over time, the trends in children’s developmental status and need for early intervention and/or special education services. More information is needed about the proportion of programs participating in these state systems and how this development and assessment information is being used.
  • 32 states have designated an ECE data governance entity to guide the development and use of a state coordinated longitudinal ECE data system. Over one-half of states have established an ECE data governance structure to assist with strategic planning, secure data sharing across public agencies, and ensure appropriate, secure use of data. These governance entities are well positioned to coordinate data across the multiple state agencies that administer a patchwork of state and federally funded programs.