Clearing a Way Forward to Insight from Integrated Data

An early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS) wasn’t performing as expected, and state leaders were eager to pinpoint why good intentions and a major investment hadn’t yielded the insights that would improve programs for children and families.

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The Problem

With data available, but little in the way of insights, state leaders were desperate to find a path forward. The system, which integrated critical data from programs and services for children age five and under and their families, promised to help educators make more informed decisions about student programs. However, the system wasn’t delivering its expected value. Few requests for data were being made, and what had been integrated was gathering digital dust.

The Approach

To provide a clear, actionable evaluation of the strengths and challenges of the system, our education data services team started with an extensive discovery phase. We engaged a broad range of stakeholders that included end-users, management, IT representatives, researchers, community leaders, and agency and program leaders in focus groups and empathy interviews to unearth their frustrations and needs. Our intention was to understand the challenges of data access, data governance, and data usefulness.

The Outcome

After understanding the state situation, we were able to come up with a plan for a clear path forward. The state now has a clear strategy for integrating phased projects over the next several years – culminating in a system which will positively benefit administrators, teachers, and, most importantly, the students of the state.