Data Trends We’re Watching in 2020


One of the biggest challenges in early childhood education data is that there are no universally accepted standards for collecting it. This is especially apparent in Head Start programs where information is generated in siloed systems that vary greatly across grantees and sites. As providers of publicly funded programs, individual Head Start grantees share some of their data with the federal government, but are not able to compare results across programs.


Every year Head Start grantees provide the U.S. Office of Head Start a Program Information Report (PIR), a descriptive report answering 680 questions related to the characteristics of each center and the children they serve.

The information collected addresses administrative data – like the number of children served, health status, screenings, etc., outcomes assessment, and program monitoring.  Yet this data is rarely linked within, let alone across, multiple sites and centers.

This presents a problem for those interested in discerning best practices, analyzing program performance and outcomes, and making data-informed decisions.


Defining data principles and developing data standards is one way organizations like the National Head Start Association (NHSA) are addressing the need for new data systems.

Working with organizations like BrightHive and the Ed-Fi Alliance, technology experts like COPA [link –], and early childhood education data thought leaders, NHSA is paving a new path for standardizing and utilizing data at all levels of the Head Start program.