Posts Tagged by data sharing
|November 13, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Education, Policy, Research||
Got the comparative analysis blues? Need more or better data? Well, difficult-to-find data on pre-K programs just got easier to access thanks to a combined effort from the Early Education Initiative and the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) of the New America Foundation. An expansion of the FEBP database added 2007 through 2011 enrollment and funding information on public early education programs at both the state and local levels – including Head Start and federally mandated special education services to young children.
Alex Holt gives an overview of this valuable resource at the Foundation’s website, and discusses the serious deficit in reliable pre-K data reporting in the brief (with Lisa Guernsey) Counting Kids and Tracking Funds: Falling Short at the Local Level.
|September 21, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Elderly, Health, Research||
An international study out of Australia found that happiness peaks (on average) during a person’s 60’s, then begins to decline, before dropping off considerably. Earlier this year, Dr Tony Beatton of Queensland University of Technology and Professor Paul Frijters of The University of Queensland reported findings from their analysis of data from approximately 60,000 people from Australia, Britain and Germany. Highlights include:
- Persons entering middle/retirement age (55 to 75 years) reported the highest levels of happiness
- The data from Germany showed a decrease in happiness as persons entered adulthood, then a peak at age 65 – a pattern different from the other data
- Happiness dropped significantly after age 75 across cases
This research adds to the discussion of the ‘U bend of happiness” (see a great write-up on it in The Economist), the concept that happiness ultimately culminates in late middle age; but Beatton and Frijters also address the drop in happiness after age 75, suggesting that it is related to the onset or worsening of health problems. This aligns with prior research on the relationship between the presentation of depression symptoms and medical issues/illnesses among the elderly population.
Study Citation: Frijters, Paul & Beatton, Tony, 2012. “The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age,” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 525-542
|July 7, 2012||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Education, Federal Government||
Data released by the U.S. Department of Education quantifies the extent of homelessness among American youth, as over one million homeless children are enrolled in preschool through the 12th grade in public schools across the country. The 2010-11 count (1,065,794) is up 13 percent from 2009. For the purposes of the research, youth are classified as “enrolled” if they attend class and participate in activities at a public school.
According to the report, Education for Homeless Children and Youths Program Data Collection Summary, a presentation of analyses from the school year 2010-11 (including comparisons to data from prior years) the number of homeless children enrolled in public schools increased 57 percent since the beginning of the recession (the 2006-2007 school year). States with the largest increases in the numbers of homeless students include Kentucky and Utah (47 percent), Michigan and West Virginia (38 percent), and Mississippi (35 percent).
A positive takeaway from the report is that the academic performance of homeless students in grades 3-12 appears to have improved somewhat. In 2008-09, 49 percent of these students met or exceeded standard state proficiency in reading and 48 percent in math; in 2009-10, 52 percent of grade homeless students in grades 3-12 met or exceeded standard state proficiency in reading, and 50 percent did the same in math.
|June 7, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Evaluation, Management, Program Model||
Inputs, outcomes, program evaluation, best-practices, the gold-standard – our familiarity with these terms speaks to how ingrained measurement has become in the daily operations of nonprofits, especially for human and social service organizations. Program and other service data is used to drive decision-making and report performance to external stakeholders – especially funders – but the collecting, recording, analyzing and making use of it can easily become an infernal nightmare as described in the post Performance Measurement in Human Services: From Challenge to Opportunity by Matthew Forti at the Bridgespan Group web page.
What is a nonprofit director to do when multiple, often varied (or worse, duplicated), accountability measures lead to inefficient use of time (extensive data collection), start eating up chunks of the budget (temporary hires to catch up on a backlog of data entry and/or accuracy issues) and otherwise draw the focus away from the organization’s programming, service delivery and mission? Well, for starters, don’t let measurement own you – you must reclaim measurement. Revisit, and if necessary, revise its purpose, methods and role in your nonprofit. Mr. Forti offers several starting points for your journey toward streamlining and improving performance measurement (including a link to a white paper on measurement), all appropriate for nonprofits of any size.
Metrics, databases and reporting requirements won’t disappear, and sometimes, with some funders, they may not even make sense. That said, measurement will improve your services and your bottom line when used intelligently, proactively and consistently by leaders who recognize its value. Set the tone for your team. Make measurement work for you – not the other way around.