Program Planning

Data in Head Start and Early Head Start: Digging Into Data

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Welcome to Digging Into Data. Do you sometimes wonder how you can use your program’s data to decide on new priorities? Are you frequently stumped by questions from governing body or Policy Council members about program activities? Do you get easily overwhelmed by the statistics in reports from your information management system? Do you wonder how you can better use your annual report and presentations in the community to tell your program’s story?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, this interactive training module is for you.


Digging into Data uses life-like scenarios that Head Start and Early Head Start leaders typically face to build program leaders’ data use skills to address these and other situations.

  • Activity 1: Select the Right Data presents three email requests for information. Build your response to each email by reviewing attaching, and commenting on data.
  • Activity 2: Steer Clear of Data Collection Problems provides an opportunity to review a variety of data sources for accuracy. Can you find the red flags?
  • Activity 3: Change Your View shows four different techniques for looking at data to see how each view tells a different story. They are: aggregate; disaggregate; compare; and find mean, median, mode and range.
  • Activity 4: Draw Conclusions consists of three scenarios in which management team members review a hypothesis, identify and present related data, engage in discussion, and draw conclusions.
  • Activity 5: Take Action shares a methodology for considering and prioritizing actions based on data.
  • Activity 6: Share Data shows how the same data can be effectively shared with different audiences. It also offers some approaches for responding to tough questions.

The six activities may be completed in any order. Select activities that best match your interest, knowledge, and skills in using data. A beginner may want to go through the modules in order. Data experts might decide they are already masters of concepts such as aggregate and disaggregate and skip Change Your View, which defines and illustrates these basic terms. Even a data ace will gain some new tips for data use through the activities in the module.

Digging Into Data: Text Version contains the information found in the six interactive training activities.

This product was prepared under Grant #90HC0006 for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, by the National Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations.