Thursday, September 11, 2014

Data Sources for Early Literacy Research

Image source: Pixabay
The following data analysis tools are suggestions provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  Consider using these tools to develop a clearer image of the literacy needs of young children and families in your community.

Data Analysis Tools: Child Well-Being

Kids Count State Profiles

If you want to improve conditions for children or families, native-born or immigrant, at risk or below the poverty line, this tool is invaluable. Kids Count profiles are provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which fosters community support for vulnerable children and families. It lets users do web-based searches for data within a single state or territory, and includes community-level data by location or topic. You can create profiles, maps, rankings, line graphs, or raw data to identify or confirm a program need. It allows you to compare conditions for children across states or the entire U.S., or to search by topic, e.g., immigrant children living in poverty in homes where no parents work, or teens aged 16 to 19 not in school and not high school graduates. Much information is collected from reliable sources such as the U.S, Census Bureau, but data are combined for you to identify children’s needs. The foundation also aggregates data from its state partners, and some key Information is published in data books. The site provides many pertinent good practice models, ideas, and case studies supported by its data.

National Center for Children in Poverty State Profiles

This suite of tools from the Mailman School of Health at Columbia University helps plan projects to improve the wellbeing of low-income children and their families. Tools include economic profiles for children; state-based policies that significantly affect children, adolescents, and family economics by state; an income needs calculator and state-by-state budget calculator; and a "wizard" that creates custom tables of national- and state-level statistics about low-income children. Data on areas of interest such as parental education, parental employment, marital status, and race/ethnicity—among many other variables—are included, and all are easy to use. Data are aggregated from multiple sources, with the goals of providing practitioners and advocates information about emerging challenges and insights for turning research into practice; giving policymakers information to make good decisions; and supplying facts, trends, and policy developments to help the media accurately report about the realities faced by low-income children and families in the U.S.

Data Analysis Tools: Education

Useful for anyone planning an early learning program, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) collects and communicates research supporting effective early childhood education. It aims to describe excellence in terms that policy makers can use and the general public can easily understand; to monitor and evaluate national and state progress in this area; to develop and analyze model legislation, standards, regulations, and other policies that improve quality of and access to good preschool programs. You can also compare alternative policies. The 2010 Yearbook allows users to click a state or region to view its profile as a PDF document. The Roadmap to State Profile Pages link describes the data and terminology used in the profiles. Other tools include fast facts and figures, research data, and publications.

State and County Estimates of Low Literacy

This site can help users plan literacy programs for adults. It provides estimates of adults who lack basic prose literacy skills (BPLS) for all states and counties in the United States based on statistical models developed from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) and the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). NCES produced user-friendly tables to compare literacy estimates across states or counties and across years, including data such as levels of educational attainment and race/ethnicity distributions. These are considered the best predictions that can be made in the absence of any other literacy assessment data available. You can view state or county estimates or compare any two states or counties.