ERIC Number: ED472546
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Data Collection and System Monitoring in Early Childhood Programs. Early Childhood Family Policy Series.
Olmsted, Patricia P.
Identifying the growing interest in early childhood programs and services, this paper offers practical guidelines for collecting accurate and useful information about early childhood services in a particular country or region, focusing on data collection and system monitoring. The paper discusses how programs develop out of policy decisions and how monitoring practices can be tailored to be consistent with state policies. Examples are provided of data collection methods used to examine program coverage and quality, two areas especially important for policy decisions. The paper also discusses unique demands of data collection for cross-national research, and examines the differences between the types of programs falling under early childhood services in developed and developing countries. Three types of data collection are described: program questionnaires, household surveys, and special studies of programs and children. The use of these methods for system monitoring is explained, and the use of a more general procedure integrating these methods and using the findings for future planning is discussed. The paper presents methods to collect data regarding coverage/equity and program quality for countries focusing on center-based programs and those focusing on non-center-based programs. Guidelines for collecting data for cross-national purposes are presented and findings from cross-national studies are detailed. The paper concludes by asserting that a careful approach to research design can yield accurate and useful information even in challenging situations. The following principles for a systematic approach to data collection and system monitoring conclude the report: (1) carefully define the type of service to be studied; (2) operationalize outcomes to be measured based on policy goals; (3) conform data collection methods and sampling procedures to the study's goals; and (4) pilot test data collection instruments and train data collectors to ensure the highest reliability. (Contains 14 references.) (KB)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Data Collection, Developed Nations, Developing Nations, Early Childhood Education, Educational Quality, Equal Education, Policy Analysis, Program Evaluation, Public Policy
Early Childhood and Family Education Section, ED/BAS/ECF, UNESCO, 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France. Tel: +33-1-45-68-10-00; Fax: +33-1-45-67-16-90; Web site: http://www.unesco.org.
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Paris (France). Early Childhood and Family Education Unit.