Data and CQI

Solutions for Driving Quality

Data and CQI

Solutions for Driving Quality

Telling Your Data Story

Your program collects valuable data that could deeply inform your work with children and families. Traditionally, programs have used their data to track deadlines and create reports. With the right data tools, however, you can do so much more.The Head Start Performance Standards have introduced a new expectation for data use: “continuous quality improvement” (CQI). This is in addition to “quality assurance” and goes a step beyond traditional compliance. CQI assumes that programs incorporate data into their decision making, through the use of intentional analysis and a culture of inquiry, using tools drawn from improvement science. At Early Intel, we’re translating these methods and practices for early childhood providers.

Quality Assurance

  • EFocus on averages
  • EMinimum standards
  • EFocus on error
  • EFocus on rules and compliance
  • EMonitors through periodic audits
  • EFocus on individual accountability


Quality Improvement

  • EFocus on vulnerable populations
  • EIncremental progress
  • EFocus on improvement
  • EUses testing, experiments and innovation
  • EHuman centered design
  • EFocus on Teams

Connecting Data Silos

The three dimensionality of linked data enables staff to see the patterns and relationships to identify, diagnose and solve problems. It is simply a matter of exporting identified reports to us, to do that legwork for you, and you will have exponentially increased the value of your data.

Disconnected data sets are a lost opportunity, preventing you from linking child data with classroom data, with parent needs and outcomes, etc.

For the first time, our dashboards link the following data sets:

  • Child Assessments
  • CLASS Scores
  • Family Needs
  • Family Outcomes
  • Attendance
  • Family Demographics
  • Health Data

Benchmarking — Gaining Perspective

Knowing how your program is performing in relation to others is a key lever for improving performance. Most early childhood programs, however, lack this perspective — they have no way of knowing how their child assessments, family needs, chronic absence or health data compare to their peers. As a Network of programs using standardized dashboards, however, we’re able to integrate this information into our dashboards, enabling programs to quickly see where they excel and where they can improve. We’re also able to identify “bright spots,” so that we can find high performers and learn from their experience.

CQI Tools and Practice

Good data is a prerequisite to improvement but without effective practice, data by itself has little impact. The Q.I. Network addresses the way programs incorporate their data into inquiry, analysis, decision making and ultimately their organizational culture.

Our team of experts orient members to the basic tools of CQI (e.g. fishbone diagrams, process mapping, hypothesis testing) and support local leaders through the process of identifying a problem of practice and applying improvement methods. Our coaches support management teams as they master these methods.

Program teams in the Network are working on a range of issues: chronic absence, enrollment, family engagement, teacher turnover, racial equity, etc. Teams share with one another what they are learning, through scheduled virtual gatherings and through the online member platform. Members not only learn from one other, but they support one another as they acquire mastery of these new tools and methods.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Human beings are hardwired to digest information visually. It’s just more efficient to find trends and patterns in colored graphs than rows of numbers.

Our data partner, CCR Analytics, produces an array of renderings with your data from the full program level down to the classroom and individual child and family. Interactive dashboards have multiple pages displayed in an array of bar and pie charts, run charts, heat maps and lists that offer users tremendous flexibility for searching and sorting. They’re built on Microsoft’s Power B.I. platform, an easy to use software that enables your team to make comments, set filters and deliver presentations.

Master Your Data and Drive Quality

There are plenty of obstacles for ECE leaders attempting to master data. Success requires the right data tools, the right improvement methods, the right decision process and ultimately the right team culture.