In the current era of reform, much has been made of the fact that there are many influences that shape children beyond the walls of the schoolhouse. Powerful data “warehouses” have been built to track children and interventions within school bureaucracies and in other social service sectors. Yet these data systems are rarely linked to provide a holistic view of how individual children are faring both in and out of school and which interventions—or combinations thereof—are most promising. Privacy laws and institutional traditions have made such collaborations difficult, if not impossible. The Youth Data Archive, the Gardner Center’s data-linking strategy, fosters the productive use of cross-agency data now employed by researchers, school officials, and service providers in communities throughout California. The editors bring together participants who describe the YDA initiative and its challenges and successes. The participants also give detailed background on how the archive was built and how it has led to improvements in services, particularly for children at risk. This book is a guide for educators, civic leaders, and researchers looking for ways to leverage data to identify the most effective policies, interventions, and use of resources for their communities.
McLaughlin, M., & London, R.A. (Eds.). (2013). From Data to Action: A Community Approach to Improving Youth Outcomes. Cambridge, MA. Harvard Education Press.