The Cedar Valley area began an initiative in 2001 that charged itself with developing a data tracking system that would allow the community to measure many different types of outcomes using local data.
A large piece of what SuccessLink provides to the community is the development of a community wide data system. This system began in 2001 as an attempt to capture data at the individual level in efforts to better track and measure community wide outcomes. Data is gathered from the area school districts as well as most of the area youth serving agencies such as Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, YWCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, etc. The data is gathered and placed into a database where it is then linked together allowing agencies to measure how well their participants are doing in school. Any number of queries can be run once the data is connected allowing for a much richer and deeper understanding of how local programs are impacting participants. This system has allowed all involved agencies to measure different types of outcomes using a data driven system.
How it works
All the different pieces of data, or data sets, are placed into a data “universe”. The data is all stored in a SQL Server and accessed using BusinessObjects, a business intelligence software. The data sets are then reconstructed and linked together, allowing for thousands of different queries to be run, asking questions that could not be answered using the data in its unconnected state.
For example, because the data is now connected, we can answer in a matter of minutes the following types of questions:
How many students attending Carver Middle School, are in the 7th grade, have a grade point average between 3.2 and 4.0, who are a member of the Boys & Girls Club, have a sibling that attends East High School, and has been seen by the Health Department for a sports physical any time in the school year?
This is a very complex question that is very difficult to answer using community-wide data before it’s connected. This is only a sample of the type of queries this system can answer. Once more data sets are deposited into the universe on a regular basis, more complex questions can be answered. This system will assist all involved agencies with measuring different types of outcomes using a data-driven system.