The DataHUB connects data across sectors to support research and analysis that informs policy making and program evaluation to improve the well-being of all Rhode Islanders.
The DataHUB uses the power of linked data to inform and inspire innovative decision making and research by bringing together data sets from multiple federal, state and local sources on the early childhood, K-12, postsecondary and workforce continuum. Linking across agencies allows new information and patterns to emerge, cross-agency collaboration to evolve, and new insights to be discovered.
Integrated, longitudinal data systems are needed to ensure that informed decisions routinely occur throughout government with the speed and flexibility required for real-time decision making.
Since 2005, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded grants to states to design, develop, implement, and expand statewide longitudinal data systems (SLDS). These systems are intended to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data.
In 2009, Rhode Island was the recipient of a U.S. Department of Education Statewide Longitudinal Data System grant. Through this grant, in partnership with the RI Department of Education (RIDE), the RI DataHUB was created, establishing an SLDS in RI to integrate and link data from various agencies and organizations.
In 2012, RI was awarded both a second SLDS grant as well as a Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. WDQI funding supports a parallel effort to the SLDS grant program. These two programs encourage the development of interconnected statewide education and workforce administrative databases. Together, the SLDS and WDQI grants provided seed resources for RI to establish the interoperability of data along the education to workforce continuum.
Over the past decade, the DataHUB has continued to increase partnerships between state and local agencies, analyzed linked data, and worked to foster cross-sector problem solving. The linkage of data over time and across sectors has allowed the DataHUB to be used for the public good such as pioneering research on chronic absenteeism (longitudinal K-12 data), evaluating the impact of elevated blood lead levels on academic achievements (linked health and K-12 data), analyzing workforce development efforts (linked K-12, higher education, and labor data), and high quality academic research from faculty at Brown University, URI, Portland State University, and elsewhere.
Under data sharing agreements that DataSpark and the University of Rhode Island have established with partner agencies and organizations, we integrate individual-level data on early childhood, K-12 and higher education, workforce, and health and human services into the DataHUB.
These administrative records are collected on an ongoing basis by our partners and are updated by DataSpark at regular intervals. The integration process entails collaboration between agency data stewards and DataSpark staff to ensure that data are clean, well-understood, and that knowledge about underlying programs and policies is incorporated. These collaborations are essential to successful cross-agency data integration.
The DataHUB is a resource for cross-agency data projects such as the Rhode Island Talent Dashboard, an interactive site that demonstrates linkages between K-12, postsecondary education and workforce.
The DataHUB partners with many state and local government agencies across Rhode Island to help support programs and inform decision-making. By engaging with government and working closely with their data, we are able to provide critical analyses, be a source of innovation on the technical aspects of data integration, and help to improve administrative data quality and data documentation.
DataSpark’s work using the DataHUB is always driven by state priorities and is either commissioned by the state or undertaken with state approval. While much of the work that DataSpark produces is for internal partner use, publicly available data reports, visualizations, and other products can be found here.
Linked, de-identified data from the DataHUB can be used by approved researchers, under strict security and confidentiality requirements, with agency consent.
A researcher will contact DataSpark and propose an analysis that aligns with state research priorities. DataSpark staff will then help researchers understand how to translate the administrative data into descriptive, causal, and correlational variables that researchers need to generate robust, scientifically accurate findings. If proposed analyses are approved by agency data providers, DataSpark contracts with researchers to prepare and securely transmit the requested data, which is returned or destroyed at the end of each project.
Past and current projects have included research on the economic and social impact of adult education programs in Rhode Island, labor market outcomes to workforce training programs, association between childhood lead exposure and later school outcomes, and postsecondary outcomes of K-12 career and technical education.
The DataHUB has collaborated with the RI Department of Health, researchers from Brown University, the Urban Institute, HousingWorks RI, and many others to evaluate policy related to housing, adult education, school-based interventions, and childhood lead poisoning. Unlike researcher-led projects, policy and program evaluation help to assess support and compliance with existing policies and programs, identify gaps or overlaps in implementation, demonstrate the impacts and value of a policy or program, and provide accountability for resources invested by states or organizations. The findings feed directly back to decision-makers.
As an SLDS, the DataHUB can uniquely support such efforts because newly-collected data can be merged with existing administrative records for more cost-effective “quasi-experimental” analyses.
Past projects have included analyses of academic outcomes for various types of school-based interventions, such as after-school, college readiness, or restorative justice programming; investigations into access to early education services among children from disadvantaged populations; and tracking the college majors selected by Rhode Islanders according to their high school preparedness in computer science.
DataSpark is a program unit within the University of Rhode Island Libraries. DataSpark and the RI DataHUB, partner with public, academic and nonprofit entities to harness the power of linked data and catalyze smart, innovative, reliable, and transparent use of data.
The information provided by DataSpark on the RI DataHUB is for general informational purposes only. All information is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any administrative data provided to DataSpark on behalf of the source agency. Due to the timing of data collection by the originator; transfer to DataSpark; and analysis, vetting and publication by the DataHUB, the information found within the DataHUB may not match data publicly available elsewhere.
Although the data provided to DataSpark have been produced and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made regarding accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of any information. This disclaimer applies to both isolated and aggregate uses of the information. The information is provided on an "as is" basis. All warranties of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, freedom from contamination by computer viruses and non-infringement of proprietary rights are disclaimed. Changes may be periodically made to the information herein; these changes may or may not be incorporated in any new version of the publication.
Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available by DataSpark and the DataHUB, are those of the respective author(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of the data providing agency.