2016 Federal Index


Did the agency collect, analyze, share, and use high-quality administrative and survey data - consistent with strong privacy protections - to improve (or help other entities improve) federal, state, and local programs in FY16?

Administration for Children and Families (HHS)
  • ACF has made numerous administrative and survey datasets publicly available for secondary use, such as data from the National Survey of Early Care and EducationChild Care and Development FundNational Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being, and Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, among many other examples.
  • ACF’s Interoperability Initiative supports data sharing through policies and guidelines to accelerate adoption; standards and tools that are reusable across the country; field-based pilots; and addressing common privacy and security requirements to mitigate risks.
  • Several ACF divisions have also been instrumental in supporting cross-governmental efforts, such as the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) that will enable human services agencies to collaborate with health, education, justice, and many other constituencies that play a role in the well-being of children and families.
  • ACF’s National Directory of New Hires has entered into data sharing agreements with numerous For example, DOL’s CEO and ETA have interagency agreements with HHS-ACF for sharing and matching earnings data on 9 different formal net impact evaluations. The NDNH Guide for Data Submission describes an agreement with the Social Security Administration to use its network for data transmission. Also, ACF Administers the Public Assistance Reporting Information System, a platform for exchange of data on benefits receipt across ACF, Department of Defense, and Veterans Affairs programs. This platform entails data sharing agreements between these three federal agencies and between ACF and state agencies.
  • The Administration’s FY17 budget request includes $261 million over five years for human services data interoperability, including grants for Statewide Human Services Data Systems and a Systems Innovation Center.
Corporation for National and Community Service
  • As the nation’s largest grant maker for service and volunteering, CNCS collects data about service program members, volunteers, and the organizations in which members and volunteers are serving. Member/volunteer demographic, service experience, and outcome data are collected in a variety of ways – both through administrative processes and through surveys:
    • In FY16 data collected from a revised member exit survey allowed CNCS to generate more accurate reports on key experiences and anticipated college, career, and civic engagement outcomes, which were shared internally. Survey results are being shared with program and agency leadership in FY16 for program improvement. In FY16 R&E will also begin generating state-level reports for its State Commissions. The longer-term goal is to finalize response rate standards across the AmeriCorps programs so that data sets can be made available for public use in FY17.
    • A report summarizing cross-sectional survey findings on Senior Corps Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion Program volunteers will be released in FY16. The paper compares health, mobility disability, and life satisfaction between participants in both programs; and examines how their health status differs from similar adult volunteers and non-volunteers in the general population (a matched sample of volunteers and non-volunteers from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). A longitudinal survey of volunteers in these 2 Senior Corps programs was implemented in FY15, and preliminary findings are expected in FY16.
    • For the first time, results from the redesigned AmeriCorps member exit survey were merged with administrative data sets on member demographics, program characteristics, and service locations to produce a new unified data set that currently has almost 70,000 observations. Analysis began in FY16, and preliminary findings are expected by the end of FY16.
    • Findings from an alumni outcome survey pilot were published in FY16.
  • In FY16, CNCS’s R&E Office is executing a new administrative data match between a sample of AmeriCorps alumni records and postsecondary outcome data from the National Student Clearinghouse. R&E also plans to execute a second administrative data match between alumni records and the Census’ LEHD dataset to obtain employment and employment sector outcomes for AmeriCorps alumni. Although R&E currently relies on surveys, CNCS would prefer to reduce its reliance on this method so that key college and career outcomes can be obtained from more objective sources and for less cost.
  • CNCS’s Office of Research and Evaluation (R&E) makes publicly available (1) state profiles that depict national service resources (grant funds, members, volunteers, grantees) and program performance metrics across the country and (2) volunteering statistics at the local, state, and national levels collected for CNCS by the U.S. Census Bureau through an interagency agreement. (https://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/)
Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • MCC’s M&E Division oversees the upload of anonymized evaluation data to MCC’s public Evaluation Catalog. There, partner countries, as well as the general public, can access spreadsheets that show economic rates of return calculations, performance indicator tracking tables, results of independent evaluations for MCC-funded projects, and public use versions of the data used in those evaluations. All evaluation data is meticulously reviewed by MCC’s internal Disclosure Review Board prior to posting to ensure that respondents’ privacy is protected.
  • As part of its Data2x commitment, MCC and other donors are increasing the amount of gender data released and helping to improve international data transparency standards.
  • MCC is also a founding partner of the Governance Data Alliance, a collaborative effort by governance data producers, consumers, and funders to improve the quality, availability, breadth, and use of governance data.
  • MCC also has a partnership with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which is helping to increase the availability and quality of development-related data in selected countries. MCC partnered with PEPFAR to create local data hubs that would engage stakeholders around the availability, accessibility and analysis of data. The data hubs have a local board drawn from partner country governments, the private sector and civil society. The hubs will comprise both a physical space for data analysts and other staff and virtual engagement among such stakeholders as donors, foundations, researchers, and NGOs.
  • MCC also hosted a publicly available webinar, “Monitoring and Evaluation in the Water Sector,” in which a presentation was given on MCC’s rigorous evidence-based approach to monitoring and evaluation, followed by a closer look at lessons learned in the water sector and a discussion of ways in which monitoring and evaluation can contribute to aid effectiveness.
U.S. Agency for International Development
  • USAID has an open data policy which:
    • Establishes the Development Data Library (DDL) as the Agency’s repository of USAID-funded, machine readable data created or collected by the Agency and its implementing partners;
    • Requires USAID staff and implementing partners (via associated changes to procurement instruments) to submit datasets generated with USAID funding to the DDL in machine-readable, non-proprietary formats;
    • Implements a data tagging protocol in keeping with the President’s Executive Order and Office of Management and Budget policy on Open Data;
    • Defines a data clearance process to ensure that USAID makes as much data publicly available as possible, while still affording all protections for individual privacy, operational and national security, and other considerations allowable by law; and
    • Ensures data is updated quarterly, at minimum.
  • In November 2011, the United States became a signatory to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). IATI developed a standard for publishing foreign assistance spending data that allows for comparison across Publish What You Fund (PWYF), a United Kingdom- based nongovernmental organization advocating for greater aid transparency, assesses 60+ bilateral and multilateral donors’ overall commitment to aid transparency and the information they publish in an annual Aid Transparency Index (ATI). In 2014, USAID ranked 31st out of 68 donors and was at the bottom of the “Fair” category. In July 2015, USAID produced a cost management plan (CMP) in order to improve its reporting to IATI and, thereby, improve the Agency’s score in the ATI. The plan elaborates on the necessary requirements (for example, political movement/discussions, technical work, system upgrades) and estimated timeline for implementation to advance in these areas. Recognizing the level of effort involved with the improvements varies greatly, the CMP outlines a four-phased approach. USAID is already seeing results. USAID’s score in PWYF’s 2015 Aid Transparency Review jumped by more than 20 points, propelling USAID to the “Good” category.
  • USAID continues to expand the data it publishes on ForeignAssistance.gov (The Foreign Assistance Dashboard) and the International Aid Transparency Initiative. USAID recently launched the Foreign Aid Explorer which shares 40 years of data through an easy to navigate website. USAID publishes its core datasets, as well as program specific data, in application program interface (API) formats. In 2014, USAID also began publicly sharing data files and its open data plan through its new Open Government website as part of the U.S. Government’s open data initiative.
  • The USAID GeoCenter uses data and analytics to improve the effectiveness of USAID’s development programs by geographically assessing where resources will maximize impact. The GeoCenter team works directly with field missions and Washington-based bureaus to integrate geographic analysis into the strategic planning, design, monitoring, and evaluation of USAID’s development programs. To date, the GeoCenter has leveraged $32 million worth of high-resolution satellite imagery for development projects, at no cost to the Agency.
  • USAID’s Economic Analysis and Data Services (EADS) unit has a public web site to share data and also provides data analysis The unit also works to provide analysis upon request. In particular, the International Data and Economic Analysis part of EADS provides USAID staff, partners, and the public with analytical products and a platform for querying data.
  • USAID uses data to inform policy formulation, strategic planning, project design, project management and adaptation, program monitoring and evaluation, and learning what works. The Program Cycle is USAID’s particular framing and terminology to describe this set of processes and the use of data and evidence to inform decisions is a key part of the process.
  • USAID’s Monitoring Country Progress (MCP) system is an empirical analytical system which tracks and analyzes country progress along five dimensions: (1) economic reforms; (2) governing justly and democratically; (3) macro-economic performance; (4) investing in people; and (5) peace and security. It is used to facilitate country strategic planning including country graduation from USG foreign assistance programs.
  • USAID has also begun publishing funding data alongside program results on the Dollars to Results page of the USAID Dollars to Results provides information on USAID’s impact around the world by linking annual spending (inputs) to results (outputs and outcomes) in some of the more than 100 developing countries where we work. There are plans to expand Dollars to Results in the future. Due to the nature of foreign assistance programs, it is difficult to directly link Fiscal Year disbursements to Fiscal Year results. There is often a time lag between when a dollar is disbursed and when a result is achieved from that investment. For example, if USAID builds a school, most of the spending takes place in the first several years of the project as construction begins. However, results may not be achieved until years later when the school opens and classes begin. Results shown on the website give a snapshot of the type of results achieved by USAID.
  • To help inform the U.S. Government’s aid transparency agenda, USAID conducted three aid transparency country pilot studies in Zambia (May 2014)Ghana (June 2014), and Bangladesh (September 2014). The country pilots assessed the demand for and relevance of information that the U.S. Government is making available, as well as the capacity of different groups to use it. The final report summarizes findings from the three pilots and provides recommendations to help improve the transmission of foreign assistance data to ensure that the transparency efforts of the U.S. Government create development impact.
U.S. Department of Education
  • ED has several resources to support the high-quality collection, analysis, and use of high-quality data in ways that protect privacy. IES’ National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) serves as the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education. Almost all of  ED’s K-12 statistical and programmatic data collections are now administered by NCES via EDFacts. NCES also collects data through national and international surveys and assessments. Administrative institutional data and statistical sample survey data for postsecondary education is collected through NCES in collaboration with the Federal Student Aid Office (FSA). NCES data are made publicly available online and can be located in the ED Data Inventory. Some data are available through public access while others only through restricted data licenses. ED’s Office for Civil Rights conducts the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) on key education and civil rights issues in our nation’s public schools. Additionally, the Data Strategy Team helps to coordinate data activities across the Department and the Disclosure Review Board, the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO), the EDFacts Governing Board, and the Privacy Technical Assistance Center all help to ensure the quality and privacy of education data.
  • ED has made concerted efforts to improve the availability and use of its data in With the release of the new College Scorecard, the Department now provides newly combined data in a tool that helps students choose a school that is well-suited to meet their needs, priced affordably, and consistent with their educational and career goals. Additionally, the College Scorecard promotes the use of open data by providing the underlying data in formats that researchers and developers can use. This effort is a model for future releases of education data, and led to ED’s new effort, InformED, to improve Department capacity to release data in innovative and effective ways to improve public use of data. InformED was part of the FY17 budget request (see p. 78).
  • ED has several data sharing agreements with other For example, ED and the U.S. Department of Treasury match Federal Student Aid data with administrative Internal Review Service tax records to calculate earnings information by postsecondary institution for the College Scorecard consumer tool. This agreement allows ED to annually update and publish data on mean earnings, median earnings, and fraction not working among all students who received Title IV aid (i.e., federal grants and loans). ED and the U.S. Department of Labor are engaged in a joint federal/state workgroup that is developing help for data sharing at the state level through the new State Wage Interchange System (SWIS) for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). For calculating the Gainful Employment (GE) debt-to-earnings metric, the Department of Education obtains from the Social Security Administration (SSA) annual earnings of students who completed a GE program. ED submits the Social Security numbers of students who received Title IV aid (i.e., federal grants and loans) to SSA in order to calculate the highest of mean and median earnings for each program.
  • Additionally, ED administers the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) program ($34.5 million in FY16), which provides grants to states to develop their education-related data infrastructure and use these data for education improvement.
U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development
  • The HUD USER web portal continues to provide researchers, practitioners, and the public with PD&R datasets including the American Housing Survey, HUD median family income limits, and Picture of Subsidized Households tabulations at multiple geographic levels, as well as microdata from research initiatives on topics such as housing discrimination, the HUD-insured multifamily housing stock, and the public housing population. To help users identify which data are useful to them, reference guides identify datasets and characterize their relevance and usefulness for research in designated categories.
  • HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) has authority to enter into cooperative agreements with research organizations, including both funded Research Partnerships and unfunded Data License Agreements, to support innovative research projects that leverage HUD’s data assets and inform HUD’s policies and programs. A dedicated subject-matter expert is available to answer questions for those seeking a data license.
  • HUD’s PD&R and the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control have successfully linked HUD administrative data for assisted renters with respondents to two national health surveys and made the linked data available to researchers to begin building a picture of tenant health issues.
  • HUD is involved in a wide array of data-sharing agreements, including geocoding services provided by HUD’s Geocoding Service Center; a recent agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to pilot an administrative data linkage with Medicare and Medicaid utilization records; national compilation of local point-in-time counts of homeless individuals and administrative data from homeless service providers using Homeless Management Information Systems; collection of tenant data for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties from state housing finance agencies; an ongoing agreement with Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy to develop integrated data systems for policy analysis and program reform, including local education data; and a multiagency federal agreement under development about protocols for information security in data- sharing.
U.S. Department of Labor
  • DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (approximately $600 million in FY16) serves as the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the BLS has 111 Cooperative Agreements with 50 States and 4 Territories for labor market and economic data sharing, 505 “letters of agreement” on data usage with academics to conduct statistical research, and data sharing  agreements with the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau.
  • DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has agreements with 52 States and Territories for data sharing and exchange of wage data for performance accountability purposes.
  • DOL’s CEO, Employment Training Administration (ETA), and the Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) have worked with the S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a secure mechanism for obtaining and analyzing earnings data from the Directory of New Hires. In this past year DOL has entered into interagency data sharing agreements with HHS and obtained data to support 9 job training and employment program evaluations (Reemployment Assistance Demonstration Evaluation with unemployment insurance claimants, Young Parents Demonstration Evaluation, Enhanced Transitional Jobs Program Evaluation, Youthbuild Evaluation, Workforce Investment Act Evaluation, Green Jobs/Health Care Demonstration Evaluation, Re-entry for Ex-Offenders Evaluation, Transition Assistance Program for separating activity duty military persons, and the Job Training Scorecard Feasibility Study).
  • DOL’s worker protection agencies have open-data provisions on enforcement activity for firms from DOL’s five labor enforcement agencies online and accessible through the Enforcement Data Base (Mine Safety and Health Administration, Wage and Hour Division, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration).
  • The privacy provisions for BLS and DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) are publicly available online.
  • In FY16, DOL expanded efforts to improve the quality of and access to data for evaluation and performance analysis through the Data Analytics Unit in DOL’s CEO office, and through new pilots beginning in BLS to access and exchange state labor market and earnings data for statistical and evaluation purposes. The Data Analytics unit has also developed the Data Exchange and Analysis Platform (DEAP) with high processing capacity and privacy provisions to share, link, and analyze program and survey data across DOL programs and agencies and with other agencies. Internal use of DEAP is available now and public access will be available in the future.
  • The Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) calls for aligned indicators of performance for WIOA authorized programs. DOL’s Employment and Training Administration has worked within DOL and with the S. Department of Education to pursue the deepest WIOA alignment possible, including indicators definitions, data elements, and specifications to improve the quality and analytic value of the data. DOL chose to include several additional DOL programs in this process, which will result in unprecedented alignment of data and definitions for 13 federal programs (11 DOL and 2 Education). DOL and ED have issued the proposed rule for public comment and will finalize it in late spring 2016, and has also issued the related Information Collection Requests for public comment, and expect to finalize those Information Collection requires prior to that date.
  • ETA continues funding and technical assistance to states under the Workforce Data Quality Initiative to link earnings and workforce data and education data longitudinally. ETA and DOL’s Veteran’s Employment and Training Service have also modified state workforce program reporting system requirements to include data items for a larger set of grant programs, which will improve access to administrative data for evaluation and performance management purposes. An example of the expanded data reporting requirements is the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program FY16 grants.
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