Data-Based Decision Making


🎥 What does it mean? Our sources of data might include assessments, attendance, discipline, demographic records, surveys, interviews, observations, and fidelity data.

The amount of data that we could potentially collect and review is overwhelming — the key to effective data-based decision making is deliberately carving out routines and decision rules that allow staff to get into an effective rhythm.



calendarDeliberately carving out lean, mean-ingful "DATA ROUTINES" — where the who, what, and when are clear — is key to effective data-based decision making. This is our objective at every level: district leadership, building leadership, grade-level teams, etc. Jump to our Infrastructure page ➡️ to browse team-specific routines!



The word "data" may trigger anxiety and stress. What are the difference makers that lower defenses and promote productive and effective use of data?


Digest the Data

protocolWhen teams gather to discuss a set of data, a "DATA PROTOCOL" provides structure and clarity for all participants. For example, the group might sequentially discuss: Observations, Reflections, Interpretations, and finally Decisions.

Check out example protocols, which blend into meeting agendas.


Recognize Opportunities for Improvement

At what point do we know that we have a universal problem? At what point do we know a student needs a supplemental intervention? At what point do we need to change an intervention program or plan? Making these "DECISION RULES" in advance is key to a healthy system.

decision ruleThere are many examples of decision rules at the Tier 1 level. We want to see 80% or more of our students to fall in the Low Risk range on our mySAEBRS SEL screener; that's indicative of a healthy school climate. Another indicator is 80% or more students in the range of 0-1 behavior referrals in a school year.

visual analysis handout

The Visual Analysis Handout covers decision rules for Tier 2, Tier 3, and SpEd interventions. It condenses guidance from the National Center on Intensive Intervention, the IRIS Center, and other notable experts.

It helps educators to objectively analyze the progress monitoring data that's gathered when a student receives a supplemental intervention. The Handout also helps answer the "Now what?" question by offering a menu of possible next steps.


problem solving cycleMonitor the Improvement

It's helpful to approach continuous improvement and problem solving methodically — monitoring results, learning lessons, and applying that learning. This can be framed up a number of ways, including the "PDSA Cycle" or the "Problem Solving Process" (see below):

  1. Problem Identification: What is the discrepancy between what is expected and what is occurring?
  2. Problem Analysis: Why is the problem occurring?
  3. Plan Development: What is the goal, what is the plan to meet the goal, and how will progress be measured?
  4. Plan Implementation: How will fidelity be ensured?
  5. Plan Evaluation: Was the plan effective? What's next?

Learn more about how this helps schools to allocate resources efficiently.



Related Topics


Many SCREDsters are deeply involved in supporting our member districts with data-based decision making, including all of our Services Coordinators.

Click MoreIf you have questions or need support re: the Data Facilitator Project, please reach out to one of the Academic or SEL Services Coordinators below.

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