What is Data-Based Decision Making?
Decisions in an RTI practice are based on professional judgment informed directly by student performance data. Data-based decision making is infused in all components of an RTI practice. At the screening level, data would be used to make decisions about which students are at risk of their needs not being met. In the progress monitoring stage, data is used to make decisions about effectiveness of interventions. Decisions to increase or decrease levels of intervention within a Tiered Service Delivery Model are based on student performance data. Data is also used to make decisions regarding the fidelity of implementation.
Why is Data-Based Decision Making Important?
Data-based decisions regarding student response to intervention is central to RTI practices. Important educational decisions about intensity and likely duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction across multiple tiers of interventions and are informed by data on learning rate and level. Knowing why and what purpose data is being collected is imperative. When the purpose and intent of data collection is known, the data can be used to make various decisions at different times throughout the RTI process. Data will inform whether the interventions implemented are linked to positive outcomes for students thus decreasing ineffective interventions while promoting those interventions that do produce better outcomes.
What Would Schools Consider?
Three types of data are gathered within a RTI process:
- Data as a result of universal screening is used to identify those students who are not making academic or behavioral progress at expected rates
- Data as a result of diagnostic assessment is used to determine what students can and cannot do in important academic and behavioral domains
- Data as a result of progress monitoring is used to determine if academic or behavioral interventions are producing desired effects.
Data leads to appropriate support and strategic instruction for all students. In a tiered process, the first level of data collection is screening. Decisions then are made to determine which students are at risk of their needs not being met. Determinations are made regarding the existence and significance of any problem. Looking at this information a team may decide: if the delivery of the core curriculum should be altered, if more information is needed, or if supplemental instruction needs to be added. Data that is collected throughout RTI practices will also inform the school whether or not the problem exists as a result of the classroom environment, intervention, curriculum, instruction, or learner.