Data-based decision making is the use of screening, progress monitoring, and other forms of data to make decisions about instruction, movement within the multi-level prevention system, intensification of instruction and supports, allocation of resources, and identification of students with disabilities (in accordance with state law). Data-based decision making occurs at all levels of MTSS implementation, from individual students to the district level. Teams use implementation data to evaluate the extent to which their assessments, interventions, and supports have been implemented as intended and identify areas of improvement.

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Step 1. Establish MTSS Teams

Schools and districts may have multiple teams that review data across their MTSS framework. Some teams meet less frequently with the purpose of monitoring and evaluating the efficacy and efficiency of school or districtwide implementation. Other teams may meet more frequently to review individual or group progress in an intervention. When establishing MTSS teams, clarify the purpose of each team, identify and prepare team members, and outline each team’s responsibilities and procedures.

Step 2. Establish Teaming Process

Data meetings should be data-driven and implemented using efficient and consistent processes. Written teaming procedures help teams conduct more efficient and effective meetings. Clear agendas, roles, and procedures can help teams remain focused on relevant data analysis and decision making.

Step 3. Train Staff

Staff require ongoing professional learning to effectively analyze MTSS screening, progress monitoring, and implementation data and use that data to make decisions about instruction and implementation.

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Assessment Practices Within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports

Step 4. Monitoring Teaming Fidelity

Conducting consistent meetings and decision-making procedures ensures students have equitable access to interventions and supports. Regular monitoring of the fidelity of team meeting procedures helps improve productivity and appropriateness of decisions.

Step 5. Analyze Data Using Established Data Rules

Data-based decision making depends on written decision rules and a valid problem-solving process that assists teams in determining needs and problem hypothesis, identifying solutions or interventions, setting measurable goals, and monitoring the impact of implementation. MTSS teams will use multiple data sources, including screening and progress monitoring data, to make decisions about instruction, movement within the multi-level prevention system, intensification, and disability identification (in accordance with state law).

Step 6. Evaluate and Improve System

MTSS data help teams evaluate and improve school and districtwide MTSS implementation. An evaluation plan that clearly articulates short- and long-term goals should be developed in the early stages of MTSS implementation. The plan helps teams monitor the impact, identify potential barriers, and continuously refine implementation to meet the ongoing needs of students and staff.