If you don't know where you started, you won't know how far you've come.
If you don't know where you're going, you won't know when you've gotten there.
Making sound, strategic decisions based on data is a cornerstone of the PBIS process. The effective collection and use of data to make decisions, establish priorities and gauge progress is a critical component of PBIS and a central principle in everything we do at NH CEBIS.
Outcomes and Goal-Setting
An effective decision-making process begins with outcomes -- where do you want to be? Too many times decision-making processes are based on simply solving problems rather than moving a school forward toward its goals. Once the goal is established, then data can be used to determine where the school is now in relation to the goal.
Process Assessments and Action Planning
Once the goal has been established, a process assessment (a self-assessment checklist) can be used to gauge current status, establish priorities and measure progress. The effective use of process assessments always includes an action planning component so the team members are very clear on who will do what, by when. NH CEBIS uses a decision log to record and track such information. In some cases effective action planning may require an examination of school structures and communication practices to ensure information flow, faculty engagement and improved accountability and transparency. Process assessments should be updated regularly, at least twice per year.
In addition, objective external evaluations on the fidelity of implementation should be conducted annually. For example, an outside evaluator can complete the schoolwide evaluation tool (the SET) to gauge the effectiveness of schoolwide PBIS, and a similar evaluator can provide fidelity ratings on functional behavioral assessments and behavior support plans developed by the Targeted Team.
Outcome Data and Evaluation
Outcome data can be qualitative or qualitative; the best systems use a combination of both and should help answer the questions -- was it successful, did it work, have we achieved the goal? Data should be collected, analyzed and shared with multiple constituents on a regular basis. Discipline referral data reports from the School-wide Information System (SWIS) or another tracking and reporting system can help provide such data, along with reports from teachers, parents and, in some cases, the student.
Social Validity Data
Along with outcome data, many schools collect and use social validity data as well. This is information, collected primarily through surveys and focus groups, on the extent to which something is liked, well received, easy to use etc.