In the Term 1 2011 issue of Education Today we discussed the first five steps required to make full use of the data that you might have gathered in your school:
1 Agreed criteria for naming and categorising problem behaviours
2 Data collection processes
3 Data collation
4 Using data to identify problems
5 Precision statements about identified problems.
In this second part, we suggest how to make the best use of the data you have collected.
6 Using data for decision-making
Beyond identifying problem areas (Step 4) data can be used to aid the decision making process. In the US, PBL exponents talk about the Big 5 in Behaviour Data:
7 Effective meeting procedures and follow-up practices
TIPS stands for Team Initiated Problem Solving and provides a set of standard meeting practices to increase effectiveness of meetings and reduce time and workload pressures on staff. You can find out more about TIPS at www.pbis.org/common/pbisresources.
• Have a regular and set meeting time and location
• Identify and allocate roles for participants – facilitator, data analyst, recorder
• Record decisions
• Follow-up processes in place to implement decisions
• Precision statements about behavior (see Step 5)
• Evidence-based discussions – avoid generalisations and assumptions
• Evaluate the meeting and continually improve processes
8 Reporting data to parents
Discussing behaviour issues with parents can be difficult so you’ll want to have evidence-based discussions. Ideally, you’ll be able to use your data collection system in the discussion to show parents the various issues of concern and details such as dates, what happened and what action was taken.
Implementing a data collection process and developing shared understandings amongst staff will take time. We have found the following strategies to be effective:
• Have a third party introduce the new processes to staff and be ready for the common questions and comments such as “This looks like a lot of extra work.” “How secure is the data?” and “How accurate will our data be?” This third party could be a PBL consultant/advisor or a representative from your data system company.
• Use mini-inservices in a staff meeting to focus on one aspect of the system
• Stress the importance of entering complete and accurate data. This has a significant effect on the decision making processes based on your data.
• Make time available for staff to enter data – RFF times, part of a staff meeting, other special times.
10 Maintaining the momentum – using the data
If data isn’t perceived as being used – staff won’t commit to collecting it.