Data-Based Decision-Making

Meeting the needs of every student requires understanding their learning journey, the root causes of challenges and how to provide appropriate support that addresses those root causes. Data-based decision-making involves collaboration and communication from community members and caregivers, as well as district, school, collaborative and student support teams, using a variety of data points to identify student needs and support planning.

OverviewWhy it’s EssentialSelf-AssessmentRelated Resources


Supporting effective data-based decision-making in NeMTSS requires attention to three components:

  1. Balanced assessment system to generate data
  2. Data-based decision-making to reinforce student support
  3. Data-based decision-making to support continuous improvement of the system

Balanced Assessment System: A balanced assessment system seeks to ensure valid and relevant data for decision-making. This system supports several categories of student and adult data to inform data-based decision-making: (1) student learning and well-being data, (2) demographic data, (3) perceptual data (student and adult), (4) process data – fidelity, needs assessment and gap analysis.

Data-Based Decision-Making: Teams engage in a problem-solving model to drive continuous improvement and make data-based decisions about student support. Students are not the subject of problem-solving — the supports that are provided to students are the focus of problem-solving.

Using the Problem-Solving Model: District and school teams engage in the problem-solving model to drive continuous improvement of the supports for the system. Collaborative Teams and Student Support Teams engage in the problem-solving model to identify, analyze, plan, implement and reflect on student supports.

MTSS Process
Problem-solving model

Why it’s Essential

Data must guide decision-making at all support at the community, district, school, collaborative, and student levels to assist in improving the support provided to each student. In doing so, teams examine data using a consistent decision-making and problem-solving process to develop tailored solutions that will improve outcomes for all students.


The following Data-Based Decision-Making items are included on the NeMTSS Self-Assessment:

  1. Integrated data-based problem-solving for student academic, behavior and social-emotional outcomes occurs across content areas, grade levels and continuum of supports.
  2. NeMTSS leadership teams use student data and implementation data to evaluate instruction effectiveness.
  3. Pre-established decision-making guidelines are used to identify students who receive intervention support.
  4. Pre-established decision-making guidelines are used to evaluate effectiveness of interventions for individual students.