KyMTSS Data-Based Decision Making Graphic

Data-Based Decision Making with a Comprehensive Screening and Assessment System


In Kentucky’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (KyMTSS), teams use a systematic process to analyze data across multiple domains to achieve improved and sustainable student outcomes. Data-based decision making occurs at all levels and tiers to match instruction, intervention and supports to the needs of all learners and to evaluate the effectiveness of the multi-tiered system.

Data-based decision making relies on a coordinated system of high-quality, valid and reliable assessments and measures to inform instructional and programmatic decisions at the district, school, classroom and student levels.

Why It’s Essential…

consistent, systematic decisionmaking process that uses valid and reliable data is essential to ensure that systems, instructional practices, interventions and implementation efforts are effective in accelerating all students’ academic proficiency, behavior and social emotional well-being.  

Key Features

  • Data literacy skills are developed amongst team members. District and school leaders ensure that team members have the knowledge and skills to select, interpret and use multiple sources of data in a systematic problem-solving process.
  • Data systems are in place to ensure that valid and reliable assessments are selected and used with fidelity and that data is collected, analyzed and used to monitor implementation and student outcomes over time.
  • Multiple data sources are utilized at both the system and student level. Data sources could include:

    • Needs assessment;
    • Academic and behavior screenings;
    • Formative assessment data;
    • Progress monitoring data;
    • Demographic data;
    • Early warning indicators;
    • Student/family/staff survey data; and/or
    • Relevant community data.
  • Annual assessment calendars include fidelity measures, universal screeners, diagnostic assessments and progress monitoring tools for academic skills, social-emotional and behavioral development.

  • A consistent and valid problem-solving process is used when reviewing and analyzing data at all tiers and across all levels (district, school, classroom and student).

  • Written decision rules are developed to identify:

    • Students in need of an intervention or extensions;
    • How frequently to progress monitor;
    • When to review progress monitoring data;
    • Whether to continue, intensify or exit a student from an intervention; or
    • When to refer a student for a special education evaluation (in accordance with state law).

Four Step Problem-Solving Process

  • What exactly is the problem or discrepancy between what is expected and what is actually occurring in terms of fidelity of implementation and/or student outcomes?
  • Analyze the problem using data.
  • Why is the problem occurring?
  • Why is the desired outcome not being achieved?
  • Select intervention(s) or strategies that will address the problem.
  • Determine how the implementation and outcomes will be monitored.
  • Develop and implement the plan as designed.
  • Measure the response to the plan by using data gathered from progress monitoring.
  • Does the problem still exist?
  • If so, the problem-solving steps will begin again.
  • Continually refine the plan as needed.

Comprehensive Screening and Assessment System

  • Typically includes formative, benchmark or interim and summative assessments.

Balanced Assessment Professional Learning Modules on
Kentucky Model Curriculum Framework Section III: – Balanced Assessment System

  • Designed to be quick, efficient, reliable and predictive.
  • Typically administered to all students three times during the school year (fall, winter and spring).
  • Provides information on how all students are progressing on academic and/or social emotional behavioral indicators. Identifies those who are on target to reach end of year benchmarks, those at risk who would benefit from additional supports or intervention and those exceeding benchmarks who would require enrichment opportunities.
  • Focus on individual students.
  • Designed to provide more in-depth information on student strengths and weaknesses relative to foundational skills and/or standards.
  • Used when educators need more detailed information to guide next steps for instruction, intervention and supports.
  • A standardized way to evaluate progress toward a performance goal.
  • Administered to individual students to assess progress and rate of improvement in response to instruction or intervention.
  • Progress monitoring assessments are sensitive to change and aligned to the skill or need that is identified and targeted by the intervention.
  • The data assists school teams in determining the effectiveness of the intervention.
  • Assessments used by leadership teams to evaluate the fidelity and effectiveness of systems and practices that are in place to support an effective MTSS.
  • Three basic types of fidelity assessment include:
    • Fidelity of implementing the critical components of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS);
    • Fidelity of using the problem-solving process across all three tiers; and
    • Fidelity of implementing evidence-based instruction and interventions matched to specific need(s).

Resources and Tools

Visit the Resources for Data-Based Decision Making with a Comprehensive Screening and Assessment System webpage for key resources to help in the implementation of this component!


Center on Multi-Tiered System of Supports.  Essential components of MTSS (n/d).  Retrieved from Essential Components of MTSS | Center on Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (

Florida-RTI (2015). Guiding tools for instructional problem-solving. Retrieved from

McIntosh, K. & Goodman, G. (2016).   Integrated multi-tiered systems of support:  Blending RTI and PBIS. New York, NY:  The Guilford Press.