Action Overview: Develop Shared Understanding of a Decision-Support Data System

The overarching function of data in a standards-based education system is to answer specific questions about implementation of evidence-based instructional practices and changes in student learning in order to make improvements. The data system referred to in this portal is called a Decision Support Data System (DSDS) to clarify that the decisions that need to be made indicate the data that need to be collected.

Why is it important to develop a shared understanding of a data system in standards-based education?

While data have been a part of education for many years, shared understanding of what, why, and how to use data for decision-making varies widely from person to person and organization to organization. “It can be challenging to change the culture of a school or district from one that bases decisions on tradition or instinct to one that makes decisions based on data. However, to substantially improve student outcomes it is critical that schools and districts develop a culture in which data are used at all levels to make decisions related to policies, programs, placement, and practice” (Geier, R., Smith, S., and Tornow, M., 2012.)

This action will help organizations build common vocabulary and understandings of data in standards-based education in order to build capacity and facilitate continuous improvement of instruction and student learning.

This action will help organizations build a shared understanding of data in a few key ways:

· What is important in building a decision support data system?

· What sources of data are needed in standards-based education and what are they used for?

· What is fidelity data and why do we need it?

Suggested Activities

How do Portal resources support the development of a shared understanding of data in standards-based education?

· Activity Directions: Shared Understanding of a Decision-support Data System

· Activity Directions: Sources of Data

· Activity Directions: Fidelity

Related Content

For resources to create an action plan for engaging community and building hospitable environments, visit the Active Implementation Hub (AI Hub).


The Active Implementation Hub, Handout 28: Decision Support Data System, retrieved 8/9/19 from

Geier, R., Smith, S., (2012). District and School Data Team Toolkit. Everett, WA: Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington School Information Processing Cooperative, and Public Consulting Group.

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