Data-Based Decision Making (DBDM) is…

  • A process for making decisions based on data, as opposed to decisions based on intuition or only a few observations.
  • An ongoing, outcomes driven approach.
  • A way of collecting, organizing, and analyzing data for the purposes of problem-solving and making instructional decisions.
  • A continuous approach to school improvement.

Data-Based Decision Making (DBDM) can involve1Marsh, J. A., Pane, J. F., & Hamilton, L. S. (2006). Making sense of data-driven decision ...continue

  • Student information (input) data.
  • Instructional (process) data.
  • Student learning and social/behavioral (outcome) data.
  • Family, parent, or student report (perceptual) data.

When data is collected, analyzed, prioritized, and synthesized, it becomes “actionable knowledge” for making decisions.

Course Outcomes

In this module, you will learn about Data-Based Decision Making (DBDM) as a systematic approach for driving instructional decisions.   You will discover

  • The importance of using a process for Data-Based Decision Making and the components of an effective process.
  • The design and implementation of a Data-Based Decision Making Plan that will significantly improve student outcomes.
  • How to overcome roadblocks to Data-Based Decision Making.


  1. Gather a set of student data to use throughout this module.
  2. Read the article “Teachers Harness the Power of Assessment” by Herman, Wardrip, Hall and Chimino (2012) found at
  3. Reflective Questions
    • What does your current DBDM process look like?  Reflect on the specific tools and process you use to plan and modify instruction when students do not “get it.”
    • Why is collecting data about student thinking and understanding so important?
    • What organizational supports help facilitate the effective use of data?
    • What ideas do you already have about how to improve student outcomes through DBDM?

References   [ + ]