How can data systems help teams track behavior data?

Question: How can data systems help teams track behavior data?

Answer: That’s a good question. And it’s something that the fields of both special education and regular education have been asking for years. Essentially, this is a really important point in time and it’s something we want to deal with data systems differently than we have. So here’s what I would say. Thing number one, we need to shift from data systems to decision systems. And the old way of doing business focused a tremendous amount on compliance, and on very simple pieces of information. We’re really shifting now to using information, using decision systems to determine how a team is going to work together. So the information technology that we’ve got, the computer applications are much more real-time, they’re much faster, they’re much cheaper, and they are allowing us to do essentially five different things. So here’s what I would suggest if you were a school and you’re actually focused on implementing Tier III supports for kids with significant needs, you would need a data system that does at least these things. Thing number one – it should help you to organize and communicate with your team. So the data system should allow you to say: who’s on the team, what access to data do they have, give them access in real-time – 24 hours a day, and allow you to communicate almost through social media like levels to keep the team informed about what’s happening, where they’re going, and how they’re organized. A second thing that a good information system would do – is it actually links assessment to the program plan. So it’s not just collecting the outcome data, it’s also collecting assessment data, mental health data, academic data, and obviously the behavioral data. So that you’ve got the functional behavioral assessment, you may have the person centered planning, but you’ve got the information that leads directly into what is our behavior support plan. Now the thing that often times missed in Tier III supports is we seldom build one plan. We build a plan, implement it, adapt it, revise it, revise it. So the information system needs to be a way to capture the revisions. So that overtime you’re able to say what did we try and what worked. The third big thing that we want, and this is something that we’re only just now really building in – from now on, every information system that you use with Tier III supports should include a feature for monitoring fidelity with which the behavior support plan or the school support plan is being implemented. We should, for example, once a week, on a 1 to 5 scale ask the staff to what extent did we implement the plan as intended and actually include that as part of the data system. This doesn’t have to be external observers coming in and doing something expense and research level, clinical level data that’s actually used for decision making is going to be the norm. So [the] team is organized, assessment information is used to really guide the plan, the information system allows us on a regular rhythmic basis to assess fidelity or at least perceived fidelity, and then the big issue is every single plan should be tied to what is the change that we expect in the child’s behavior? What is she going to learn? What is she going to do differently? Both things that she does that are positive and reduction in things that are, behaviors that are barriers to social or academic success.  Now those are the things that we know how to do well, the trick is we need to not measure everything as if it is a research tool, we need to measure things again with the level of efficiency and with the level of comprehensiveness that actually affects decision making. That means moving beyond from 20-minute samples to whole day samples. That means moving beyond simple rates to the frequency of low likelihood behaviors – meaning measuring low likelihood behaviors can be an incredibly important thing. So the information systems need to tie better, we need to map academic, behavior, mental health, social, so that we’re combining a picture that’s going to much more likely guide the decisions of a team. The fifth piece of what information systems should do really comes back to organizing the systems that support Tier III interventions. And those systems would be – think about if you were the behavior consultant or the behavior specialist for a district, or if you were, say the administrator for a school that had six kids receiving Tier III supports, what is the information system going to tell you to be more effective in those roles? One, you should know, have we done the assessment? Two, do we have a plan that is in place? Three, when was the last date that fidelity data were reported? Fourth, when was the last date that impact data were reported? And five, I want an assessment every time the team meets that says is this kid’s plan on target, or is this kid’s plan in need of revision. I want some sense of ‘is this working?’ And if as an administrator, if I can get that in no more than 35 seconds, that would be a way of which it would help me to know how I need to organize district and school resources to be able to make things work. So short summary – part of what we’ve learned, we’re moving beyond collecting data to document an IEP goal. We’re now talking about decision systems. Decision systems are going to be more comprehensive, they’re going to be more clinically focused, they’re going to be much more emphasizing the use of information for decision making.  Schools that are really doing Tier III supports should be able to get a computer application right now for reasonably small amounts of money that would allow them to organize a team, to link assessment to the behavior support plan, to collect fidelity data, to collect the impact data on student achievement, student problem behavior, student mental health outcomes, and they should be able to summarize the data in a dashboard that for a small number of kids ten kids, 15 kids, who are in a school that are getting Tier III supports, I can tell in general in 30 seconds whether the system is working or not. That’s what we need for an information system that will truly support kids receiving Tier III supports.

Developed By: 
National Center on Intensive Intervention