Using a Problem-Solving Model to Enhance Data-Based Decision Making in Schools

  • Stephen J. Newton
  • Robert H. Horner
  • Robert F. Algozzine
  • Anne W. Todd
  • Kate M. Algozzine
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)


Making decisions is a core activity in schools. Every school has faculty teams that meet regularly to make decisions concerning logistical, administrative, academic, and social issues. The thesis of this chapter is that team decisions will be more effective and efficient when they occur in the context of a formal problem-solving model with access to the right data, in the right format, at the right time.

We focus in this chapter on problem solving and data-based decision making related to behavior support in schools because that is where our experience has greatest depth. The principles and practices regarding problem solving and data-based decision making about behavior support, however, also extend to academic achievement and other areas of support. Themes emphasized throughout this chapter are that data-based decision making (a) occurs in the context of team meetings with a “structure” that sets the occasion for effectiveness; (b) is embedded in a formal problem-solving model with processes that ensure a meeting is logical, thorough, and efficient; and (c) is continuously informed by accurate and timely data.


Team Member Team Meeting Behavior Support Core Outcome Positive Behavior Support 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albin, R. W., Lucyshyn, J. M., Horner, R. H., & Flannery, K. B. (1996). Contextual fit for behavior support plans: A model for & #x201C;goodness-of-fit. & #x201D; In L. K. Koegel, R. L. Koegel, & G. Dunlap (Eds.), Positive behavioral support: Including people with difficult behavior in the community(pp. 81–98). Baltimore: BrookesGoogle Scholar
  2. Alonzo, J., Ketterlin-Geller, L. R., & Tindal, G. (2007). Curriculum-based measurement in reading and math: providing rigorous outcomes to support learning. In L. Florian (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of special education(pp. 307–318). Thousand Oaks, CA: SageGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey, D. B., Simeonsson, R. J., Winton, P. J., Huntington, G. S., Comfort, M., Isbell, P., et al. (1990). Family-focused intervention: A functional model for planning, imple¬menting, and evaluating individualized family services in early intervention. Journal of the Division of Early Childhood, 10, 156–171Google Scholar
  4. Benazzi, L., Horner, R. H., & Good, R. H. (2006). Effects of behavior support team com¬position on the technical adequacy and contextual fit of behavior support plans. The Journal of Special Education, 40, 160–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bransford, J. D., & Stein, B. S. (1984). The IDEAL problem solver: A guide for improving thinking, learning, and creativity. New York: FreemanGoogle Scholar
  6. Carr, E. G., Horner, R. H., Turnbull, A. P., Marquis, J. G., McLaughlin, D. M., McAtee, M. L., et al. (1999). Positive behavior support for people with developmental dis¬abilities: A research synthesis. Washington, DC: American Association on Mental RetardationGoogle Scholar
  7. Crone, D. A., & Horner, R. H. (2003). Building positive behavior support systems in schools: Functional behavioral assessment. New York: GuilfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Crone, D. A., Horner, R. H., & Hawken, L. S. (2004). Responding to problem behavior in schools: The behavior education program. New York: GuilfordGoogle Scholar
  9. Davies, D. E., & McLaughlin, T. F. (1989). Effects of a daily report card on disruptive behaviour in primary students. Journal of Special Education, 13, 173–181Google Scholar
  10. Deno, S. L. (1985). Curriculum-based measurement: The emerging alternative. Exceptional Children, 52, 219–232PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Deno, S. L. (1989). Curriculum-based measurement and alternative special education services: A fundamental and direct relationship. In M. R. Shinn (Ed.), Advanced applications of curriculum-based measurement(pp. 1–17). New York: GuilfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Deno, S. L. (2005). Problem-solving assessment. In R. Brown-Chidsey (Ed.), Assessment for intervention: A problem-solving approach(pp. 10–40). New York: GuilfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Drucker, P. F. (1967). The effective executive. New York: Harper & RowGoogle Scholar
  14. Evertson, C. M., & Emmer, E. T. (1982). Preventive classroom management. In D. L. Duke (Ed.), Helping teachers manage classrooms(pp. 2–31). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum DevelopmentGoogle Scholar
  15. Gilbert, T. F. (1978). Human competence: Engineering worthy performance. New York: McGraw-HillGoogle Scholar
  16. Gilbert, T. F., & Gilbert, M. B. (1992). Potential contributions of performance science to education. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25, 43–49PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hawken, L. S., & Horner, R. H. (2003). Evaluation of a targeted group intervention within a schoolwide system of behavior support. Journal of Behavioral Education, 12, 225–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hyatt, K. J., & Howell, K. W. (2004). Curriculum-based measurement of students with emotional and behavioral disorders: Assessment for data-based decision making. In R. B. Rutherford & M. M. Quinn (Eds.), Handbook of research in emotional and behavioral disorders(pp. 181–198). New York: GuilfordGoogle Scholar
  19. Irvin, L. K., Horner, R. H., Ingram, K., Todd, A. W., Sugai, G., Sampson, N. K., et al. (2006). Using office discipline referral data for decision making about student behavior in elementary and middle schools: An empirical evaluation of validity. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 8, 10–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Irvin, L. K., Tobin, T. J., Sprague, J. R., Sugai, G., & Vincent, C. G. (2004). Validity of office discipline referral measures as indices of school-wide behavioral status and effects of school-wide behavioral interventions. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 6, 131–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jorgensen, J. D., Scheier, I. H., & Fautsko, T. F. (1981). Solving problems in meetings. Chicago: Nelson-HallGoogle Scholar
  22. Larson, J. (1994). Violence prevention in schools: A review of selected programs and procedures. School Psychology Review, 23, 151–164Google Scholar
  23. Lewis, T. J., Colvin, G., & Sugai, G. (2000). The effects of pre-correction and active supervision on the recess behavior of elementary students. Education and T reatment of Children, 23, 109–121Google Scholar
  24. Lewis, T. J., & Sugai, G. (1999). Effective behavior support: A systems approach to proactive school-wide management. Focus on Exceptional Children, 31(6), 1–24Google Scholar
  25. Martella R. C., Nelson, J. R., & Marchand-Martella, N. E. (2003). Managing disruptive behaviors in the schools: A schoolwide, classroom, and individualized social learning approach. Boston: Allyn and BaconGoogle Scholar
  26. May, S., Ard, W., Jr., Todd, A. W., Horner, R. H., Glasgow, A., & Sugai, G. (2003). School- wide information system. Eugene: University of Oregon, Educational and Community SupportsGoogle Scholar
  27. Mayer, G. R., & Butterworth, T. W. (1979). A preventive approach to school violence and vandalism: An experimental study. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 57436–441Google Scholar
  28. Mayer, R. G. (1995). Preventing antisocial behavior in the schools. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 28, 467–478PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (1999). Risk and opportunities: Synthesis of studies on adolescence. Washington, DC: National Academy PressGoogle Scholar
  30. Nelson, J. R., & Carr, B. A. (2000). The Think Time strategy for schools. Denver, CO: Sopris WestGoogle Scholar
  31. Nelson, J. R., Martella, R., & Galand, B. (1998). The effects of teaching school expectations and establishing a consistent consequence on formal office disciplinary actions. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 6, 153–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. O'Neill, R. E., Horner, R. H., Albin, R. W., Sprague, J. R., Storey, K., & Newton, J. S. (1997). Functional assessment of problem behavior: A practical handbook(2nd ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brookes/ColeGoogle Scholar
  33. Poynton, T. A., & Carey, J. C. (2006). An integrative model of data-based decision making for school counseling. Professional School Counseling, 10, 121–130Google Scholar
  34. Repp, A. C., & Horner, R. H. (Eds.). (1999). Functional analysis of problem behavior: From effective assessment to effective support. Belmont, CA: WadsworthGoogle Scholar
  35. Scott, T. M., & Martinek, G. (2006). Coaching positive behavior support in school settings: Tactics and data-based decision making. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 8, 165–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Shinn, M. R. (1989). Curriculum-based measurement: Assessing special children. New York: GuilfordGoogle Scholar
  37. Shonkoff, J. P., & Phillips, D. A. (Eds.). (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. Washington, DC: National Academy PressGoogle Scholar
  38. Sprick, R., Sprick, M., & Garrison, M. (1992). Foundations: Developing positive school-wide discipline policies. Longmont, CO: Sopris WestGoogle Scholar
  39. Sugai, G., & Horner, R. H. (2006). A promising approach for expanding and sustaining school-wide positive behavior support. School Psychology Review 35, 245–259Google Scholar
  40. Tropman, J. E. (1996). Making meetings work: Achieving high quality group decisions. Thousand Oaks, CA: SageGoogle Scholar
  41. Walker, H. M., Horner, R. H., Sugai, G., Bullis, M, Sprague, J., Bricker, D., et al. (1996). Integrated approaches to preventing antisocial behavior patterns among school-age children and youth. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 4, 194–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Walker, H. M., Ramsey, E., & Gresham, F. (2004). Antisocial behavior in school: Evidenced-based practices(2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/WadsworthGoogle Scholar
  43. Walker, H. M., & Shinn, M.R. (2002). Structuring school-based interventions to achieve integrated primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention goals for safe and effective schools. In M. R. Shinn, H. M. Walker, & G. Stoner (Eds.), Interventions for academic and behavior problems II: Preventive and remedial approaches(pp. 1–26). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School PsychologistsGoogle Scholar
  44. Weissberg, R. P., Caplan, M. Z., & Sivo, P. J. (1989). A new conceptual framework for establishing school-based social competence promotion programs. In L. A. Bond & B. E. Compas (Eds.), Primary prevention and promotion in the schools(pp. 255–296). Thousand Oaks, CA: SageGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Newton
  • Robert H. Horner
  • Robert F. Algozzine
  • Anne W. Todd
  • Kate M. Algozzine

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations