Using Positive Behavior Supports Data to Make Decisions

Carl Sumi (bio) explains how data helps PBS schools identify and manage patterns of referrals.

One of the important things that's extremely important about schoolwide PBS is that they use data to make decision. So they are collecting schoolwide office system referral data, and they use the data, and they meet regularly.

They put all those data into a system that lets them look at it by location, referrals by location. And if you look and see every day we have most of our referrals are coming from the cafeteria. What's going on at the cafeteria? So they walk, and they realize that there's one door in and one door out, so how do we fix this. Now we make a door in and a separate door for out, but then referrals dropped.

We have lots of referrals at 8:00 a.m. on Mondays and 8:00 a.m. on Fridays. What's happening there? Oh, that's when we do our national gym day or whatever, and so you look at the data and make decisions.

Most of our referrals are for disrespect. Well, what does disrespect mean? Why are teachers writing referrals? So what does that mean? How do students understand that they shouldn't be doing this or that? And they look at that.

You could look at time of day, week, type of referral, location, staff member, students. You can use the data to make decisions rather than blindly making changes without having any information.

And then monitor your outcomes. You don't know how you're doing unless you know how everybody's doing in school. So is there a schoolwide decrease in discipline referrals? Have statewide testing scores gone up? So there's a lot of data that need to be looked at.

Viewing Preferences


Excerpted from an interview at CBITS Summit 2013 in Santa Monica, CA.

Dr. Sumi's work is fully funded by United States Department of Education Grant Number R324A110027, a $3,383,527 grant awarded to SRI International. The views and conclusions expressed are those of the presenter and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the USDE or the U.S. Government.


More About "Discipline"


More From Carl Sumi (bio)

  • Advice for Parents Concerned About Bullying

  • Getting Started With Positive Behavior Supports

  • Resource Mapping Identifies Time for Positive Behavior Supports

  • Using Positive Behavior Supports at a Trauma-Informed School