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Posted: November 6th, 2023

Discussion Thread: Evidence-Based Practice and Date-Based Decision Making

Discussion Thread: Evidence-Based Practice and Date-Based Decision Making. Evidence-based practice and data-based decision making are important terms used with-in the field of assessment and research in special education. At the base of authentic assessment lies “Truth.” Zechariah 8:16 states, “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.” What do the words “Truth” and “Judgement” mean in terms of evaluation, evidence-based practice, and data-based decision-making in the field of special education? Be sure to include two questions to facilitate discussion with your peers.

Must include in-text citations and references.

Truth and judgment in terms of evaluation, evidence-based practice, and data-based decision making in the field of special education refer to making student-centered decisions that are supported by objective facts and measurable data.
According to the verse from Zechariah, we should “speak the truth to one another” and “judge with truth and judgment.” In the context of special education assessment and evaluation, this means basing conclusions and recommendations on accurate information rather than assumptions, biases, or subjective opinions. Evaluation should involve gathering multiple sources of quantitative and qualitative evidence about a student’s strengths and needs from various contexts over time (Bagnato & Neisworth, 1991). This evidence then forms the basis for data-based decision making regarding the student’s eligibility, goals, supports, and services.
Evidence-based practice refers to using research-based interventions and instructional strategies that have been demonstrated to be effective for students with similar characteristics through rigorous scientific studies and peer-reviewed research (Cook et al., 2015). It also involves continuously monitoring student progress and adjusting supports based on response to intervention to determine what is most effective for an individual student.
Data-based decision making relies on objective measurement and analysis of student performance and learning over time to guide educational planning and program implementation (Mandinach, 2012). Multiple data points are collected through formative and summative assessments to track a student’s response to the curriculum, instruction, interventions and supports provided. This data is then used to determine whether educational decisions such as curriculum modifications, additional services or changes in placement need to be made.
In summary, “truth” and “judgment” in special education refer to making student-centered determinations grounded in factual evidence rather than subjective impressions. Some questions for discussion include:
What are some examples of evidence that should be included in a special education evaluation?
How can special educators ensure they are using evidence-based practices and data-based decision making rather than personal biases when developing IEP goals and determining student supports and services?
Bagnato, S. J., & Neisworth, J. T. (1991). Assessment for early intervention: Best practices for professionals. Guilford Press.
Cook, B. G., Cook, L., & Landrum, T. J. (2015). Moving research into practice: Can we make dissemination stick?. Exceptional Children, 81(2), 163-180.
Mandinach, E. B. (2012). A perfect time for data use: Using data-driven decision making to inform practice. Educational Psychologist, 47(2), 71-85.

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