Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Dale Brethower

Third Advisor

Dr. Kristal Ehrhardt

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ruth Ervin


The data-based decision model involves frequent measures of student performance (i.e., 2 - 5 times per week), frequent analysis of performance data (weekly or bi-weekly), and the application of decision rules. In the first study, we surveyed 406 special education teachers state-wide. Results of the survey suggest that the databased decision model is not generally practiced by special educators in the field. Just over one quarter of the respondents report to assessing student performance frequently enough to qualify as using the model. Only 10% of respondents indicate that they generally graph student performance. Additionally, less than 23% of respondents who graph data indicate reviewing their student’s chart at least monthly.

The second study increased teachers’ use of the data-based decision model through functional assessment and interventions matched to the results of the assessment. A functional assessment identified that teachers lacked skills, knowledge, feedback and materials to utilize the data-based decision model. As a result of the assessment, training and feedback were introduced sequentially to three groups of teachers. Training improved performance for every teacher. Initial increases in performance following feedback were observed for 4 out of 8 subjects. During the follow-up phase of the study, the environmental supports were no longer in place. Teacher performance returned to baseline levels. Implications for staff development and improving staff performance are discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access