How do I define the problem with precision?

Last Updated: Sep 06, 2013 10:49AM PDT
This describes the basic process for using SWIS custom graphs and custom reports to drill down from a primary to a precise problem statement. Also included are three simulations of drilling down using the SWIS Demo data. 

It is important to note that the drill-down process is intended to give a more complete story about a problem. There are not strict rules about the order of steps or what level of detail the team will need before they can determine whether and when they will move to solution development.

​Drilling Down from Primary to Precise Problem Statements in SWIS

  1.  Identify Primary Problem Statement or Problem Area using one or more of the following:
    1. Big 5 SWIS Reports (specific problem behavior, time, location, etc.)
    2. Ethnicity Reports
    3. Triangle Reports
    4. Student/Staff reports
    5. Other data sources
  2. Isolate 1-2 problem “factors” to drill down. Note: only identify 2 factors if they are clearly related (e.g. lunchtime and cafeteria) to avoid missing potentially valuable data during the drill-down process.
    1. Example A: High rates of physical aggression (problem behavior)
    2. Example B: High rates of referrals in the hallways (location)
    3. Example C: High rates of disruption (problem behavior) within the last two weeks (time)
  3. Generate a custom graph that isolates the above 1-2 factor(s) and identifies an additional factor.  
    1. What? (graph type: Problem Behavior)
    2. Where? (graph type: Location)
    3. When? (graph type: Time)
    4. Why? (graph types: Motivation, Admin Decision)
    5. Who? (graph type: Grade)
      The “Who” may take more time to identify. This may be a small list of specific students or a group of students with a common factor. In SWIS grade level can be identified the most quickly, but other custom graphs and reports can also be used to pinpoint other factors such as gender, ethnicity, IEP status, etc. 
    6. Other factors? (Advanced Options as needed)
  4. Modify the custom graph in order to “drill-down” to a precise problem statement. After reviewing each graph, there should be one additional factor to consider and select within the Report Options (basic and/or advanced) to gather more information.
     
  5. (Optional): Consider whether other Advanced  options would be useful to consider such as gender, extra info, ethnicity, IEP status, etc).
     
  6. Generate a Custom Report that shows all the referral information based on the factors identified. Identify what additional information the report should include (e.g. staff names, student names, extra info fields). This step will allow you to pinpoint additional factors that may not have been considered.

Simulation A: SWIS Demo School – Harassment

1. Identify Primary Problem Statement or Problem Area
Roger is the data analyst for his school’s behavior team. Roger reviews Quick Big 5 Report and notes that Harassment seems to be high. This is a behavior of concern within the district so even though it is not the behavior occurring most frequently, Roger wants to be proactive.
 
Roger decides to use the Referrals by Problem Behavior report to compare data for the last 2 months.
 





Roger finds that in September there were 3 referrals for harassment/bullying (4.76% of the referrals during that time period), and in October there were 8 (9.30%). Because the issue is a “hot topic” in the district and considering how early it is in the school year, Roger decides to drill down so that he can bring a precise problem statement to the next team meeting for consideration. 

2. Isolate 1-2 problem “factors” to drill down.
Following the drill-down steps, Roger identifies his primary factor and begins to drill down in the custom reports.
What is the Problem Behavior of concern?: Harassment/Bullying

3. Generate a custom graph that isolates the above 1-2 factor(s) and identifies an additional factor.

Custom Graph 1: Identify Location



Where
is the problem most likely to occur?: Classroom
Roger decides not to limit his drill-down to this location since there are such a small number of referrals to consider.

4. Modify the custom graph in order to “drill-down” to a precise problem statement.
Custom Graph 2: Identify Time of Day




When is the problem behavior most likely to occur?: The behavior occurs throughout the school day (8:30am-1:45pm) with spikes at 12pm and 1:45pm. 

Custom Graph 3: Identify Perceived Motivation




Why do we believe the behavior continues to occur?: To obtain peer attention
Roger decides not to limit the drill-down with motivation. 

Custom Graph 4: Identify Current Consequence strategies
Roger wants to also identify the current consequence strategies used and whether it contributes to the “why”. 




(Optional) What other factors do we believe may be impacting this problem?: Inconclusive/possibly task avoidance as well?
Administrative Decisions were varied but several resulted in time out of class (detention, suspension, office).

Custom Graph 5: Identify what grade levels are involved 




Who is most likely to be involved?: Across multiple grades

5. (Optional): Consider Advanced options

Roger decides to use the custom report to look at gender, the type of harassment (Extra Info Field) and other information.
6. Generate a custom report.
Custom Report: Look at detailed referral data 




(Optional) What other factors do we believe may be impacting this problem?:
  • Gender: 7 male students, 3 female students
  • Repeats: Serena received 2 of the referrals
  • Staff: Varied across staff members
  • Harassment Type: Data missing; staff training may be needed
When Roger puts the information together he can more easily identify the precise problem statement that he wants to bring to the team. The team will determine whether this is a problem they want to address right away or if other issues are more urgent. 
  • Who is most likely to be involved?: Ten students across several grades and gender
  • What is the Problem Behavior of concern?: Harassment/Bullying
  • When is the problem behavior most likely to occur?: Throughout the day with spikes at 12:00pm and 1:45pm
  • Where is the problem most likely to occur?: Primarily in the classroom, but also in unstructured settings (e.g., cafeteria, playground, bathroom)
  • Why do we believe the behavior continues to occur?: To obtain peer attention
  • (Optional) What other factors do we believe may be impacting this problem?: Staff may need additional training in order to identify and document bullying/harassment correctly. Only 2 staff members identified the type of harassment. 
  • (Optional) How often is the behavior occurring?: There is an increasing trend from 3 incidents in September to 8 in October.

Simulation B: SWIS Demo School – (Major) Inappropriate Language

1. Identify Primary Problem Statement or Problem Area
The SWIS Demo School’s behavior team reviews their Quick Big 5 Report and notes that Inappropriate Language is the behavior occurring most frequently.
2. Isolate 1-2 problem “factors” to drill down.
What is the Problem Behavior of concern? Inappropriate Language
3. Generate a custom graph that isolates the above 1-2 factor(s) and identifies an additional factor.
Custom Graph 1: Identify Location
·         Graph Type: Location
·         Problem Behavior: Abusive language/inappropriate language/profanity
Where is the problem most likely to occur? Classroom
4. Modify the custom graph in order to “drill-down” to a precise problem statement.
Custom Graph 2: Identify Grades
·         Graph Type: Grade
·         Location: Classroom
·         Problem Behavior: Abusive language/inappropriate language/profanity
Who is most likely to be involved? 6th-8th Graders
Custom Graph 3: Identify Time
·         Graph Type: Time
·         Grades: 7-8
·         Location: Classroom
·         Problem Behavior: Abusive language/inappropriate language/profanity
When is the problem behavior most likely to occur? 1:00pm-2:30pm
Custom Graph 4: Motivation
·         Graph Type: Time
·         Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm
·         Grades: 7-8
·         Problem Behavior: Abusive language/inappropriate language/profanity
·         Location: Classroom
Why do we believe the behavior continues to occur? Avoid Task
5. (Optional): Consider Advanced options
6. Generate a custom report.
Custom Report:
·         Sort by: Date
·         Problem Behavior: Abusive language/inappropriate language/profanity
·         Grades: 7-8
·         Show: Names, ethnicity, Additional Admin. Decision,
Note: The team decided not to use all the drill-down information for the custom report in order to be sure that they did not miss any other trends or factors (e.g. gender, referring staff, ethnicity, etc.). If they decide to
 
Who is most likely to be involved? 6th-8th Graders
What is the Problem Behavior of concern? Inappropriate Language
When is the problem behavior most likely to occur? 1:00pm-2:30pm
Where is the problem most likely to occur? Classroom
Why do we believe the behavior continues to occur? Avoid Task
(Optional) What other factors do we believe may be impacting this problem?  
(Optional) How often is the behavior occurring? 5-6 referrals per month
Precise Problem Statement: We have a high occurrence of inappropriate language occurring in the 6th-8th grades. The problem seems to occur more frequently in the classroom and the referring staff members have indicated that students want to avoid work.

Simulation C: SWIS Demo School – Minor Disrespect

1. Identify Primary Problem Statement or Problem Area
The SWIS Demo School’s behavior team reviews their minor Referrals by Problem Behavior and notes that Minor Disrespect is the behavior occurring most frequently.
2. Isolate 1-2 problem “factors” to drill down.
What is the Problem Behavior of concern? Minor Disrespect
3. Generate a custom graph that isolates the above 1-2 factor(s) and identifies an additional factor.
Custom Graph 1: Identify Location
·         Graph Type: Location
·         Problem Behavior: Minor-Defiance/Disrespect/Non-compliance
Where is the problem most likely to occur? Classroom
4. Modify the custom graph in order to “drill-down” to a precise problem statement.
Custom Graph 2: Identify Grades
·         Graph Type: Grade
·         Location: Classroom
·         Problem Behavior: Minor-Defiance/Disrespect/Non-compliance
Who is most likely to be involved? 4th Graders
Custom Graph 3: Identify Time
·         Graph Type: Time
·         Grades: 4
·         Location: Classroom
·         Problem Behavior: Minor-Defiance/Disrespect/Non-compliance
When is the problem behavior most likely to occur? Morning (8:45am-10:30am)
Custom Graph 4: Motivation
·         Graph Type: Time
·         Time: 8:45pm-10:30am
·         Grades: 4
·         Location: Classroom
·         Problem Behavior: Minor-Defiance/Disrespect/Non-compliance
Why do we believe the behavior continues to occur? Avoid Task
5. (Optional): Consider Advanced options

6. Generate a custom report.
Custom Report:
·         Grade: 4
·         Time: 8:45pm-10:30am
·         Sort by: Date
·         Problem Behavior: Minor-Defiance/Disrespect/Non-compliance
·         Location: Classroom
·         Show: Names, ethnicity, Additional Admin. Decision,
Who is most likely to be involved? 15 students
(Optional) How often is the behavior occurring? 4-5 referrals per month
 
Who is most likely to be involved? Group of 4th Graders
What is the Problem Behavior of concern? Minor Disrespect
When is the problem behavior most likely to occur? Morning (8:45am-10:30am)
Where is the problem most likely to occur? Classroom
Why do we believe the behavior continues to occur? Avoid Task
(Optional) What other factors do we believe may be impacting this problem?  
(Optional) How often is the behavior occurring? 4-5 referrals per month
Precise Problem Statement: There is a consistent pattern of minor disrespect involving 4th graders during morning instruction. Since the beginning of the school year, the problem has occurred 4-5 times per month across 15 separate students. Staff have identified that the motivation seems to be work avoidance. 
 


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