Data Informed Decision Making

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Graduate Credits: 
Semester and Date: 
Course Date: 
Sep 14 2022 to Dec 13 2022
Offered by: 
Required for License(s): 


This course will help candidates become data-informed instructional leaders through the use of key tools and strategies. Candidates will engage in the cycle of inquiry to investigate areas of concern and promising practices at the school or district level and reflect upon this process as it relates to change in their school or district. Methods for analyzing and interpreting state, district- and school-based data are covered with additional consideration of data credibility, relevance, reliability, and usability.

Candidates will learn to identify and use key evidence to monitor student learning and program and/or school effectiveness. The course requires a minimum of 40 practicum hours, which will address Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL) Task 1: Leadership through a Vision of High School Achievement.

A cycle of inquiry is a structured process that supports evidence-based decision-making through continuous use of data. It supplies a framework to analyze data, brainstorm effective strategies, create action plans, implement strategies, and evaluate results. These actions within the cycle of inquiry are characterized by three stages:

  1. Analyze
    1. Identify patterns of need
    2. Validate
    3. Determine root cause
  2. Strategize
    1. Brainstorm strategies
    2. Select a high-impact strategy
    3. Create an action plan
  3. Act:
    1. Implement the strategy
    2. Assess

Reflecting and sharing results is a component of every stage of the cycle.


This course may be taken either as part of a Licensure Program or as an individual course for PDPs. Graduate Credit through Fitchburg State University is available at additional cost; Master’s Degree and CAGS options are available. Click here to learn more about Graduate Credit.

Cost and Registration

This course is included in your CES Initial Licensure tuition cost if it is required for your program. If you are a Licensure Enrollee and your account is in good standing, please indicate your status when registering for the course.

This course may also be taken individually for professional development and/or license renewal. The tuition cost for the individual course is $875. Click here for more information about tuition and fees.

Course Structure, Dates and Locations

This course includes a mix of asynchronous and synchronous online learning experiences, as well as one in-person meeting date (pending COVID guidance). 

The course will run from Sept 14 - Dec 13, 2022. Coursework begins on the course start date. You will be required to log in and complete activities prior to the first online synchronous session. 

Please reserve the following dates: 

  • Online Synchronous Sessions: Oct 22, Nov 19, Dec 10, 2022; 9:00am - 12:30pm
  • In-Person Meeting Date: Sept 17, 2022; 9:00am - 12:30pm

Registration Deadline: September 13


  • Christine Shea is a Data Specialist and Support Facilitator for the Lower Pioneer Valley Collaborative, working with school districts in their use of data and to strengthen school leadership.

For more information, contact:
413.586.4900 Option 5

Important Information


A maximum class size is set for each course and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. If the number of registrations for a course exceeds the maximum seats available, we will inform you of available options.

If course enrollment is too low to be able to conduct a quality learning experience, options will be made available that may include taking the course in another location or semester, or participating in face-to-face sessions virtually, where students see, hear, and interact with the class through the web.

Some courses may continue to have seats available after online registration has closed. Please contact the Licensure Registrar at or (413) 586-4900, Option 5, if you would like to register for this course after online registration has closed.

Registrations submitted after the 5:00pm deadline noted for each course must be sent by mail and include the course tuition. Please contact the registrar at

Coursework and Attendance

Attendance at all face-to-face sessions is mandatory. Missing a face-to-face session will reduce your grade by one letter grade. If you know you cannot attend one of the face-to-face sessions for this course, please consider taking this course the next time it is offered.

All coursework is due by the course end date.

CES Continuing Education Loans

Students enrolled in CES Licensure programs, as well as those seeking Master's Degrees and CAGS through Fitchburg State University, have the option to finance their programs with loans through UMassFive College Federal Credit Union (

Loan program details:

Inclement Weather

If a Saturday class is cancelled, the class will meet on the following day, Sunday. If a Sunday class is cancelled, the class will not be rescheduled. Students may receive information from their instructor regarding alternate assignments.

Any delays or cancellations are posted online at You may also call 413.588.5979 after 6:30am for information about classes that day.