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Data types: What data do we need to draft a school portrait

Adapted from

Victoria Bernhardt by EBP


To show the types of data needed to get a complete picture of student success.


This Venn diagram graphic provides a visual representation of four types of data: student learning, demographics, perceptions and school processes.

Context For Use

Presented by the Evidence Based Practice Project (EBPP) team during professional development sessions with school teams as a potential strategy to support student success. The model can be used in a variety of interactive settings. It is useful to identify a wide range of data that could contribute to student success or to highlight the need to gather and examine a wide-range of information about students in order to devise appropriate instructional strategies. ‘What type of data do we need in order to understand student success?’ is a helpful question to engage the conversation.

  • Step 1: Explain that demographic data is used to provide quantitative information about students’ enrollment, attendance, grade level, etc. Ask participants to name other types of demographic data.

  • Step 2: Repeat Step 1 for the other three types of data.

  • Step 3: Ask participants to predict what kind of impact examining data from all four categories over time might have on their teaching ..


  • Knowledge acquisition: Discover the different types of data available in school settings for the purpose of strategic planning
  • Knowledge mobilization: Demonstrates the effectiveness of using different types of data to understand school improvement


  •  Some types of data may not be readily accessible in schools

Find Out More

Articles showing the Venn Diagram

Data analysis for continuous school improvement (3rd ed.), Bernhardt, V. L., (2013).

Data analysis for continuous school improvement (2rd ed.), Bernhardt, V. L., (2004).

Response to intervention (RtI) and continuous school improvement (CSI): Using data, vision and leadership to design, implement and evaluate a school wide prevention system, Bernhardt, V. L. & Hébert, C. L., (2011).

No Schools Left Behind. Educational Leadership: Using Data to Improve Student Achievement, Bernhardt, V. L. (2003).


Goodreads page with all  Victoria Bernhardt's relevant books: