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Root Cause - Tools

Data Narrative Outline (Word)
  • Outline of the Data Narrative.
Planning for Root Cause Analysis (Word)
  • Note catcher to help plan for completing root cause analysis and finalizing the data narrative.
Data Intersection Questions (Word)
  • Activity for identifying which types of data are needed to answer different questions.
Interpreting Equitable Distribution of Teachers Data (PDF)
  • Guidelines for interpreting graphical representations of Equitable Distribution of Teacher data provided on
Accessing EDT Data (PDF)
  • Directions for accessing Equitable Distribution of Teachers (EDT) and data.
Accessing TELL Colorado Data (PDF)
  • Directions for accessing TELL Colorado data.
SST Rubric Summary (PDF)
  • Overview of the categories that focus school site team reviews.
Resources Available from CDE to support Root Cause Analysis (PDF)
  • List and description of tools available from CDE that schools and districts can use to collect data that would support their root cause analysis.
Inventory of Data other than Performance Data (Excel)
  • Template to use when inventorying data other than student learning/performance data.
Tree (Fish) Diagram Example (PDF)
  • A mental map used to brainstorm explanations within predetermined categories.
Tree (Fish) Diagram Directions (PDF)
  • Directions for how to use a Tree/Fish Diagram to brainstorm within categories.
Circle Map Example (PDF)
  • A thinking map used to brainstorm about a topic.
Circle Map Directions (PDF)
  • Directions for how to use a Circle Map to brainstorm and categorize.
Research-Based Factors that Influence Student Performance (PDF)
  • Factors that influence student performance (as presented by Robert Marzano in various publications).
Criteria for Narrowing Explanations (PDF)
  • A list of criteria to apply to explanations to narrow and refine them.
The Five Why’s: Root Cause Identification Form (PDF)
  • A form to use while engaging in the Five Why’s to deepen thinking to get to root causes.
Getting to Root Cause (PDF)
  • Thinking Map that describes the process of getting to root causes.
Validate Root Causes (Word)
  • A form that structures thinking about what data to use to validate root cause explanations.
UIP Data Analysis Worksheet (Word)
  • Excerpt from the UIP Template; this worksheet is designed to scaffold the data analyses processes used in UIP.


Root Cause Basics: Preuss, P.G. (2003). School Leader’s Guide to Root Cause Analysis: Using data to dissolve problems. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Organizing and Integrating: Wellman, B., & Lipton, L. (2004). Data-driven dialogue: A facilitator’s guide collaborative inquiry. Sherman, CT: Mira Via.

Levels of Root Causes: Preuss, P.G. (2003). School Leader’s Guide to Root Cause Analysis: Using data to dissolve problems. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

Research Based Factors (Marzano): Compiled from various books by Robert Marzano.

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