Office of Accountability

Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness




On May 29, 2012, the United States Education Department granted the New York State Education Department (NYSED) a waiver from specific provisions of No Child Left Behind (also known as ESEA "the Elementary & Secondary School Education Act"). One of the primary focuses of NYSED's successful waiver submission was to create a new, common, and robust school and district visit process. This process compares a school and district's practices to the optimal conditions of learning, as defined by the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) rubric.

Section 100.18 of Commissioner's Regulations requires that each Focus District participate annually in a diagnostic visit using a diagnostic tool of quality indicators as prescribed by the Commissioner that shall focus on the accountability group(s) for each accountability performance criterion for which the school district and its schools have been identified as Priority and/or Focus. Each year, the Commissioner will appoint an Integrated Intervention Team (IIT) to conduct an on-site diagnostic district visit and school visits of selected Priority and/or Focus Schools within the district to inform the development of the District Comprehensive Improvement Plan and school Comprehensive Education Plan. For schools designated as Focus and Priority in the years in which an IIT does not conduct an on-site diagnostic visit, the school district will be required to annually use a diagnostic tool, in the form prescribed by the Commissioner, to inform the development of the District Comprehensive Improvement Plan and the school Comprehensive Education Plan.

The On-Site NYSED Led School Review Process:The visit will be carried out over a period of one, two or three days by an Integrated Intervention team (IIT) composed of NYSED staff; an Outside Educational Expert selected by the district and approved by NYSED; a district representative; and in some instances experts in the education of English language learners and/or students with disabilities. The length of the visit will depend on the size of the school and its accountability status. The process of conducting the visits will focus on collecting and assessing low-inference data, (data of what is actually observed and heard, absent of added meaning, assumptions, conclusions and beliefs) to evaluate school and district practices based on six tenets. The six tenets are:

  • Tenet 1: District Leadership and Capacity
  • Tenet 2: School Leader Practices and Decisions
  • Tenet 3: Curriculum Development and Support
  • Tenet 4: Teacher Practices and Decisions
  • Tenet 5: Student Social and Emotional Developmental Health
  • Tenet 6: Family and Community Engagement  

Teacher and Student Surveys with the DTSDE: Teacher and Student Surveys that have been approved for with the DTSDE. 

It is the responsibility of each district to select and enter into contract with a vendor from the approved list to have teacher and student surveys administered in each school undergoing a DTSDE visit in accordance with the timeline specified in the DTSDE protocol. Please also review the DTSDE Survey Information FAQ for additional information about approved surveys.

Approved List  pdf (21 KB)

For further information on the DTSDE process and the district component of the visit, please refer to the DTSDE Handbook.

NYSED as part of the initiative to turn around the State’s lowest performing schools, is soliciting proposals for Surveys of P-12 Students and Teachers for use as part of the School and District Visit Process that LEAs can select for use as part of DTSDE visits. See the posting for details.

Survey Providers who are interested in qualifying their surveys for use in the DTSDE process should use the document posted here:

Guidelines for Agreement


Last Updated: December 12, 2018