The Importance of Shared Language
Shared language is an important first step when NCCD begins work with a jurisdiction to implement the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) system
of assessments. Agreeing to use the same terminology helps to target each of the SDM®
system’s key characteristics (reliability, validity, equity, utility) and to make certain that we’re measuring the same thing in the same way.
- Enhances consistency in decision making (reliability) by promoting clear guidance to the worker and detailing threshold information.
- Aids validity by connecting data to like data more accurately, ensuring that we measure the right thing.
- Helps to promote equity by holding our work to the same standard and process regardless of demographics, narrowing the potential for bias to influence how we work with families and individuals.
- Promotes utility by offering the ability to be more concise and expedient. Once a common term is defined and understood, we can use it and refer to it without looking up additional definitions.
From the beginning of workgroup sessions to develop a tool to the completion of staff training on assessment use and beyond, using consistent and effective language is critically important to creating strong assessment tools and using them in the field.