Analyzing Office Referral Data


WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER! I certainly agree with that! When I worked as a behavior consultant, I spent hours and hours compiling office referral data. Our district wanted to analyze the data to look for trends. Thanks to my terrific sister, I was introduced to Excel Pivot Tables.


Yes, you can call me a nerd/data geek/whatever! I love analyzing data and Excel Pivot Tables feed that obsession!

Imagine having a tool that will let you enter new data, and with the click of a button, all graphs are instantly updated to include the new data. After I learned how to make the Excel Pivot Table work for office referral data, each month I was able to add the new data, click Refresh and was ready to send the new data to the schools for analysis.

One school had a lot of fighting going on. No one knew why. With Excel Pivot Tables, we were able to determine that the fights were occurring near the boys bathroom in the science wing after lunch. The school increased supervision in that location after lunch. Students were better supervised and not allowed to loiter. Fights stopped. Now that’s WORKING SMARTER, NOT HARDER!

Another school’s office referrals noted disturbances on the playground. After closer analysis, the conflicts happened the last 10 minutes of the 30 minute recess. We reduced recess to 20 minutes which significantly reduced playground conflicts. WORKING SMARTER, NOT HARDER!

When analyzing office referral data, a principal noticed the majority of the office referrals were coming from 3 teachers. The principal and assistant principal increased walk-throughs in those classrooms. They were able to help the teachers gain control with problem students. Office referrals decreased. YES! WORKING SMARTER, NOT HARDER!

When we anticipate problems, we can be proactive and prevent conflicts.

Analyzing the data:

NOTE: The pivot tables below have just 11 office referrals represented. It is just as easy to analyze 1000 or 3000 office referrals as it is to analyze 11.

The Student Chart shows how many office referrals each student received. You can use this information to form an At-Risk Team.














Click on the number next to the student who has the highest referrals.



The office referral appears for just Red Riding Hood! You now have the information you need to begin to make a plan for Red Riding Hood. You can share this information with parents, special education staff, school psychologists, etc.







Another way to use Excel Pivot Tables is to determine who sends students to the office most often. This gives an administrator information to consider if the teacher needs extra support.




I always like to see what infractions occur most often. You can compare the infractions month to month to determine trends of behavior. The infractions are coded: ct1-class tardy 1st time; dis=disruption; dru=drugs; fi=fight; out=out of assigned area; etc. You can create your own codes, use the ones your internet tracking program provides or use the ones I’ve developed. The most important thought is to enter the data consistently.  For example, if I enter “fight” for two students fighting one time and then enter “student fight” another time, Excel will identify these as two different types of infractions when they are really one. So be consistent with documentation.











Other types of data collected and analyzed include: infractions per month; infractions by gender; location of infraction; time of infraction; type of consequences used. As you get more comfortable and familiar with Excel Pivot Tables, you can add more areas to analyze. Analysis is endless. If you are like me, you will be so engrossed in the data you’ll wonder how the day flew by.

If you have Excel and the Internet, you can figure this out. Check out the videos on You Tube.

You do not have to be an Excel Pivot Table Pro to use this. If you want the data/tracking but don’t want to create it yourself, I’ve made one for you with step by step directions. You may find it well worth the $7 price tag to save yourself the time, energy and effort of learing how to make a pivot table. Just download the one I’ve already created-OFFICE REFERRAL DATA ANALYSIS. It’s ready to use. Remember, WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER!

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