Root Cause Analysis:

Purpose and Outcome for Improvement

An essential step in the school improvement process is conducing a root cause analysis to uncover core causes of school performance problems. 

The University of Maryland College Park and Maryland State Department of Education collaborated with the American Institutes for Research to develop a Root Cause Analysis Facilitator Guide, Figure 1. The guide supports the facilitation of the root cause analysis process. 

There are four steps in the root cause analysis process:

  1. Craft a Problem Statement Based on Data

  2. Brainstorm Causal Factors

  3. Analyze Underlying Causes to Identify Root Causes

  4. Prioritize Root Causes for Intervention


The Root Cause Analysis Facilitator Guide explains each step in detail and provides worksheets that can be downloaded to guide the process.  


Figure 1. The image links to the Root Cause Analysis
Facilitator Guide

Root Cause Analysis:

Online Training

Online Training

Using Root Cause Analysis to Inform School Improvement Planning

The online training provides information on how to conduct a root cause analysis to inform school improvement. School leaders, staff, and other stakeholders will learn why root cause analysis is an essential element of school improvement and how to use Maryland's resources to facilitate the root cause analysis process.   

RCA improvement planning webinar front.P

Click on the image to access the webinar.

Root Cause Analysis:

Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) Schools


Under Maryland's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan, all schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) will be required to complete a needs assessment developed by the MSDE and have a root cause analysis conducted by a third party to uncover causes for school performance problems. 

To view the completed Root Cause Analysis reports for each school identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI), visit the Root Cause Analysis Results page. 

Click on the image to read the Maryland Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated State Plan