Dr. Mona Tawakkul Elsayed

Associate Prof. of Mental Health and Special Education

Determining Specif

Determining Specific Learning
Disability Eligibility Using
Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2)

 

 

Seal of the California Department of Education.

California Department of Education

Sacramento, 2009


 

 

 

Seal of the California Department of Education.Publishing Information

Determining Specific Learning Disability Eligibility Using Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) was developed by the Special Education Division, California Department of Education. It was designed and prepared for printing by the staff of CDE Press and was published by the Department, 1430 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814-5901. It was distributed under the provisions of the Library Distribution Act and Government Code Section 11096.

©2009 by the California Department of Education
All rights reserved

Notice

The technical assistance in Determining Specific Learning Disability Eligibility Using Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) is not binding on local educational agencies or other entities. Except for the statutes, regulations, and court decisions that are referenced herein, compliance with it is not mandatory. (See California Education Code Section 33308.5.)


Contents

Message from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction...................................... iii

RTI2 Technical Work Group of Authors............................................................................... iv

Introduction.................................................................................................................................. v

Foreword................................................................................................................................... viii

Chapter 1      Response to Instruction and Intervention................................................... 1

                        Implementation of RtI2....................................................................................... 1

                        Nonresponders................................................................................................... 3

                        Principles of RtI2................................................................................................. 3

Chapter 2      Components of RtI2............................................................................................ 5

                        Components of Organizational Change....................................................... 5

                            District Leadership......................................................................................... 5

                            School Site Leadership................................................................................. 6

                        New and Expanding Roles.............................................................................. 7

                            Administrators................................................................................................. 7

                            General Education Teachers....................................................................... 8

                            Special Education Teachers....................................................................... 8

                            Reading Specialists/Coaches..................................................................... 9

                            Speech-Language Pathologists................................................................. 9

                            School Psychologists................................................................................. 10

                            School Counselors...................................................................................... 10

                            Paraeducators............................................................................................... 10

                            Parents and Caregivers.............................................................................. 11

                        Professional Development............................................................................ 11

                        Conclusion......................................................................................................... 12

Chapter 3      Use of Rtl2 Data in the SLD Eligibility
Process............................................................................................................... 13

                        Five Key Areas in the Identification Process............................................ 15

                            Key Area #1: Low Achievement................................................................ 15

                            Key Area #2: Lack of Progress................................................................. 16

                            Key Area #3: Role of Exclusionary Factors........................................... 19

                            Key Area #4: Appropriate Instruction...................................................... 20

                            Key Area #5: Need for Special Education.............................................. 21

Appendix A  Components to Ensure Success in RtI2: A Self-Assessment Tool..... 22

Appendix B  Changing Roles in an RtI2 Process............................................................. 27

Appendix C  Summary of the IDEA Regulations for Identifying Students
with SLDs........................................................................................................... 32


Message from the State Superintendent of
Public Instruction

Response to Intervention (RtI) is emerging nationally as an effective strategy to support every student. The California Department of Education (CDE) is coining the term Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI²) to define a general education approach of high-quality instruction and early intervention, prevention, and behavioral strategies. RtI² offers a way to eliminate the achievement gap through a schoolwide process that provides assistance to every student, both high-achieving and struggling learners. It is a process that utilizes all resources in a school and school district in a collaborative manner to create a single, well-integrated system of instruction and interventions informed by student outcome data. RtI² is fully aligned with the research on the effectiveness of early intervention and the recommendations of the California P–16 Council. Access, culture and climate, expectations, and strategies are the council’s themes.

RtI is cited in the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 related to the determination of a specific learning disability (SLD) and in 34 Code of Federal Regulations sections 300.307, 300.309, and 300.311. The IDEA regulations allow for the use of a process, based on a child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention, as a component to determine whether a child has an SLD. Thus, the data gained during the implementation of an effective RtI² system can be part of the process to identify students with learning disabilities. Research shows that implementation of RtI² in general education reduces the disproportionate representation of certain groups of students identified as needing special education services.

Together, we can close the achievement gap and open the door to a better future for every student, without exception. I look forward to continuing our work together.

 

 

JACK O’CONNELL
State Superintendent of Public Instruction


RtI2 Technical Work Group of Authors

Rebekah Acord

California Teachers Association (CTA)

Marta Anchondo

Team of Advocates for Special Kids, Inc. (TASK)—Family Empowerment

Roy Applegate

Special education local plan area (SELPA)

Stacy Begin

Advisory Commission on Special Education (ACSE)

John Brady

California Association of School Psychologists (CASP)/Institutions of higher education (IHE)

Maureen Burness

Association of California School Administrators (ACSA)

Cathy Christo

CASP/IHE

Betty Connolly

CASP

Ken Denman

California Association of Resource Specialists and Special Education Teachers

Laura Denton

Diagnostic Center-North, California Department of Education (CDE)

Alnita Dunn

Los Angeles Unified School District

Silvia DeRuvo

WestEd

Sherry Fritts

Diagnostic Center-Central, CDE

Mary Hudler

Special Education, CDE

Onda Johnson

Program Improvement Division, CDE

Valerie Johnson

State Special School, Diagnostic Center-Southern

Georgianne Knight

Special Education Division, CDE

Bradley J. Lenhardt

Western Regional Resource Center (WRRC)

Marc Lekowicz

Learning Disability Association (LDA)—California

Allan Lloyd-Jones

Special Education Division, CDE

Jan Mangini

ACSE

Elen Martinez

Exceptional Parents Unlimited

Patrick Moran

Publisher

Barbara Moore-Brown

California Speech-Language-Hearing Association (CSHA)

John Namkung

SELPA

Chuck Nichols

Learning Support and Partnerships Division, CDE

Linda Nimer

California Association of Resource Specialists and Special Education Teachers

Dave Raske

California State University, Sacramento

Idia Renteria

Professional Development Division, CDE

Virginia Reynolds

WestEd

Greg Roberts

University of Texas, Austin

Jim Russell

SELPA

Kate Starn Legrand

Legal Office, CDE

Rebecca Silva

Riverside County Office of Education

Alexa Slater

Special Education Division, CDE

Bill Tollestrup

Elk Grove Unified School District

Dawn Walsh

RCOE

Linda Wyatt

Special Education Division, CDE

Introduction

Philosophy

We believe that the public school system must meet the comprehensive learning needs of each student to reach high expectations. Equity of access to quality public education is the right of every student and the responsibility of the State of California.

—California Department of Education,
January 18, 2008

According to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, “Real, measurable progress has been made since the institution of standards-based education. But, while improvement in our schools has been nearly universal, our across-the-board success has still failed to close an achievement gap that threatens the future of our diverse state. Recognizing this is important. Addressing it is imperative. Too often, the struggles of the African American student, the English learner, and the learning-disabled student were hidden by overall school achievement gains. That day is past. Today we are holding ourselves accountable for the results of all children. And when we see significant groups of students falling far short of the goal of proficiency that we hold for all students we must act. Today, equipped with specific knowledge of those gaps, we must focus as never before on solutions.”1

In California, Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) is a systematic, data-driven approach to instruction that benefits every student. California has expanded the notion of RtI2 to communicate the full spectrum of instruction, from general core to supplemental or intensive, to meet the academic and behavioral needs of students. RtI2 integrates resources from general education, categorical programs, and special education through a comprehensive system of core instruction and interventions to benefit every student.

Of the many solution strategies that have been employed nationwide, the RtI2 model is an approach that attempts to create the conditions necessary for closing the achievement gap. RtI2 focuses on the individual student and provides a vehicle to strengthen performance for struggling students before educational problems increase in intensity and special education seems the only viable option. Leadership is critical to the implementation of RtI2. To be effective, RtI2 must harness and coordinate the full resources of the school, district, and community. Administrators and their leadership teams, in collaboration with all teachers, have central roles in the planning, implementation, and successful day-to-day use of the RtI2 approach. Analyzing how students respond to instruction and interventions is an organizing principle for structures and programs that already exist in our schools. An education system implementing RtI2 promotes collaboration and shared responsibility for the learning of all students across all personnel and programs located in any given school.

RtI2 provides a vehicle to strengthen performance for struggling students before educational problems increase in intensity and special education seems the only viable option. Further, data gathered from RtI2 can be utilized in the identification process to determine if a student requires special education services.

Core Components

A cohesive RtI2 process integrates resources from general education, categorical programs, and special education into a comprehensive system of core instruction and interventions to benefit every student. The following core components are critical to the full implementation of a strong RtI2 process.

  1.   High-quality classroom instruction. Students receive high-quality and culturally relevant, standards-based instruction in their classroom setting by highly qualified teachers.

  2.   Research-based instruction. The instruction that is provided within the classroom is culturally responsive and has been demonstrated to be effective through scientific research.

  3.   Universal screening. School staff assesses all students to determine students’ needs. On the basis of collected data, school staff members determine which students require close progress monitoring, differentiated instruction, additional targeted assessment, a specific research-based intervention, or acceleration.

  4.   Continuous classroom progress monitoring. The classroom performance of all students is monitored continually within the classroom. In this way, teachers can identify those learners who need more depth and complexity in daily work and those who are not meeting benchmarks or other expected standards and adjust instruction accordingly.

  5.   Research-based interventions. When monitoring data indicate a student’s lack of progress, an appropriate research-based intervention is implemented. The interventions are designed to increase the intensity of the students’ instructional experience.

  6.   Progress monitoring during instruction and interventions. School staff members use progress monitoring data to determine the effectiveness of the acceleration or intervention and make any modifications, as needed. Carefully defined data are collected on a frequent basis to provide a cumulative record of the students’ progress, acceleration, and/or response to instruction and intervention.

  7.   Fidelity of program implementation. Student success in the RtI2 model requires fidelity of implementation in the delivery of content and instructional strategies specific to the learning and/or behavioral needs of the student.

  8.   Staff development and collaboration. All school staff members are trained in assessments, data analysis, programs, and research-based instructional practices and strategies. Site grade-level or interdisciplinary teams use a collaborative approach to analyze student data and work together in the development, implementation, and monitoring of the intervention process.

  9.   Parent involvement. The active participation of parents at all stages of the process is essential to improving the educational outcomes of their students. Parents are kept informed of the progress of their students in their native language or other mode of communication, and their input is valued in making appropriate decisions.

10.   Specific learning disability determination. The RtI2 approach may be one component of the process for determining a specific learning disability as addressed in the IDEA of 2004 statute and regulations. As part of determining eligibility, the data from the RtI2 process may be used to ensure that a student has received research-based instruction and interventions.


Foreword

The low achievement and graduation rates among identified minority groups and special education students and the disproportionate representation of minority groups in special education represent serious problems that must be solved if the promise of public education is to be fulfilled. Data analysis of overrepresentation and low achievement of students who constitute our most vulnerable populations resulted in significant educational reforms found in the 2004 authorization of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).

The change in IDEA allows school districts to analyze how students respond to interventions as a foundational piece for assisting at-risk students in general education settings before referrals for special education are made. All students who are having difficulty keeping up with the pace of curriculum demands can enjoy the benefits of RtI2. Moreover, analyzing how students respond to instruction and interventions is an organizing principle for structures and programs that already exist in our schools. These existing programs utilize personnel in specialized ways; allocating these highly trained personnel into other areas maximizes resources effectively. The following positive outcomes have been documented in settings that have used RtI2:

   A decrease in overrepresentation of African Americans and other minority groups in special education

   A positive school climate that promotes collegiality and shared problem solving

   Increased teacher retention

   The unification and consolidation of resources

   Improved test scores

I wish to express my thanks to the members of the California Department of Education’s RtI2 Technical Work Group. This group of educators from general and special education, community organizations, parents, and other stakeholders was convened in July 2007 and met intermittently over the course of a year. They were given the task of developing a framework for considering how RtI2 data may be used in California in the determination of a specific learning disability (SLD). This document represents the work of the group and is intended to provide technical assistance information to local educational agencies as they begin planning to implement RtI2.

 

Mary Hudler
Director, Special Education Division

 


Chapter 1
Response to Instruction and Intervention

Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) is a schoolwide process of early intervention and prevention of academic and behavioral difficulties. It is a process that utilizes all resources within a school in a collaborative manner to create a single, well-integrated system of instruction and interventions informed by student outcome data. Accountability for positive outcomes for all students is a shared responsibility of all staff members.

RtI2 is a multistep process of providing high-quality, research-based instruction and interventions at varying levels of intensity for students who struggle with learning and behavior. The interventions are matched to student need, and progress is closely monitored at each level of intervention to make decisions about further instruction or interventions or both.

RtI2 is used in schools in the following three ways:

  1.   Prevention. All students are screened to determine their level of performance in relation to grade-level benchmarks, standards, and potential indicators of academic and behavioral difficulties. Rather than wait for students to fail, schools provide research-based instruction within general education.

  2.   Intervention. Based on frequent progress monitoring, interventions are provided for general education students not progressing at a rate or level of achievement commensurate with their peers. These students are then selected to receive more intense interventions.

  3.   Component of specific learning disability (SLD) determination. The RtI2 approach can be one component of SLD determination as addressed in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 statute and regulations. The data from the RtI2 process may be used to demonstrate that a student has received research-based instruction and interventions as part of the eligibility determination process.

Implementation of RtI2

There are multiple ways to implement RtI2. While there is variability in a tiered system, RtI2 is generally viewed as a three-tier approach that uses research-based interventions. Instruction may be intensified based on individual student needs.

Figure 1 shows a commonly used tiered framework incorporating terminology used in program improvement efforts.

Pyramid graph of the three tiers of level of need for intervention.

Figure 1

Tier I. Benchmark: Screening and Targeted Instruction

In Tier I, the focus is on a core instructional program that uses a scientifically validated curriculum with all students in the general education classroom. During the course of instruction, the school uses universal screening measures to identify each student’s level of proficiency in key academic areas. The screening data are organized to enable the review of both group and individual performance on critical measures. Instruction is differentiated in response to this data for small groups and individual students. Students who continue to lag behind their peers despite the provision of targeted instruction may receive additional Tier I instruction or may be considered for more intensive interventions at Tier II.

Tier II. Strategic: Targeted Short-term Interventions

In Tier II, supplemental instruction is provided to those students who exhibit a poor response to the targeted instruction provided through Tier I. Tier II intervention is provided in addition to, and not in lieu of, core instruction and can be delivered through an individualized problem-solving approach and/or a standard treatment protocol. (Note: Schools in Program Improvement are required to follow California State Board of Education [SBE] approved intervention regulations.) (See Figure 1.)

A problem-solving approach allows school teams to design individualized interventions to address the specific needs of each student. A standard treatment protocol uses a set of research-based practices to provide interventions in a systematic manner with all participating students who have similar needs. Such interventions are generally highly structured and have a high probability of producing positive results for large numbers of students.

Tier II supplemental interventions may be discontinued for students who improve in critical academic/behavioral measures as a result of the intervention. Some students may exhibit progress but continue to need Tier II supplemental supports. Those students who fail to display meaningful progress in spite of supplemental supports are considered for more intensive interventions in Tier III.

Tier III. Intensive: Interventions with Increased Intensity

In Tier III, students receive a greater degree of intensive interventions. Modifications in frequency, duration, or teacher-student ratio or all three are strategies to increase intensity. SBE-approved intervention programs based on research may serve as the core curriculum for students in this intensive level of intervention at fourth grade and above. As in Tier II, interventions are provided flexibly depending on the school site resources and careful blending of all interventions.

Nonresponders

Students who do not respond to those targeted interventions are referred for a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility for special education and related services under the category of Specific Learning Disability (SLD). The student’s response to interventions, as reflected in the data collected during the RtI2 process, is reviewed as part of the eligibility determination.

Principles of RtI2

The common principles of RtI2 are as follows:

  1.   We can effectively teach all students. All RtI2 practices are based on the assumption and belief that all students can learn. It is then the responsibility of school staff to identify the most effective curricular, instructional, and environmental conditions that enable learning and to provide the necessary resources to enable each student to learn.

  2.   Use research-based, scientifically validated interventions/instruction. The requirement to use scientifically based curricula and interventions in No Child Left Behind ensures that students are exposed to curriculum and teaching that has the greatest degree of effectiveness.

  3.   Use assessment for three different purposes. In an RtI2 process, three types of assessments are used: (1) universal screening to determine which students need closer monitoring, differentiated instruction, or a specific intervention; (2) progress monitoring to determine if interventions are producing the desired results; and (3) diagnostic tests to determine what students can and cannot achieve in important academic areas.

  4.   Intervene early. It is best to intervene early when problems are relatively small and before students lag further behind their peers.

  5.   Use a multitier approach to intervention. To achieve high rates of success for all students, instruction should be differentiated in both nature and intensity. A tiered model of intervention is an effective way to differentiate instruction.

  6.   Monitor student progress to inform instruction. The use of assessments that can be collected frequently and provide information regarding progress is important to determine the effectiveness of instruction and intervention.

  7.   Use data to make decisions. A data-based decision regarding student response to intervention is central to RtI2 practices. Decisions in RtI2 practice are based on the collective judgment of staff and parents who are directly informed by student performance data. This principle requires both ongoing data collection systems to be in place and the data to be used for making informed instructional decisions.


Chapter 2
Components of RtI2

RtI2 begins with a tiered approach to quality research-based instruction and interventions implemented schoolwide. A unified approach to teaching the RtI2 process requires general educators and special educators, as well as other school personnel, to provide research-based interventions and differentiated instruction to those students who are performing below expected levels of achievement. The RtI2 approach to intervention requires school staff members to collaborate as a team to analyze data and target instruction based on student need.

An RtI2 approach, with its focus on student outcomes and quality instruction, increases accountability for all learners. Systemic change at the district, site, and classroom levels that impacts instruction, intervention, and identification is necessary due to the focus of RtI2 on prevention that begins in the general education classroom. A system implementing RtI2 promotes collaboration and shared responsibility for the learning of all students across all personnel and programs located in a given school (general education, teachers of English language learners, Title 1, special educators/related services providers, administrators, and parents).

Components of Organizational Change

Changing a school involves changes at the district level and the school site level.

District Leadership

Administrative support should accompany the implementation of an RtI2 approach. This support and commitment should be articulated to the staff along with financial resources necessary to provide:

   Training

   Data collection tools

   Materials

   Time for collaboration

Administrators should build awareness and understanding of the RtI2 process in their schools as well as ensure training that defines the RtI2 process, best practices for implementation, and the change in school culture necessary for success. Staff will understand how RtI2 relates to the mandates of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA).

Administrators should ensure frequent progress monitoring of student learning and behavior, which is central to a well-designed RtI2 process. Thus, it is essential to have a cost-effective and efficient data collection procedure that everyone can understand, access, and effectively use.

Administrators responsible for curriculum at the district level are ideally suited to work with staff members on the selection of research-based materials that need to be in place across all instructional programs. The California Department of Education (CDE) has a list of, scientific, research-based curricula adopted by the California State Board of Education (SBE) in the area of reading. Districts are mandated to use one or some of these published materials in their general education classrooms. Most, if not all, of these published reading programs have supplemental materials that may be used with students who are in need of additional support.

The district superintendent and school site administrators should provide guidance, adequate time, and support necessary to allow for ongoing collaborative teaming. This may involve a review of the caseload responsibilities for counselors, reading specialists, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, special educators, and paraeducators to accommodate their changing roles from individual instruction and evaluation to additional professional roles in collaboration, consultation, and modeling. Teams of educators and support staff (within and across grade levels) are responsible for reviewing student progress data and making recommendations for instructional practice.

School Site Leadership

The following core concepts of the RtI2 approach should be in place at the school site level in order for implementation to be successful:

   Implement scientific, research-based instruction and intervention.

   Conduct ongoing monitoring of progress that increases in frequency as students demonstrate greater educational need.

   Utilize data derived from multiple sources, including curriculum-based assessment, to inform instruction and intervention.

   Conduct staff development concerning the implementation of RtI2.

   Provide information to parents about the RtI2 process.

School site administrators provide leadership in all levels of the RtI2 process. They:

   Participate in and provide leadership to school site level teams within and across grade levels.

   Provide for the analysis of schoolwide and grade-level trends.

   Support the RtI2 approach in the school community and with parents.

   Provide support for assessment and instruction at all levels of intervention.

   Ensure the fidelity of instructional delivery through monitoring.

School site leadership teams:

   Examine schoolwide trends in behavior and academics that impact student growth.

   Develop a combined targeted intervention and problem-solving/decision-making process to address individual student needs.

   Support ongoing professional development.

   Provide a collaborative systemic approach for the analysis and use of student data.

   Provide a collaborative systemic approach to using scientific, research-based interventions found to be effective with students in the school.

Classroom teachers and support personnel will be part of grade-level teams that analyze:

   Progress-monitoring data to adjust instruction

   Instructional targets in the instructional planning process

   Data from shared assessments

   The fidelity of instructional implementation

   Individual student instructional needs, such as the need for more intensive instruction

All members of the school staff come together in an instructional delivery approach that uses data-based decision making through a problem-solving process involving school professionals and parents. This process involves supports for struggling students in the general education classroom first and careful analysis and communication of the data by the school site teams (within and across grade levels). Those teams will use data to make decisions about the application of interventions, including their intensity and duration across multiple tiers of intervention. All decisions are driven by data, including decisions such as effective instructional techniques, behavioral supports, appropriate early intervention services, use of research-based strategies, movement between tiers, and when to refer a student for additional assessment.

An example of a self-assessment tool is provided to assist schools and districts in determining their current status relative to implementation of a tiered RtI2 approach. (See Appendix A, Self-Assessment Tool.) This tool addresses the critical RtI2 components of student support and may be used to determine next steps in RtI2 implementation. It is important not only to gauge the current implementation status of each item, but also to determine its relative priority.

New and Expanding Roles

School personnel will play a number of important roles in using RtI2 to provide needed instruction to struggling students as well as assist in identifying students with learning disabilities. These new and expanding roles will require some fundamental changes in the way all educators engage in assessment and intervention activities. Titles may remain the same, but some roles will change in this unified system. Emerging roles may include data managers, team leaders, data specialists, diagnosticians, and intervention specialists. (Please see Appendix B for a more detailed description of the expanded roles.)

Administrators

It is essential to recognize the importance of leadership in effectively implementing the system changes that an RtI2 process requires. Administrators will have a critical role in the planning, implementation, and successful use of the RtI2 process. School site administrators will need to determine the necessary roles and competencies, existing skill levels, and professional development requirements at their sites in order to provide relevant and ongoing training activities and effectively implement RtI2.

Additionally, administrators will have to conduct a systematic assessment of the fidelity and integrity with which instruction and interventions are being provided. Working with educators, administrators will develop and utilize protocols for the assessment of fidelity and integrity of instruction and programs for individual students. Administrators will take responsibility for supporting ongoing professional development. The school site administrator assumes an active leadership role on the school site teams that review individual student progress and determine effective interventions. The administrator will ensure that adequate time is allocated for the planning, implementation, and review of the RtI2 process.

At the district level, superintendents and school boards should be supportive of the changes necessary to implement an RtI2 process. Effective RtI2 implementation will require financial and human resources that will support the professional development and staffing necessary for successful implementation.

Curriculum administrators at the district level can assist with the selection of scientific research-based instructional and intervention materials; develop district-level training for principals, educators, and support providers; and ensure the fidelity and integrity of instruction in the classroom.

General Education Teachers

Successful implementation of RtI2 depends on a unified approach to instruction  that is supported by everyone in the school. (As schools and districts create and implement RtI2 processes, general education teachers will be involved in supporting the learning of all students.) A key focus of support emphasizes prevention through early intervention. RtI2 increases opportunities for teacher collaboration with other members of the educational team and brings timely and relevant supports into classrooms.

General education teachers will work in site-level teams (within and across grade levels) to identify specific student needs using data to make informed decisions that guide instruction for each student. Those teams will use data in an ongoing process for strategic student intervention groupings. Academic and/or behavioral data, collected by grade-level teams, is analyzed throughout the RtI2 process to measure a pattern of response to high-quality interventions.

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers have unique skills that can be used to enhance the learning of all students. With an RtI2 approach, special educators will have increased opportunities to work with colleagues and students in many different settings. Special education teachers will work as members of site-level teams (within and across grade levels) to identify specific student needs by using data to make informed decisions that guide instruction for each student. Special education teachers will use their specialized knowledge to individualize instruction, build skills, and recommend programs that will meet the needs of individual students.

The student’s progression through interventions may suggest the need for more individualized instruction, behavioral intervention, and/or learning supports than are available in the general education curriculum/setting. Special education teachers will be part of a comprehensive evaluation team that gathers student data in order to determine eligibility for special education. Special education teachers working with students identified as having a learning disability and needing special education services will engage in ongoing assessment of those students in order to adjust instruction accordingly.

Reading Specialists/Coaches

Reading intervention specialists/coaches offer expertise at many levels of RtI2 implementation, from systemwide program design through specific assessment and intervention efforts with the individual student. As members of the collaborative team, reading specialists/coaches will play an integral role in the implementation of the schoolwide RtI2 process. Reading specialists/coaches will be part of intervention and evaluation teams through indirect as well as direct service delivery.

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can play a number of roles in an RtI2 process and provide needed supports to students in both general education and special education settings. The roles will require some fundamental changes in the way that SLPs engage in assessment and intervention activities. SLPs should expand their practice to incorporate prevention and identification of at-risk students who could benefit from speech and language-based interventions as part of the RtI2 process at the school.

SLPs have expertise specifically in normal, delayed, and disordered development of speech and language skills, which are key to academic and behavioral difficulties. RtI2 is specifically intended to assist students with academic challenges in literacy as well as behavioral difficulties. The SLP’s knowledge of literacy and language-based issues can provide needed and necessary assistance to struggling learners who require intervention but may not be disabled. In an RtI2 model, SLPs will provide both direct and indirect services to the school team and to students with those types of challenges.

By working both inside and outside the special education system, SLPs can contribute to the overall school program. Some SLPs are using the RtI2 process to provide speech-only interventions to students with single-sound articulation difficulties and to provide specific interventions to students in need of such services. More specifically, the SLP’s expertise will be most beneficial to schools and students in the areas of oral language development, academic literacy, and social skills training.

SLPs are qualified to contribute in a variety of ways in prereferral interventions, systemwide program design, assessment, intervention, collaboration with colleagues, and directed support of students. They offer expertise in the language basis of literacy and learning, experience with collaborative approaches to instruction/intervention, and an understanding of the use of student outcomes data when instructional decisions are made.

School Psychologists

School psychologists can offer expertise at many levels, from systemwide program design through specific assessment and intervention efforts with individual students.

School psychologists help develop, implement, and evaluate new models of service delivery.

School psychologists will support the implementation of evidence-based intervention strategies, progress-monitoring methods, problem-solving models, evaluation of instructional and program outcomes, and ecological assessment procedures, directly and indirectly. Their training in assessment is useful to the implementation of technically sound screening and progress-monitoring procedures and the appropriate use of such data. School psychologists also have knowledge regarding program evaluation and understanding of research methods, which will be useful in the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based interventions. Their knowledge of child development, behavior, and principles of learning, coupled with their consultation skills, enables them to be effective members of intervention teams.

In addition to working with other school personnel to consider programmatic options, they plan and conduct comprehensive evaluations to determine eligibility for special education services and the educational needs of the students they serve.

School Counselors

School counselors bring several important skills to the RtI2 process. They have a unique central position in the school in that they are involved with the whole school experience/environment. They are aware of the totality of programs and interventions in their school and have ongoing relationships with all the teachers, students, and parents on their caseloads.

The school counselor has skills in communication/consultation that are critical to an effective RtI2 process. They can act as catalysts to facilitate the RtI2 process. School counselors’ skills in collaboration, problem solving, and consultation will be needed to maintain focus on student needs and the development of effective interventions.

The school counselor’s knowledge of child development and the field’s emphasis on working with the whole child will be invaluable in developing research-based interventions in the area of social–emotional learning.

Paraeducators

Paraeducators play an important role in the delivery of interventions to students. As one of the providers of research-based interventions, paraeducators assist general and special educators in providing supplemental and specialized instruction to students. With direction and support from the schoolwide team effort, paraeducators work with students in small groups and, in some cases, one-on-one to provide research-based interventions and individualized instruction. They collaborate with other school personnel, such as general education teachers, in data collection and analysis. They perform classroom observations in order to provide relevant information regarding student performance and behavior. Paraeducators participate on school site teams that analyze academic and behavioral data and make decisions. Progress monitoring will measure patterns of response to interventions resulting in positive student outcomes.

Parents and Caregivers

Parent engagement is a key component of a strong RtI2 process. Active involvement of parents contributes greatly to improving student outcomes. Parents should be engaged in all aspects of RtI2. Schools need to inform parents in their native language and/or mode of communication of the RtI2 process and ensure that they understand how data will be gathered and used. Parents should be encouraged to actively participate in the RtI2 process and regularly informed of how their child is responding to interventions. Parents should also have an opportunity to make suggestions and receive access to written intervention plans with details about how the school is helping their student.

Professional Development

Effective implementation of an RtI2 process requires that professional development needs are examined so that administrators, teachers, support personnel, and paraeducators possess the requisite skills to implement effective RtI2. Successful implementation of RtI2 depends on the ability of all educators, including paraprofessionals and other specialists, to use RtI2 practices reliably and with fidelity. The reliability and validity with which RtI2 practices are implemented will be determined, to a great extent, by the quality of both the preservice and in-service professional development models used to translate research into effective practice. In-service professional development needs to occur both within and across administrative structures at the state, district, and site levels.

In a tiered intervention model, teachers should implement a wide variety of instructional strategies and conduct ongoing assessment of student progress as a part of their instructional practice. When an effective RtI2 program is implemented, professional development decisions should be linked to ongoing assessment and student need. Subsequent professional development should be geared toward meeting these identified needs. Teachers will be challenged to examine current practices, hone existing skills, and acquire new knowledge and skills to ensure high-quality targeted instruction. An emphasis on early intervention for preventing school failure is part of an RtI2 approach.

It is vital to offer continuing, job-embedded professional development that addresses relevant areas essential to effective implementation of RtI2 and improved student outcomes. Teachers should have opportunities to participate in focused, quality, ongoing professional development relating to RtI2 processes, procedures, and practices. Based upon identified need, key training issues should include:

   The effective use of screening tools to identify those students who may be at risk of learning difficulties

   Data analysis skills related to screening and placement

   Targeted instructional strategies related to data analysis

   Research-based instructional practices

   Differentiated instruction for a diverse classroom

   Ongoing curriculum-based data collection and analysis

   Evidence-based intervention strategies for both academic and behavior issues

   Progress-monitoring processes and procedures

   Problem-solving methods to facilitate instructional decisions based on data

   Professional collaboration skills

   Appropriate use of accommodations for students with disabilities

   Schoolwide and individual behavior management and intervention strategies

   Intensive intervention program training

   Standards-based Individualized Education Program (IEP) implementation

   Effective inclusion of students with disabilities in a tiered intervention model

All teachers and specialists involved in providing instruction to students should have the opportunity to participate in ongoing, job-embedded professional development that will support effective research-based instruction with the RtI2 approach. The California Legislature has created funding for teachers and instructional aides or paraprofessionals teaching math and reading or directly assisting with instruction in math or reading to receive intensive training on the use of the SBE-approved core curriculum (EC 99230 et seq.). Special education teachers and paraprofessionals who provide instructional support to students in the core curriculum should also be included in this training along with their general education colleagues. All educators should be trained in the district-adopted intervention program in order to effectively meet the needs of students in the tiered intervention model.

Conclusion

Effective RtI2 implementation is based on the belief that everyone is responsible for student learning. The instructional activities, assessment, data gathering and analysis, documentation, and collaboration required for RtI2 implementation will create new challenges for all education professionals. All educators will need to compile relevant assessment data through continuous progress monitoring and respond appropriately to the findings. School site teams will design, interpret, and assess data as well as suggest instructional approaches. By providing more intensive interventions, educators will utilize a variety of scientific, research-based methods and materials. Administrators will determine needed roles and competencies, existing skill levels, and professional development requirements in order to provide relevant and ongoing training activities in these critical areas.


Chapter 3

Use of RtI2 Data in the SLD Eligibility Process

The results of collaboration between education professionals through the schoolwide RtI2 process can be useful in the determination of special education eligibility under the category of specific learning disability (SLD). Students identified as eligible for special education continue to be a schoolwide shared responsibility. The definition of an SLD, and the requirements for eligibility as defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, can be found in Appendix C. The regulations themselves are not presented in this section. It is worthwhile to review the elements of the eligibility criteria as set out in Section 300.309 of the IDEA regulations (34 Code of Federal Regulations 300.309).

There are three subclauses in 34 CFR 300.309. The (a) clause:

    (1) addresses low achievement;

    (2) addresses using either (i) a response to intervention approach or (ii) a pattern of strengths and weaknesses approach to further suggest the possible presence of a specific learning disability; and

    (3) addresses the exclusionary clause (that findings under (a)(1) and (a)(2) are not the primary result of a variety of other issues).

The (b) clause addresses the need to ensure that the student has had appropriate instruction (this in addition to exclusionary clause) and that progress during instruction has been documented and provided to the child’s parents.

The (c) clause states that if the requirements of (a) and (b) are met or the child is referred for an evaluation, then the public agency must promptly request parental consent to evaluate the child to see if he or she qualifies as a student with an SLD and needs special education. Therefore, if a student met the criteria in 34 CFR 300.309 (a) and (b), the need for a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility would be established.

An RtI2 process may yield information in the following five key areas:

   Low achievement

   Lack of progress

   Role of exclusionary factors

   Determination that the student has received appropriate instruction

   Need for special education and related services

In addition, a district should also include insight into individual performance through formative measures, curriculum-based measures, teacher observations, and parent reports.

This section expands on those areas and provides information as to what data might be generated through an RtI2 process that may be helpful in addressing each of those areas.

It is important to clarify that this section does not address the entire process for identifying a student as qualifying for special education services under the eligibility category of SLD. Meeting the criteria outlined in 34 CFR 300.309 requires a comprehensive evaluation and consideration of special education eligibility. The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) remarked in comments accompanying the regulations in Section 300.304 that the public agency may not use any single procedure as the sole criterion for determining whether a child is a child with a disability.

In addition, USDOE Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) states in its presentation, “Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004”, that a comprehensive evaluation for identifying an SLD must:

   Not be replaced by an RtI2 process.

   Use a variety of data-gathering tools and strategies even if RtI2 is used.

   May include the results of RtI2 as one component of the information reviewed.

   Not rely on a single procedure as the sole criterion for determining eligibility.

Those statements from the USDOE, OSEP, reinforce the requirement of a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether a student is eligible for special education services under the category of SLD. Guidelines regarding a comprehensive evaluation refer to all students suspected of qualifying for special education services and are contained in 34 CFR 300.304 and Section 1414 of the Act. This section of the report addresses how information from an RtI2 process can be a useful component of the comprehensive evaluation.

Parental involvement is essential throughout the RtI2 and eligibility determination process. Such involvement includes not only seeking information from parents in regard to their student’s strengths and weaknesses, but also involving parents in the intervention process.


Five Key Areas in the Identification Process

Key Area #1: Low Achievement

All students are expected to meet age- or grade-level standards. Lack of achievement or low achievement is often the first indicator of possible learning difficulties. Data gathered through the RtI2 process can assist in determining if these difficulties are due to the presence of an SLD. Benchmark assessment data are typically collected several times each year. Progress-monitoring data are collected more frequently. Both types can be used to inform the eligibility decision. Students with an SLD typically fail to meet specific academic targets.

Students with SLDs will not have the expected response to targeted interventions. Thus, they fail to make significant improvement when provided with appropriate intervention and will continue to demonstrate low achievement at the conclusion of intervention periods. The progress-monitoring data collected during the RtI2 process will assist in identifying the overall effectiveness of the intervention for each student. General outcome and mastery measures will show low achievement for a student with an SLD when he/she is compared with his/her peers. These measures should substantiate that the skill level of the student suspected of having an SLD does not support the student’s ability to acquire and/or demonstrate age/grade-level appropriate standards-based skills in one or more of the areas listed in 34 CFR 300.309(a)(1).

It is recommended that evidence of low achievement be obtained by examining several sources. For example, performance on the California Standards Test (CST) below the basic level could be one indicator of lack of achievement. Use of locally normed measures as well as nationally normed achievement measures may also be considered in determining low achievement.


Key Area #2: Lack of Progress

Progress Monitoring in RTI2 Processes

One of the most important contributions of RtI2 is providing information regarding a student’s ongoing academic progress toward specific targeted skills. With an RtI2 approach, all students’ progress is monitored regularly and some students more frequently. The data generated by progress monitoring are useful for determining whether a given instructional intervention and strategy is successful with a given population or a particular student. The data can guide decisions not only about instructional practices, but also about eligibility for special education.

Progress-Monitoring Frequency

Benchmark assessments are administered to all students on a regular basis. These data allow a school to determine if its curriculum and instruction are effective for most students and to set benchmarks of expected progress. These assessments provide a means of selecting students at risk of academic failure by identifying those who are achieving below their peers or who are not meeting predetermined benchmarks.

Students who are identified through a regular screening process and provided with an intervention are monitored more frequently than students who are progressing adequately within the general education curriculum. The rate of progress monitoring will depend on the level of intervention. General recommendations are as follows:

   For students who receive additional support at Tier I, their progress should be monitored one to two times per month.

   For students who receive more intense services such as the supplemental support services provided at Tier II, weekly progress monitoring is more appropriate.

   For students who receive Tier III services, twice a week may be an appropriate level of progress monitoring.

Monitoring of groups of students who are receiving an intervention provides information on the effectiveness of a given intervention for a particular group of students. For individual students, it provides a measure of the effectiveness of an intervention.

Comparing Student Progress

Progress-monitoring data from an RtI2 approach yield at least three sets of data: rate of growth for the average student who does not need intervention services; rate of growth for the average student receiving an intervention (whether Tier I, II, or III); and rate of growth for the student in question. Those three sets of data allow the multidisciplinary team to determine first whether the instruction (whole class or grade) or intervention (small group) is successful for the struggling student’s peers. If the rate of growth for those students who do not receive an intervention, or the small group of students who receive an intervention, is less than expected, then the team must question whether the target student’s poor growth rate is a function of a learning disability or is due to a mismatch between the curricula and the needs of the students. Thus, group data, whether whole school or intervention group, provide a baseline against which an individual student’s progress can be compared.

Evaluating Individual Student Progress

A target student’s rate of growth can also be compared to other measures in addition to that of his or her peers. For example, rate of growth can be analyzed to determine if a student will reach a predetermined goal if he or she continues to achieve at the same rate of growth. There are also national norms for expected rate of growth in a variety of fluency measures commonly used for progress monitoring, such as letter naming, phonemic segmentation and passage reading. These can be used to set a target growth rate.

Measures for Progress Monitoring

There are two primary types of measures commonly used in progress monitoring: mastery and general outcome.

Mastery measures. These assessments are often embedded in the curriculum and are designed to assess how well a student has mastered a particular portion of the curriculum. These types of measures, which target a particular skill (learning short vowels, learning single-digit addition), are frequently referred to as mastery measures because they are designed to determine whether a student has sufficiently mastered a given segment of the curriculum and is ready to learn a new skill. They are also useful for teachers to determine which skills a student or group of students is lacking. Thus, a teacher is able to use the information from these assessments to differentiate instruction in order to more adequately meet the needs of his or her students. Mastery measurements may also be assessments that are not embedded in the curriculum but are designed by teachers or others in order to assess certain skills.

General outcome measures. In contrast to mastery measures that focus on one or two particular skills, general outcome measures comprise all the skills a student is expected to know by the end of the year. In essence, they are designed for repeated sampling of the same task. For example, a general outcome measure in math would include problems from the entire year’s curriculum. In reading, text passages of equal difficulty or word lists that included all the types of words to be learned would be used for assessment. Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is a form of general outcome measure that is commonly used in RtI2 approaches. In addition to focusing on the entire year’s curriculum, CBM measures also stress fluency. They are measures of short duration that can be administered quickly and easily. Perhaps the most familiar form of CBM is the use of short reading passages to assess how many words a student can read in one minute. Because these measures are not tied to a particular curriculum or intervention, they can be used across interventions to determine if a student makes more progress with one intervention versus another. In addition, they are quick and easy to administer and can be administered as often as needed. These data can be displayed graphically, are easily compared to those of other students, and are easy for parents and teachers to understand.

Benchmark assessments. Benchmark assessments can be used to determine if a student is on target to meet grade-level standards.

Using the Data in Decision Making

With an RTI2 process, progress-monitoring data can help to answer the following questions:

   Is the general education curriculum effective for most students?

   Which of the students are not responding sufficiently to the general education curriculum?

   Is targeted intervention effective for most students (or a particular student’s peers)?

   Has a particular student made sufficient progress when provided with a range of interventions directed toward targeted skills?

All of these questions are relevant in considering whether a student is eligible for special education services as a student with an SLD.

Additional Requirements

Parental involvement. 34 CFR 300.309(b)(2) states that there must  be documentation of regular progress monitoring that is shared with parents.

Dual discrepancy. Progress-monitoring data provide two important sources of information to consider when a teacher determines whether a student needs more intensive services. First, it provides information as to the rate of growth a student is achieving in response to an intervention. Second, it provides a level of achievement to measure that student’s current status. A student may need more intensive services if he or she is both well below peers and not sufficiently responding to the current level of intervention.

Following are some useful resources and materials for learning more about progress monitoring:

   CBM and NCLB http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/SASA/aypstr/index.html

   Training materials/probes www.interventioncentral.org

   CBM Web site List http://www.luc.edu/schools/education/c487/lap/velde.htm

   University of Oregon – Dibels http://dibels.uorgon.edu and www.idea.uoregon.edu

   Florida Project http://sss.usf.edu/cbm/cbm.htm

   Excellent general site www.studentprogress.org

   The ABCs of CBM by Hosp, Hosp, and Howell (2007)

   NASDSE publication on RtI2 www.nasdse.org

   Training site for progress monitoring http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/onlinemodules.html

   DIBELS at [email protected]


Key Area #3: Role of Exclusionary Factors

A number of exclusionary factors must also be considered when a determination of an SLD is made. Learning difficulties or lack of progress may not primarily be the result of a visual, hearing, or motor disability; mental retardation; emotional disturbance; cultural factors; environmental or economic disadvantage; or limited-English proficiency (34 CFR 300.309[a][3]). Thus, the presence of one or more of those factors may account for low or underachievement rather than a learning disability. RtI2 data are particularly useful in addressing some of these factors, including cultural factors, environmental/economic disadvantage, and limited English proficiency.

Appropriate instruction for students from diverse backgrounds must also be culturally responsive. Culturally responsive instruction is a key element for student success. Ideally, the intervention should provide data substantiating its effectiveness with culturally diverse, limited-English proficient, and/or environmentally/economically disadvantaged students. Alternatively, local data could be gathered to determine the effectiveness of intervention programs and strategies for an identified group of students.

The target student’s progress-monitoring data can be compared to that of similar students or to predetermined targets when provided with interventions that have been shown to be effective with culturally diverse, limited-English proficient, and/or environmentally/economically disadvantaged students. Data may reveal that students with SLDs fail to achieve at the same rate and/or level as their peers.

A comprehensive evaluation that includes data from other sources will also be necessary to assist in determining the presence of exclusionary factors.


Key Area #4: Appropriate Instruction

IDEA 2004 echoes the emphasis in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that all students should be provided with research-based curriculum. In 34 CFR 300.309(b), the law requires the group making the eligibility determination to consider whether a student has received  appropriate instruction by qualified personnel and documentation of student progress during instruction. A foundation of an RtI2 approach is the provision of research-based curricula provided by trained personnel. 

In making a determination of eligibility under paragraph (4)(A), a child shall not be determined to be a child with a disability if the determinant factor for such determination is--(A) lack of appropriate instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction (as defined in Section 1208(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965); (B) lack of instruction in math; or (C) limited English proficiency. (20 U.S.C. 1414[b][5]).

Progress-Monitoring Data

Progress-monitoring data allow a school or district to determine if a curriculum is appropriate for its population. It is expected that most students will learn when provided with the general education curriculum as verified by progress-monitoring data. Similarly, progress-monitoring data obtained during targeted intervention will reflect the effectiveness of the intervention for students with similar needs. As noted previously in “Key Area #2: Lack of Progress,” if an intervention is ineffective for most students, then the source of difficulty may be the intervention strategy or a system or implementation issue rather than learning problems inherent in the target student.

Intervention Fidelity

In addition to progress-monitoring data that will verify the effectiveness of instruction and intervention, most RtI2 approaches suggest that it is important to ensure intervention fidelity. Mechanisms need to be in place to ensure that a research-based intervention is being administered as intended. Regularly scheduled intervention fidelity monitoring can include intervention-specific checklists, self-reports, classroom observations, and observations that are components of the research-based intervention.

Documentation

Equally important is documentation that the intervention was administered for an appropriate duration (an appropriate amount of instructional minutes was provided) and that the student was present for the intervention.


Key Area #5: Need for Special Education

According to 34 CFR 300.101(c), each state must ensure that a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) is available to any individual child with a disability who needs special education and related services even though the child has not failed or been retained in a course or grade and is advancing from grade to grade.

Progress-monitoring data collected during the RtI2 process can assist in determining if the student requires special education services. A student may be in need of special education services if the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team determines one or more of the following:

  1.   Lack of progress evident across multiple interventions applied with increasing levels of intensity. This may be indicated if the student:

  a.   Fails to make progress or makes only minimal progress toward age- or grade-level standards

  b.   Fails to show progress despite appropriate intervention

  c.   Requires highly specialized or more intensive services to make progress

  2.   A student requires resources or supports that are generally not available in the general education environment in order to support or sustain progress.

  3.   Observations of student performance in the general education environment may indicate the need for special education services. Students in need of special education services will have difficulty demonstrating the academic skills necessary for success in the general education environment. These students will need a significant level of support to participate in age- or grade-level curriculum.

 


This self-assessment tool is intended to assist schools/districts in determining their current status relative to implementation of a tiered Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtI2) approach in order to improve educational outcomes for all students. This tool addresses the critical components in an RtI2 approach of student support and may be used to determine next steps in RtI2 implementation. It is important not only to gauge the current implementation status of each item, but to also determine its relative priority.

 

 

Current level of implementation:

1= None
2= Some or beginning stages
3= Most or advanced stages
4= All or completed

Priority level

1= No
2= Medium
3= High

Comments:

What does that mean for your school?

What resources are required to achieve this?

General Education Curriculum

 

 

 

All teachers are effectively trained in the curriculum standards for the grade level and content area in which they teach. (Senate Bill 472 training)

 

 

 

State curriculum standards are implemented as designed in each content area.

 

 

 

All teachers are effectively trained in the utilization of intervention components and instructional strategies of the core curriculum.

 

 

 

Teachers have a thorough understanding and knowledge of the principles and strategies of differentiated instruction.

 

 

 

Instruction is differentiated by content, process, product, and learning environment on a consistent and ongoing basis.

 

 

 

Schoolwide universal screening is conducted for all students (i.e., current curriculum entry-level assessments and/or screening tools).

 

 

 

Grade-level teams of teachers have been established to use data to plan instruction, strategically group students for targeted instruction, and make educational decisions.

 

 

 

Teachers effectively utilize collaboration time to analyze curriculum-based data and adapt instruction.

 

 

 

A process is in place to ensure the curriculum is implemented with integrity and fidelity.

 

 

 

Progress Monitoring

 

 

 

Curriculum-based assessment/measurement (CBA/M) is used frequently to assess student progress.

 

 

 

Teachers are trained in the use of CBA/M to evaluate student learning.

 

 

 

Teachers have CBA/M tools available to them in their content area and at the appropriate grade level.

 

 

 

Teachers understand how to analyze, chart, and interpret data.

 

 

 

Teachers utilize data from ongoing CBA/M to make instructional decisions on a daily or weekly basis.

 

 

 

Teachers increase the frequency of progress monitoring as students receive more intensive instruction.

 

 

 

Research-Based Strategies

 

 

 

All teachers are effectively trained in multiple research-based intervention strategies and demonstrate the ability to implement them in the classroom.

 

 

 

All teachers implement research-based intervention strategies in their classroom with integrity and fidelity.

 

 

 

A process is in place to ensure research-based intervention strategies are implemented with integrity and fidelity.

 

 

 

Standard Protocol Interventions

 

 

 

The school has in place standard protocol interventions designed to address common and/or frequent learning or behavior problems.

 

 

 

Grade-level teams utilize the standard protocol to provide interventions based on student needs and on the data.

 

 

 

Flexible scheduling for students and staff is utilized to enable student access to standard protocols.

 

 

 

Job responsibilities have been restructured to enable student access to appropriate interventions.

 

 

 

Grade-level teams utilize a targeted intervention approach to address individual student needs.

 

 

 

School site uses specific criteria and data to optimize decisions about movement through the tiers.

 

 

 

Teachers understand criteria and site-level processes for identifying students for more intense instructional support and intervention.

 

 

 

Site Level Administrative Factors

 

 

 

Site level administrators inform all stakeholders and staff, including parents, in the beginning of the school year about the role and benefits of RtI2.

 

 

 

The school schedule is designed to provide for flexibility and restructuring of resources to meet student needs.

 

 

 

Resources and training are provided to implement an effective RtI2 approach.

 

 

 

Various strategies including walk-throughs, extended observations, teacher conferences, lesson plan evaluations, and others, are used to monitor implementation of research-based strategies.

 

 

 

A variety of resources are identified and provided to address deficit areas in curriculum, behavior management, and instructional strategies.

 

 

 

Teachers are provided with time and incentives for collaboration, professional growth, and staff development.

 

 

 

Partnerships are formed with local organizations (colleges, retired teacher associations, senior groups) for programs that directly affect teacher training and student performance.

 

 

 

School and class data are utilized to determine areas of need for support and professional development.

 

 

 

Adequate and appropriate resources to address identified needs are provided to the staff.

 

 

 

Administrators examine professional development needs teachers, related services personnel possess the requisite skills, instructional skills, and maintain and use data to support instructional decisions. (SB 472 training)

 

 

 

Funding and support is available for ongoing professional development to support RtI2 to include follow-up job-embedded training for extended period of time.

 

 

 

Regularly scheduled meetings are available for grade-level teams to review student progress and determine area of need.

 

 

 

Parental Involvement

 

 

 

Staff members utilize parent interviews, questionnaires, student records, previous teachers, and all other available resources to learn about students and the factors that may contribute to their learning and/or behavior problems.

 

 

 

Staff members utilize understanding of cultural differences to form relationships with parents and students and guide instruction.

 

 

 

Parents are notified and regularly informed of student progress, specific skills addressed, and interventions to be provided to their student using graphic representation.

 

 

 

School staff members serve as liaisons to parents by helping them understand the RtI2 approach and the impact on their student.

 

 

 

School staff members consider native language, mode of communication, and cultural sensitivity when informing families.

 

 

 

Source: W. N. Bender and C. Shores, Response to Intervention: A Practical Guide for Every Teacher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2007.

 

 


Appendix B
Changing Roles in an RtI2 Process

Instituting RtI2 means schoolwide changes have to be made. The leadership must be ready to take new roles.

Role of Site Administrators

The school principal’s support of the district initiative to implement RtI2 is essential. At the school site level, collaboration with all staff members (general education, categorical programs, special education, and support staff) is essential. This collaboration will lead to the development of:

   Professional development activities that meet the needs of teachers, specialists and paraprofessionals (beliefs, attitudes and knowledge, and skill)

   Universal screening and frequent progress monitoring of specific skills necessary for student success

   School site teams (within and across grade levels) to address student needs

   A commitment to fidelity of instruction using research-based materials

   A process to allocate staff resources to meet student needs

   Integrity of the tiered process

   Management of and access to the data collection process

Additionally, administrators will have to conduct a systematic assessment of the fidelity and integrity with which instruction and interventions are being conducted. Working with educators, administrators should develop and utilize protocols for the assessment of fidelity and integrity of instruction and programs for individual students. Administrators should take responsibility for supporting ongoing professional development. The school site administrator assumes an active leadership role on the school site teams reviewing individual student progress and determining effective interventions. The administrator should ensure that adequate time is allocated for the planning, implementation, and review of RtI2 process.

Role of General Educators

As the primary providers of core instruction, general educators will:

   Deliver quality standards-based instruction with fidelity to all students.

   Engage in ongoing collaboration to address small-group and individual student needs.

   Collaborate with other school personnel in data collection and analysis.

   Participate in regularly scheduled progress-monitoring meetings.

   Communicate and collaborate with parents by helping them understand the new approach and how it impacts their students.

   Ensure that parent participation is integrated into each tier of intervention and subsequent evaluation.

   Provide Tier I and Tier II intervention for at-risk students at their grade level, effectively utilizing core curriculum components and research-based supplemental materials based on identified student needs.

   Participate on school site teams (within and across grade levels) to analyze data and target instruction.

   Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of the principles and strategies of differentiated instruction.

   Utilize instructional strategies to teach content that is pertinent, relevant, and meaningful.

   Compile relevant assessment data through continual progress monitoring and respond appropriately to the findings.

Role of Special Educators

As a provider of supplemental and specialized instruction that supports standards-based instruction, special educators will:

   Deliver quality standards-based instruction with fidelity to students.

   Engage in ongoing collaboration to address small-group and individual student needs.

   Collaborate with other school personnel in data collection and analysis.

   Participate in regularly scheduled progress-monitoring meetings.

   Communicate and collaborate with parents by helping them understand the new approach and how it impacts their students.

   Ensure that parent participation is integrated into each tier of intervention and subsequent evaluation.

   Provide Tier I and Tier II consultation and intervention for at-risk students, effectively utilizing core curriculum components and research-based supplemental materials based on identified student needs if the school has a School-Based Coordination Program with an approved school site plan.

   Participate on school site teams (within and across grade levels) to analyze data and target instruction.

   Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of the principles and strategies of differentiated instruction.

   Utilize instructional strategies to teach pertinent, relevant, and meaningful content.

   Compile relevant assessment data through continual progress monitoring and respond appropriately to the findings.

Role of Speech-Language Pathologists

In addition to providing services to students with speech and language impairments, speech-language pathologists will:

   Describe the role that language plays in curriculum, assessments, and instruction.

   Define the connection between oral and written language.

   Identify and analyze evidence-based research and interventions.

   Assist school site teams in understanding typical language development.

   Conduct training sessions on the relationship of language to learning.

   Collaborate with school site teams on language screening, focusing on language-related issues involved in learning, literacy, and intervention implementation.

   Interpret and explain screening and intervention results to families.

   Participate in progress monitoring and analysis of student outcomes.

   Identify, use, and disseminate evidence-based practices for speech and language strategies used as RtI2 interventions at all tiers.

Role of School Psychologists

School psychologists can offer expertise at many levels, from systemwide program design through specific assessment and intervention efforts with the individual students.

School psychologists help develop, implement, and evaluate new approaches to service delivery. School psychologists will:

   Identify and analyze existing literature on problem solving and RtI2 in order to determine relevant and effective approaches for the school district.

   Work with teams to identify stakeholders and key leaders to facilitate system change.

   Conduct needs assessments to identify potential obstacles, concerns, and initial training needs.

   Plan and conduct necessary staff training (on research-based instructional interventions and how to evaluate student progress)

   Develop local norms for academic achievement (curriculum-based measures and other measures of student progress) and monitor the reliability and validity of these norms over time.

   Implement and evaluate RtI2 practices.

School psychologists will seek ways to improve skills in evidence-based intervention strategies, progress-monitoring methods, designing problem-solving models, evaluating instructional and program outcomes, and conducting ecological assessment procedures.

The expertise and support of school psychologists will be needed in the effective implementation of the tiered RtI2 interventions. School psychologists work with other school personnel to consider programmatic options, planning and conducting comprehensive evaluations to determine eligibility for special education services and the educational needs of the students they serve. School psychologists will also:

   Assist teachers with evidence-based instruction, behavioral interventions, screening of literacy skills, and criteria for evaluating academic progress.

   Participate on district curriculum committees to identify curricula and programs that adhere to research-based recommendations.

   Consult with teachers regarding the phases of instruction (planning, managing, delivering, and evaluating).

   Consult with administrators regarding the assessment system and valid data collection using tools that yield reliable and valid data.

   Assist in analyzing data and interpreting scores.

   Collaborate with educators to design and implement effective, research-based strategies.

   Share knowledge about various assessment systems and approaches.

   Consult with educators and conduct assessments to identify the area in which small-group academic interventions should occur and how to interpret the data.

   Assist in monitoring students who do not adequately respond to interventions.

Role of Paraeducators

Paraeducators will:

   Provide researched-based interventions and assist in the provision of supplemental and specialized instruction to students.

   Deliver quality standards-based instruction with fidelity to all students.

   Engage in ongoing collaboration to address small-group and individual student needs.

   Work with students in small groups and in some cases, one-on-one, to provide research-based intervention and individualized instruction.

   Collaborate with other school personnel in data collection and analysis.

   Perform classroom observations in order to provide relevant information regarding student performance and behavior.

   Participate in regularly scheduled progress-monitoring meetings.

   Assist in analyzing academic and behavioral data and participate in the decision-making process.

Role of Reading Specialist/Coach

Reading specialists/coaches will:

   Select, design, implement, and interpret whole-school screening programs and dynamic assessments that provide early intervention services for all students considered to be at risk and to identify “false positives,” those not truly at risk.

   Design instructional assessment models at all tier levels.

   Monitor instructional effectiveness at all tier levels.

   Design and implement a process for progress monitoring, data collection, and data analysis.

   Consult with parents to foster carryover and reinforcement of skills in the home.

   Collaborate with general educators, school psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other service providers in the implementation of RtI2 approaches.

   Consult with content area teachers about their role in literacy development, such as the integration of strategies specific to phonics, morphology, vocabulary, and comprehension development into their classrooms.

   Support colleagues through mentoring and close collaboration to provide consistency in reinforcing skills.

   Engage in ongoing collaboration to address small-group and individual student needs.

   Participate in regularly scheduled progress monitoring meetings.

   Provide consultation and intervention for at-risk students effectively utilizing core curriculum components and research-based supplemental materials based on identified student needs.

   Participate on school site teams (within and across grade levels) to analyze data and target instruction.

   Compile relevant assessment data through continual progress monitoring and respond appropriately to the findings.

Role of Parents and Families

As an RtI2 approach is implemented, procedures must guarantee that parents and families are informed and involved when students are first identified for intervention. Schools will also use a variety of ways to keep parents engaged and informed. Schools should:

   Seek parental involvement in the RtI2 implementation plans.

   Invite parental participation on school site teams as a collaborative partner.

   Advise the best method for parents to obtain relevant information about the school or their child.

   Distribute written material informing parents of their right to refer their student at any time for special education evaluation, as stipulated in IDEA 2004.

   Ensure that parents understand their rights and the educational rights of their student.

   Provide written material that outlines the role of RtI2 data in making SLD determinations.

   Help parents understanding the data and how they are used in instructional planning and interventions.


Appendix C
Summary of the IDEA Regulations for Identifying Students with Specific Learning Disabilities

Prior to the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004, a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement in one or more of the areas of oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematics calculation, and mathematics reasoning was required in order for a student to be identified as having a specific learning disability (SLD).

IDEA 2004 and its implementing regulations provide new criteria in determining whether a student is eligible for special education and related services as a student with a specific learning disability. The following is a summary of the process of identification and evaluation from the IDEA regulations.

Definition of a Specific Learning Disability

The definition of an SLD remains unchanged from the previous versions of the law and regulations. The definition is contained in 20 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1401(30) and Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 300.8(c)(10)(i)(ii) and states:

(i) Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. (ii) Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Although the definition remains the same, the process used to identify and evaluate students suspected of having an SLD has changed significantly.

Significant Change to the Identification of an SLD

IDEA 2004 made a significant change regarding the discrepancy model:

(A) Notwithstanding section 1406 (b), when determining whether a child has a
specific learning disability as defined in section 1401, a public educational agency shall not be required to take into consideration whether a child has a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in oral expression,
listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation, or mathematical reasoning. (B) In determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, a local educational agency may use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as a part of the evaluation procedures described in paragraphs (2) and (3). (20 U.S.C. §1414 [b][6]).

The regulations went further by allowing that states “may permit the use of other alternative research-based procedures for determining whether a student has a specific learning disability as defined in Section 300.8(c)(10)” (34 CFR 300.307[a][3]).

The eligibility criteria adopted by a state should be used by all local educational agencies in that state. The regulations do not specify the exact criteria for determining eligibility for SLDs using RtI2 and leave it up to the states to determine.

Membership of the Eligibility Group

The group that determines whether a student meets the eligibility criteria for a specific learning disability must consist of the student’s parent and a team of qualified professionals. The group also must include:

   The student’s regular education teacher; or

   If the student does not have a regular education teacher, a regular education classroom teacher qualified to teach a student of his or her age; or

   For a student of less than school age, an individual qualified by the state educational agency to teach a student of his or her age; and

   At least one person qualified to conduct individual diagnostic examinations of students, such as a school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, or remedial reading teacher.

A local educational agency may include other individuals beyond the above-required members to assist in making the eligibility determination.

Determination of a Specific Learning Disability

The group must follow several steps to establish whether a student has an SLD.

Required Component: Determination of Lack of Achievement

First, the group must determine if the child does not achieve adequately for his or her age or meets state-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the following areas, when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the child's age or state-approved grade-level standards:

   Oral expression

   Listening comprehension

   Written expression

   Basic reading skill

   Reading fluency skills

   Reading comprehension

   Mathematics calculation

   Mathematics problem solving

Second, if the group determines that a student does not achieve adequately in one or more of the eight areas listed, the group must then determine whether (1) the student does not make sufficient progress when using an RtI2 process; or (2) the student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses that is relevant to the identification of an SLD. This second step in the eligibility determination process is discussed below (34 CFR § 300.309 [a][2][i-ii]).

Required Component: Determination of Lack of Progress Using RtI2

The group may determine that a student does not make sufficient progress to meet age-or the state’s grade-level standards in one or more of the eight identified areas above when using a process based on the student’s response to scientific, research-based intervention. (Guidelines to assist the group in making the determination are found in Chapter 3.)

Required Component: Determination of a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses

As an alternative to a determination of lack of sufficient progress using RtI2, the group may conclude that a student may have an SLD by examining whether he/she exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, compared to age- or grade-level standards, or intellectual development that is determined by the group to be relevant to the identification of an SLD using appropriate assessments.

In determining whether a pattern of strengths or weaknesses exists, the team may choose to examine profiles across or within standardized achievement tests and tests of intellectual development. These patterns of strengths or weaknesses are sometimes referred to as intra-individual differences or variability and may be relevant to the identification of an SLD.

Required Component: Determination of the Role of Exclusionary Factors

Finally, once a group has determined that (1) a student does not achieve adequately for his or her age; and (2) the student does not make sufficient progress using the RTI2 process, or the student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, the team must determine that its findings regarding (1) and (2) are not primarily the result of:

   A visual, hearing, or motor disability

   Mental retardation

   Emotional disturbance

   Cultural factors

   Environmental or economic disadvantage

   Limited-English proficiency

Required Component: Determination of Whether a Student Received Appropriate Instruction

To ensure that underachievement in a student suspected of having an SLD is not due to a lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math, the group must consider documentation that demonstrates that prior to, or as part of, the referral process, the student was provided with appropriate instruction in regular education settings delivered by qualified personnel.  The group must also consider data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student progress during instruction, which was provided to the student’s parents.

Required Component: Observation

To document the student’s academic performance and behavior in the areas of difficulty, the public educational agency must ensure that the student is observed in his or her learning environment, including the regular education classroom setting. The group may fulfill this requirement by reviewing information from an observation in routine classroom instruction and monitoring of the child’s performance that was conducted before the student was referred for an evaluation, or may have at least one member of the group conduct an observation of the student’s academic performance in the regular education classroom after he or she has been referred for an evaluation and the parent’s consent has been obtained.

If the student is less than school age or out of school, a group member must observe the student in an environment appropriate to his or her age.

Required Component: Specific Documentation of the Determination of Eligibility

Upon review of all of the information gathered in the evaluation process, the group must then develop written documentation of the determination of eligibility that includes a statement of:

   Whether the student has an SLD and the basis for that determination, including an assurance that the determination has been made in accordance with 34 CFR § 300.306(c)(1)

   The relevant behaviors, if any, noted during the observation of the student and the relationship of that behavior to the student’s academic functioning

   Any educationally relevant medical findings

In an RtI2 process, the group must document:

   The instructional strategies used and the student data collected

   That the student’s parents were notified about:

  1.   The state’s policies regarding the amount and nature of student performance data that would be collected and the general education services that would be provided

  2.   Strategies for increasing the student’s rate of learning

  3.   Their right to request an evaluation of their child

Each group member must certify in writing whether the report reflects the member’s conclusion. If not, the member must submit a separate statement presenting his or her conclusions.

Required Component: Other Considerations

The public agency must promptly request parental consent to evaluate the student as to whether the student needs special education and related services. There are two conditions for a request: (1) whenever a student is referred for an evaluation; and (2) if, prior to a referral, the student has not made adequate progress after an appropriate period of time when provided appropriate instruction. The public educational agency must adhere to the time frames for an evaluation, unless it is extended by mutual written agreement of the student’s parents and a group of qualified professionals evaluating the student. The requirements for the determination of eligibility for SLDs are in addition to, and not in place of, all other IDEA requirements relating to evaluations and eligibility. Other considerations include the requirement to:

   Use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information.

   Refrain from use of any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for determining whether a student is a student with a disability.

   Use technically sound instruments that may assess the relative contributions of cognitive and behavioral factors in addition to physical and developmental factors.

 



1Jack O’Connell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, “State of Education Address.” Address given before educational leaders, Sacramento, California, February 6, 2007.

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التعلم القائم على المخرجات يركز على تعلم الطالب خلال استخدام عبارات نواتج التعلم التي تصف ما هو متوقع من المتعلم معرفته، وفهمه، والقدرة على أدائه بعد الانتهاء من موقف تعليمي، وتقديم أنشطة التعلم التي تساعد الطالب على اكتساب تلك النواتج، وتقويم مدى اكتساب الطالب لتلك النواتج من خلال استخدام محكات تقويم محدودة.

ما هي مخرجات التعلم؟

عبارات تبرز ما سيعرفه الطالب أو يكون قادراً على أدائه نتيجة للتعليم أو التعلم أو كليهما معاً في نهاية فترة زمنية محددة (مقرر – برنامج – مهمة معينة – ورشة عمل – تدريب ميداني) وأحياناً تسمى أهداف التعلم)

خصائص مخرجات التعلم

أن تكون واضحة ومحددة بدقة. يمكن ملاحظتها وقياسها. تركز على سلوك المتعلم وليس على نشاط التعلم. متكاملة وقابلة للتطوير والتحويل. تمثيل مدى واسعا من المعارف والمهارات المعرفية والمهارات العامة.

 

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