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Generalization of RtI Procedures to Written Language


Merilee McCurdy, Ph.D. University of Nebraska - Lincoln Description From Program As schools begin to implement RtI procedures, it is important to realize that RtI ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Generalization of RtI Procedures to Written Language

  • Generalization of RtI Procedures to Written
  • Merilee McCurdy, Ph.D.
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Description From Program
  • As schools begin to implement RtI procedures, it
    is important to realize that RtI procedures can
    be used with all academic areas, including
    writing and mathematics. This presentation will
    review writing assessment issues such as norming
    writing skills, universal screening procedures,
    and progress monitoring techniques. In addition,
    writing interventions that can be used within RtI
    frameworks will be identified for each writing
    skills area.

Research in Reading
  • To date, much of the literature and research in
    RtI has been done in the area of reading.
  • Why?
  • Research has shown that those children who become
    adults with low levels of literacy are at a
    disadvantage in a society that has high demands
    for effective literacy skills in the work place.
  • Torgeson, J.K. (2000)
  • There has not been a significant change in the
    reading performance of students from 1992 to 2005
    (National Center for Educational Statistics,
  • A 1997 study documented that at least 20 of the
    population in the United States had reading
    difficulties (Lyon Moats, 1997).

RtI and Reading
  • Research has focused efforts on understanding
    reading deficits and identifying effective
    reading programs or interventions.
  • This concentration of RtI procedures in the area
    of reading has been appropriate as the field
    seeks to understand and develop initial RtI
  • Unfortunately, this intense focus has not been
    similar in other academic areas, especially for
    written language.

The Significance of Writing
  • Writing has become the neglected element of
    school reform (National Commission on Writing,
  • The Commission asserts that students must
    struggle with details, wrestle with facts, and
    reword raw information and dimly understood
    concepts into language they can communicate to
    someone else.
  • In short, students must write if they are to
  • The National Commission on Writing. (2003).
    The neglected R The need for a writing

The Significance of Writing
  • The National Commission on Writing for Americas
    Families, Schools, and Colleges (2004) described
    writing as a threshold skill for employment and
    promotion and indicated that people who cannot
    write well are less likely to be hired, retained,
    and/or promoted.
  • National Commission on Writing for Americas
    Families, Schools, and Colleges. (2004). Writing
    A ticket to workor a ticket out. NY The
    College Board
  • Writing skills are often needed for demonstrating
    learning (e.g., responding to exam items) and
    communicating across a variety of employment

The Significance of WritingPercentage of
students, by writing achievement level, grades 4,
8, and 12 1998 and 2002
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RtI and Writing
  • Schools appear to be having difficulty preparing
    students to meet societys demands in the area of
  • The RtI process can assist with
  • Identifying students who are at-risk in the area
    of writing
  • Providing or developing intensive interventions
    in the area of writing
  • Monitoring weekly progress of student progress
  • Using data to make decisions regarding students
    needs following a predetermined length of

RtI and Writing
  • In many ways, RtI procedures developed for the
    area of reading can be easily generalized to
  • However, due to the lack of research on written
    language, many questions remain.

  • Questions regarding RtI and writing assessment
  • How much writing time is needed for a valid
    evaluation of writing?
  • Is writing performance stable across assessments?
  • How can story organization and story development
    be evaluated using CBA techniques?
  • Which variables should be used for initial
    decision making?
  • Which variables should be used for ongoing
    decision making?
  • Are some assessment variables useful
    independently or in a combination with others?
  • What type of writing prompts should be used?

  • Questions regarding RtI and writing
  • How are Tier 1 services evaluated?
  • What are empirically based interventions for
  • Can interventions be delivered in small groups?
  • How much intervention time is required to observe
  • Which variables are more reliable and valid for
    progress monitoring?
  • What gains should be expected?
  • How can students be motivated to write?

RtI Writing Team Lincoln Public Schools
  • What we have achieved so far.
  • Established an RtI Writing Team (2004)
  • Collected normative data
  • Grades K-2 (2005-2006)
  • Grades 3-5 (2006-2007)
  • Initiated small pilot studies

RtI Writing Team Lincoln Public Schools
  • Future Plans.
  • 2007-08
  • Pilot K-5 writing procedures
  • Small pilots at high school and middle schools to
    determine normative data collection procedures
  • Evaluate research based interventions
  • Train others to score writing probes (reliably)
  • 2008-2009
  • Implement RTI writing district-wide at elementary
  • Begin norming at middle schools
  • others will score if meet criteria for training
  • 2009-2010
  • ?????

Core Components for Quality RtI Implementation
  • School-wide buy-in and implementation plan
  • Team Leadership
  • Integration of Services
  • Implementation Infrastructure
  • Parent Involvement
  • Universal Screening and Assessment
  • Individual Progress Monitoring
  • Planned Service Delivery Decision Rules
  • Scientifically Supported Instruction
  • Intervention Delivery
  • SLD Verification

  • Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM)
  • Content of the assessments are based on the
    instructional curriculum.
  • Measures are presented in a standardized format.
  • Material for assessment is controlled for
    difficulty by grade levels.
  • Measures are generally brief.
  • Shapiro (2004)
  • Development of Norms
  • Universal Screening
  • Progress Monitoring

General Assessment Procedures for Writing
  • The student is given a story starter in the
    form of a starting sentence or partial sentence
  • Provides the student with an idea to write about
  • The student is asked to think about their story
    for one minute and to write for three minutes
  • At the end of the writing period, the examiner
    collects the students writing

Differences between Reading and Writing CBM
  • Reading
  • Takes one minute
  • Administered individually
  • Must be scored concurrently with performance
  • Writing
  • Takes four minutes
  • Can be administered in groups
  • Permanent products allow for later scoring

Other data to consider
  • Classroom writing products
  • Classroom writing assessments/rubrics
  • Statewide writing assessments
  • Reading performance
  • Motivation!

Development of Norms
  • LPS Normative Procedures
  • N250 per grade randomly selected by district
  • One story starter administered at fall, winter,
    spring (different starter each period)
  • Same starter used with each grade (1st/2nd)
  • Kindergarten
  • Letter writing (fall and winter)
  • Story starter in spring
  • Used a scoring team to increase reliability

TLW Total Letters Written TWW Total Words
Written CWS Correct Writing Sequences CMIWS Correc
t minus Incorrect Writing Sequences CWS Percent
Correct Writing Sequences
Universal Screening
  • The practice of assessing all students to
  • those who are not making academic or behavioral
  • progress at expected rates.
  • National Association of State Directors of
    Special Education, Inc. (2005)
  • A classroom-wide, school-wide, or district-wide
    assessment used to identify students who are at
    risk for academic failure or behavioral
    difficulties and could potentially benefit from
    specific instruction or intervention.
  • A critical prerequisite to providing early
    school-based prevention and intervention services
    for students at risk for or with academic,
    behavioral, or emotional difficulties.
  • Glover Albers (2007)

Universal Screening
  • Assessments are in place that provide teachers
    with information about the progress of all
    students to determine which students need closer
    monitoring, additional intervention, and/or
    adjusted learning opportunities
  • Norms are necessary to (1) identify students who
    need additional supports, (2) develop growth
    expectations, and (3) set entrance and exit
  • Develop norming procedures based on school

Universal Screening
  • Scoring It doesnt take that long!
  • Requires between 22 and 31 seconds to score TWW
  • Requires between 25 and 37 seconds to score WSC
  • Requires between 57 and 151 seconds to score CWS
  • If all three scores are used, it takes between 1
    ½ minutes and 2 ½ minutes to score one writing
  • Gansle, Noell, VanDerHeyden, Naquin, Slider,
  • Malecki Jewell, 2003

Difficulties regarding RtI Writing and Universal
  • Several components of writing to consider
  • Spelling
  • Grammatical usage
  • Mechanics of writing
  • Numerous variables to consider!!
  • It has not yet been determined which variables
  • are most sensitive to change over time
  • are most valid and reliable for a given grade

Writing Variables
  • Production independent
  • Correct Writing Sequences
  • Correctly Spelled Words
  • Mean Length of Correct Writing Sequences
  • Production-dependent
  • Correctly Written Words
  • Total Words Written
  • Correct Writing Sequences
  • Mature Words
  • Letter Sequences Correct
  • Total Words Spelled Correctly

A measure of both fluency and accuracy Correct
Minus Incorrect Writing Sequences (CMIWS), an
accurate-production measure
How to set growth expectations?
  • Low and variable levels of growth on many
  • From AIMSweb norms

Data represent growth across entire normative
Progress Monitoring
  • The practice of assessing students to determine
    if academic or behavioral interventions are
    producing desired effects.
  • National Association of State Directors of
    Special Education, Inc. (2005)
  • Provides critical information about student
    progress that is used to ensure the use of
    effective educational practices and to verify
    that students are progressing at an adequate
  • Assessments are in place that provide teachers
    with information about which students are
    benefiting from intervention and which need
    additional supports.

Progress Monitoring Procedures
  • 1. Based upon the norms you have decided to use
    and each students screening results, set a goal
    for each student.
  • This goal should reflect an average gain per week
    as determined by the normative data.
  • 2. Once the students intervention has begun,
    monitor the students progress at least once per
    week. For writing, may want to include more than
    1 writing sample.
  • 3. Graph the students scores on a chart.

Progress Monitoring Procedures
  • 4. Review the chart weekly to determine whether
    progress is being made.
  • 5. After the student has been in an intervention
    for a specified amount of time
  • Look at the level and the rate of progress
  • Determine whether the goal was attained
  • Plan for next steps
  • These are general RtI procedures and should be
    the same for regardless of academic area!!

The Complexity of WritingSample Student Data
Further Complexity of Writing
Advantages of Writing Variables
  • Although numerous variables add to the complexity
    of assessment, they aid in identifying specific
  • Awareness of specific difficulties further
    assists in developing/identifying interventions
    for the next phase of intervention (if necessary)

Scientifically Supported Instruction
  • Core instruction and interventions have been
    validated through scientific research
  • Must demonstrate that districts have a process
    for identifying interventions with scientific
    evidence of effectiveness.

Do Not Forget Tier 1
  • Tier 1 must be evaluated to examine effectiveness
    of curriculum for most students. This can be
    accomplished through universal screening.
  • When teachers use a scientifically supported
    curriculum and appropriate instructional
    practices, they are preventing many problems from
  • Nebraska Department of Education Technical
    Assistance Document (2006)

Interventions in RtI
  • Basic Message
  • Intervention delivery for writing is very similar
    to reading procedures.
  • However

What makes a good Writer?
  • Writing extends beyond mastering grammar,
    punctuation and the ability to identify parts of
  • Writing is best understood as a complex
    intellectual activity.
  • It requires students to stretch their minds,
    sharpen their analytical capabilities, and make
    accurate and valid distinctions. (National
    Commission on Writing)
  • Writing is a way for students to demonstrate what
    they know AND a way to help them understand what
    they know.

Areas for Intervention
  • Three primary writing stages
  • Prewriting
  • Planning
  • Story Development
  • Idea Development
  • Writing
  • Story Organization
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Fluency
  • Post Writing
  • Editing/Revising

Challenges to improving students writing
  • Time for writing in and out of the classroom
  • Assessment or measurement of progress and results
  • Integrating technology into the teaching and
    learning of writing
  • Support for teaching and other classroom issues
  • The National Commission on Writing. (2003).
    The Neglected R The need for a writing

Characteristics of Strong Writing Instruction
  • Writing Strategies - involves teaching students
    strategies for planning, revising, and editing
    their compositions
  • Summarization - involves explicitly and
    systematically teaching students how to summarize
  • Collaborative Writing - uses instructional
    arrangements in which adolescents work together
    to plan, draft, revise, and edit their
  • Specific Product Goals - assigns students
    specific, reachable goals for the writing they
    are to complete.
  • Word Processing - uses computers and word
    processors as instructional supports for writing
  • Sentence Combining - involves teaching students
    to construct more complex, sophisticated
  • Prewriting - engages students in activities
    designed to help them generate or organize ideas
    for their composition.
  • Inquiry Activities - engages students in
    analyzing immediate, concrete data to help them
    develop ideas and content for a particular
    writing task.
  • Process Writing Approach - interweaves a number
    of writing instructional activities in a workshop
    environment that stresses extended writing
    opportunities, writing for authentic audiences,
    personalized instruction, and cycles of writing.

Effect Size above .50
Tier 2 and 3 Instruction Identifying Target
  • Generate hypotheses based on accuracy or fluency
  • Questions to ask when identifying target skill
  • Does the student have letter identification and
    letter formation skills?
  • Can the student produce legible text?
  • Did the student use the planning time?
  • Does the student produce an adequate amount of
  • Does the student produce a grammatically correct
  • Does the student understand story organization?
  • Could motivation be impacting performance?

Classwide Fluency Strategies
  • Classwide and individual performance feedback
    strategies are very successful at increasing
    student writing production.
  • Students must practice writing to improve writing

Building Effective Interventions
  • Writing Program composed of
  • Direct Instruction
  • Goal Setting
  • Writing Practice
  • Feedback
  • Individual Feedback
  • Charting
  • Rewards
  • McCurdy, M., Skinner, C. H., Watson, T. S.,
    Shriver, M. D. (accepted). Examining the effects
    of group contingencies on the writing performance
    of middle school students with learning
    disabilities in writing. School Psychology

Evaluating Published Programs
  • Examine for
  • Technical Adequacy
  • Research Support
  • Grade appropriateness/match to need
  • Relationship to 6 Traits of Writing
  • Price

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Intervention Resources
  • Strategic Instruction Model (SIM)
  • Center for Research on Learning
  • http//
  • National Center on Accelerating Student Learning
  • http//
  • Mnemonics for Planning and Editing
  • Cognitive Strategy Instruction Dr. Bob Reid
  • http//

Intervention Delivery Resources!
  • Interventions can be delivered in small groups
  • Behavior management procedures will be necessary
  • Motivation and engagement is a concern
  • Consider and evaluate comprehensive reading
  • These programs may also impact writing
  • May serve as the first supplementary intervention
  • Must monitor for improvement or lack of

LPS Goals of Pilot Year (2007-2008)
  • Identify any modifications to district RtI
  • Identify appropriate assessment variables for
    progress monitoring and decision making
  • Incorporate district assessment data into
    decision making structure
  • Establish structured decision making criteria for
    measuring adequate progress or referral to
    special education
  • Locally validate multiple interventions for use
    with writing concerns
  • Prepare for the future
  • Norming at upper levels (3, 5, or 10 minute
    writing times?)
  • Procedures at upper levels
  • Interventions for writing skills in the upper

  • Daly, E., Glover, T., McCurdy, M. (2006).
    Response to intervention Technical assistance
    document. Lincoln, Nebraska Nebraska Department
    of Education.
  • Gansle, K. A., Noell, G. H., VanDerHeyden, A. M.,
    Naquin, G. M., Slider, N. J. (2002). Moving
    beyond total words written The reliability,
    criterion validity, and time cost of alternative
    measures for curriculum-based measurement in
    writing. School Psychology Review, 31, 477- 497.
  • Glover, T. A., Albers, C. A. (2007).
    Considerations for evaluating universal screening
    assessments.  Journal of School Psychology, 45,
  • Graham, S., Perin, D. (2007). Writing next
    Effective strategies to improve writing of
    adolescents in middle and high schools - A
    report to Carnegie Corporation of New York.
    Washington, DC Alliance for Excellent Education.
  • Lyon, G.R. Moats, L.C. (1997). Critical
    conceptual and methodological considerations in
    reading intervention research. Journal of
    Learning Disabilities, 6, 578-588.

  • Malecki, C. K., Jewell, J. (2003).
    Developmental, gender, and practical
    considerations in scoring curriculum-based
    measurement writing probes. Psychology in the
    Schools, 40, 379-390.
  • McCurdy, M., Skinner, C. H., Watson, T. S.,
    Shriver, M. D. (accepted). Examining the effects
    of group contingencies on the writing performance
    of middle school students with learning
    disabilities in writing. School Psychology
  • National Association of State Directors of
    Special Education, Inc. (2005). Response to
    intervention Policy considerations and
    implementation. NASDE.
  • National Center for Educational Statistics.
    (2003). NAEP 2002 writing report card for the
    nation and the states (Report NCES 1999-462).
    Washington, DC Office of Educational Research
    and Improvement.
  • National Commission on Writing for Americas
    Families, Schools, and Colleges. (2004). Writing
    A ticket to workor a ticket out. NY The
    College Entrance Examination Board

  • National Commission on Writing in Americas
    Schools and Colleges. (2003). The neglected R
    The need for a writing revolution. NY The
    College Entrance Examination Board.
  • Shapiro, E. S. (2004). Academic skills problems
    Direct assessment and intervention (3rd ed.). NY
    The Guilford Press.
  • Torgesen, J.K. (2000). Individual differences in
    response to early interventions in reading The
    lingering problem of treatment resisters.
    Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 15,

Contact Information
  • Merilee McCurdy, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Professor of School Psychology
  • Licensed Psychologist
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • 234 Teachers College Hall
  • Lincoln, NE 68588-0345