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Linking Early Intervening Services and Responsiveness to Intervention with Specific Learning Disabilities Determination


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Title: Linking Early Intervening Services and Responsiveness to Intervention with Specific Learning Disabilities Determination

Linking Early Intervening Services and
Responsiveness to Intervention with Specific
Learning Disabilities Determination
  • Daryl Mellard
  • National Research Center on
  • Learning Disabilities (NRCLD)
  • A collaboration of Vanderbilt University
  • and the University of Kansas
  • Funded by U.S. Department of Education
  • Office of Special Education Programs
  • Renée Bradley, Project Officer - Award No.
  • December 1, 2005

Presentation Topics
  • Overview of NRCLD Activities
  • Early Intervening Services (EIS) Defined
  • Responsiveness to Intervention (RTI) Defined
  • Implementation in local sites Praise and
  • Next steps Where to begin with EIS and RTI

NRCLD Project Staff
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Doug Fuchs, Co-Director Principal Investigator
  • Dan Reschly, Co-Director Principal Investigator
  • Lynn Fuchs, Principal Investigator
  • Don Compton, Principal Investigator
  • Joan Bryant, Project Coordinator
  • University of Kansas
  • Don Deshler, Co-Director Principal
  • Daryl Mellard, Principal Investigator
  • Sonja de Boer, Project Coordinator
  • Julie Tollefson, Dissemination Coordinator
  • Melinda McKnight, Research Assistant
  • Barb Starrett, Research Assistant
  • Evelyn Johnson, Consultant
  • Sara Byrd, Consultant

Can NRCLD Help?
  • Purposes of NRCLD
  • To understand how alternative approaches to
    disability identification affect who is
  • To investigate state and local identification
    policies and practices and specific learning
    disabilities (SLD) prevalence
  • To provide technical assistance and conduct
    dissemination to enhance state and local practice
    in identification
  • To identify sites that effectively use RTI as a
    method of prevention and a tool for
    identificationan activity conducted with the
    Regional Resource Centers

EIS and IDEA Reauthorization (P.L. 108-446)
  • New language in IDEA
  • A local educational agency (LEA) may not use
    more than 15 of the amount such agency receives
    under this part (Part B)
  • to develop and implement coordinated, early
    intervening services
  • for students in kindergarten through grade 12
    (with particular emphasis on students in
    kindergarten through grade 3) who do not meet the
    definition of a child with a disability
  • but who need additional academic and behavioral
    support to succeed in a general education

  • Sec. 613(f)(1)

EIS and IDEA Reauthorization (P.L. 108-446)
  • EIS Activities
  • The funds are intended to build school staff
    capacity for delivering scientifically-based
    academic and behavioral interventions including
    scientifically-based literacy instruction and,
    providing educational and behavioral
    evaluations, services, and supports, including
    scientifically-based literacy instruction.
  • Sec.

EIS and IDEA Reauthorization (P.L. 108-446)
  • EIS and Disproportionality
  • The State, or the Secretary of the Interior, as
    the case may be, shall require any LEA
    identified under paragraph (1) to reserve the
    maximum amount of funds under section 613(f) to
    provide comprehensive coordinated EIS to serve
    children in the LEA, particularly children in
    those groups that were significantly

  • Sec. 618(d)(2)(B)

Five Programmatic Components of EIS
  • Professional development
  • Delivering scientifically-based instruction
    Monitoring progress
  • Fidelity of implementation
  • Evaluations/Screening of children

Professional Development
  • Delivering EIS requires that staff have knowledge
    and the necessary skills for some new knowledge
    and skills.
  • The result is that professional development must
    be planned in such a manner that as new staff
    enter an LEA, they can be successfully integrated
    into the current procedures and practices.
  • Professional development must be continuing.

Screening of Children
  • A requisite of early intervention (IDEA 2004 Part
    B vs C) is knowing for which students EIS is
  • LEAs will need to have accurate assessments of
    students progress and a decision rule on which
    to judge eligibility.
  • Considerations
  • Screening results will need to have sufficient
    detail to enable staff to identify academic
    areas needing intervention.
  • Additional assessment that targets more specific
    skills than what is found on a class-wide
    screening measure will be helpful for those
    students judged eligible.

Monitoring Progress
  • Once students begin to receive EIS, staff need an
    objective basis for judging the students
    progress in relation to their peers or a
    criterion for performance.
  • Considerations
  • Collect data weekly or biweekly
  • Students progress data should drive the
  • Specifying appropriate content for CBM
  • Professional development for beliefs (personal
    theory) and understanding usage

Delivering Scientifically-Based Instruction
  • The IDEA provision is very clear that EIS
    interventions must be those interventions that
    have demonstrated efficacy scientific-based
  • These interventions are not the home-grown
    variety that combine elements from what staff
    members believe will work.
  • For details, visit What Works Clearinghouse at

Fidelity of Implementation
  • The expectation is that the intervention is
    delivered with fidelity (integrity) that is, as
    intended, with accuracy and consistency.
  • Ensuring that staff have received proper
    instruction about the intervention and have a
    means to verify that the intervention is used and
    receive corrective feedback.
  • Considerations
  • What measures to use?
  • How often?
  • By whom?
  • How are the results used?

SLD Determination and IDEA 2004 (P.L. 108-446)
  • New language in the law
  • 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.
  • Sec. 614(b)6B
  • In the special education research literature, the
    process mentioned in this language is generally
    considered as referring to responsiveness to
    intervention (RTI).

Why RTI?
  • RTI can be one component of SLD determination
  • Provides appropriate learning experiences for all
  • Uses school-wide progress monitoring to assess
    entire class progress and individual student
  • Promotes early identification of students at risk
    for academic failure
  • Involves multiple performance measures rather
    than measurement at a single point in time

Research Identifies Critical Elements of RTI
  • Two goals prevent future academic problems and
    assist in identifying students with SLD
  • Implementation of a scientifically-based,
    differentiated curriculum with different
    instructional methods
  • Two or more tiers of increasingly intense
    scientific, research-based interventions
  • Intensity addressed through duration, frequency
    and time of interventions, group size, and
    instructor skill level
  • Individual problem solving model or standardized
    intervention protocol for intervention tiers
  • Explicit decision rules for assessing learners
    progress (e.g., level and/or rate)

What Does RTI Implementation Look Like?
  • Students receive high-quality, research-based
    instruction by qualified staff in their general
    education setting (Tier 1)
  • General education instructors and staff assume
    an active role in students assessment in that
  • School staff conduct universal screening of
    (a) academics, and (b) behavior (gt 1/yr)
  • School staff implement specific, research-based
    interventions to address the students
    difficulties (Tier 2)

What Does RTI Implementation Look Like?
  • School staff conducts continuous progress
    monitoring of student performance (e.g., weekly
    or biweekly) for Tier 2 and 3 interventions, less
    frequently in general education
  • School staff use progress monitoring data and
    explicit decision rules to determine
    interventions effectiveness and needed
  • Systematic assessment is made of the fidelity or
    integrity with which instruction and
    interventions are implemented
  • Referral for comprehensive evaluation FAPE due
    process protections

Tier 2 for instructional intensity
  • Small Groups (11, 13, 15, 110)
  • 10-12 wks, 3-4x per wk, 30-60 min per session
  • Scripted, specific intervention
  • Point system for motivation
  • Immediate corrective feedback
  • Mastery of content before moving on
  • More time on difficult activities
  • More opportunities to respond
  • Fewer transitions
  • Setting goals and self monitoring

EIS / RTI Identification Process
RTI Tier 1 80 of students
EIS 80 Decision Rule
EIS 20 Decision Rule
Adapted from Tigard-Tualatin School District,
OR Sadler Zinn (2005)
RTI Tier 2 15 of students
RTI Tier 3 5 of students
EIS Revise/ Individualize Instruction Rule
Effective Behavior Instructional Support (EBIS)
Structure Example
Tigard-Tualatin School District, OR Sadler Zinn
Current Status RTI site selection process
  • Began spring, 2002
  • Recruited/self-selected through collaborative
    activity with six regional resource centers
  • Focus on k-5 grades reading skills historical
  • Initial pool of 41 school nominations
  • Blind review of applications paper-only
  • 19 sites targeted for closer study
  • Staff of 14 sites attended two-day session
    (building level administrators)

RTI Features of Focus
  1. School-wide screening (measures, frequency, cut
  2. Tiered levels of reading intervention
  3. Progress monitoring/tiers (measures, frequency)
  4. Delineation of cut scores for responsiveness
  5. Use of student data in decision-making
  6. Substantiated learner outcomes (school wide)

Site common characteristics
  1. Multiple year investment
  2. Were not there yet.
  3. Student-level problem-solving framework
  4. Not standard intervention protocols in Tier 2
  5. Parental notification procedures and engagement

RTI Core Feature Tier 1 in reading
  • Programs implemented a recognized reading program
    as a basal series
  • Open Court series used most frequently
  • Supplemented the core curriculum
  • Target specific skills (e.g., phonemic awareness)
  • External staff (e.g., para-professionals,

Troubling Concerns
  1. Confusion of distinguishing screening and
    progress monitoring
  2. Lack of scientific basis in Tier 2 intervention
    (e.g., more of the same)
  3. Limited rule based decision-making (e.g.,
    flexible cut scores)
  4. Frequency of progress monitoring data collection
  5. (Consistent) data informs decisions but other
    factors have stronger influence
  6. Performance level dominates not slope (rate)
  7. Lack of fidelity measures in the individual or
    small group interventions

Enabling features with greatest consistency (rank
  1. Commitment to the view of using student level
  2. Administrative leadership
  3. Professional development
  4. Strong Tier 1 reading intervention
  5. Reading screening measures

EIS and RTI Coordination with SLD
  • What should be considered when designing an
    EIS/RTI system?
  • Focus Positive behavior support and academics
  • Procedures for parental involvement
  • School-wide screening (measures, frequency, cut
  • Tiered levels of intervention
  • Progress monitoring/tiers (measures, frequency)
  • Delineation of cut scores for responsiveness
  • Use of student data in decision-making
  • Substantiated learner outcomes (school wide)

Thank you!
SEA Staffs Mark your calendar for April 19 -
21 National Conference on EIS, RTI, SLD
Determination Goal Helping SEAs with
Implementation Kansas City, MO
Check our website
Symposium on RTI (December 2003)
  • Symposium papers, PowerPoint presentations, and
    video highlights are available on our website
  • How should screening for secondary intervention
  • How should secondary intervention be formulated?
  • What are the feasibility and consequences of RTI?
  • How should unresponsiveness to secondary
    intervention be operationalized in an RTI
    approach to learning disabilities (LD)
  • How many tiers are needed within RTI to achieve
    acceptable prevention outcomes and patterns of LD
  • What are alternative models to LD identification
    other than RTI?