How RTI can Serve English Language Learners Sylvia Linan-Thompson Alba A. Ortiz The University of Texas at Austin - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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How RTI can Serve English Language Learners Sylvia Linan-Thompson Alba A. Ortiz The University of Texas at Austin


How RTI can Serve English Language Learners Sylvia Linan-Thompson Alba A. Ortiz The University of Texas at Austin RTI Summit December 6, 2007 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How RTI can Serve English Language Learners Sylvia Linan-Thompson Alba A. Ortiz The University of Texas at Austin

How RTI can Serve English Language
LearnersSylvia Linan-ThompsonAlba A.
OrtizThe University of Texas at Austin
  • RTI Summit
  • December 6, 2007

Issues Associated with the Education of ELLs
  • Low academic achievement
  • Lower expectations for performance
  • Low level ability groups/tracks
  • High rates of social promotion and/or retention
  • High drop out rates
  • Disproportionate special education representation

ELLs with Reading-related LD
  • An IQ-achievement discrepancy was the basis for
    classifying ELLs as having learning disabilities,
    even when
  • The discrepancy was barely significant in one
    area and all other scores were at/above grade
    level or consistent with IQ
  • Assessment results were inconsistent with the
    concerns reported by the referring teacher.
  • (Wilkinson, Ortiz, Robertson, Kushner, 2006)

ELLs with LD
  • Multidisciplinary teams failed to provide
    assurances under the exclusionary clause that
    problems could not be attributed to such factors
    as lack of access to effective reading
    instruction .
  • There was limited or no documentation of early
    intervention efforts to address reading
    difficulties or of the results of these efforts.
  • Interventions reported were often not specific
    to identified difficulties.
  • .(Wilkinson, Ortiz, Robertson, Kushner, 2006)

ELLs with LD
  • How can RTI help address these issues?

  • Response to intervention (RTI) is the degree to
    which a student who has been identified as
    at-risk for academic or behavior problems by
    screening measures has benefited from
    intervention designed to reduce risk.
  • Determining RTI requires
  • Assessing students to determine risk
  • Providing intervention
  • On-going progress monitoring to ascertain response

Multi-tiered Model
  • Tier 1 High quality instructional and behavioral
    supports to prevent the development of difficulty
  • Tier 2 Specialized intervention for students
    behind peers to minimize problems early
  • Tier 3 Comprehensive evaluation and specialized
    services with intensive intervention to treat
    problems aggressively and constrain negative

NJCLD (2005) DLD (2007)
A Model for Multi-tiered Academic Intervention
Tier 1
Core Reading Instruction
Supplemental Reading Instruction
Tier 2
Tier 3
Intensive Reading Instruction
Multi-tier Model
  • Uses instructional procedures that are responsive
    to students needs
  • Collects data on student performance
  • Establishes procedures and criteria for providing
    Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction

Why are tiered models used for academic
  • Allow for use of a range of programs
  • Allow for integration of services (e.g., Title I,
    general education, special education)
  • Allow for early intervention
  • Allow for practices related to Response to

  • Prerequisites to the Success
  • of RTI for ELLs

PREVENTION Create an environment that reflects
a philosophy that all students can learn and
that educators are responsible for seeing to it
that they do.
  • Strong leadership by the principal
  • High expectations for all students
  • A safe and orderly school environment
  • Collegiality among school personnel
  • Shared decision-making
  • A shared knowledge base related to the education
    of ELLs
  • Linguistic and cultural pluralism
  • Well-implemented bilingual education and/or
    English as a Second Language programs
  • Ongoing, systematic evaluation of student
  • Effective responses to student difficulty
  • Collaborative school, home, and community
  • Mechanisms in place for mentoring new faculty

  • Principals have a total and unwavering commitment
    to their students achievement and to an
    excellent bilingual education and/or English as a
    second language program that is fully integrated
    into their school.
  • (Montecel Cortez, 2002)

A Program Model
  • Teachers and community members participate in the
    selection and design of a bilingual/ESL program
  • The program model is grounded in sound theory and
    best practices associated with an enriched, not
    remedial, instructional models.
  • (Montecel Cortez, 2002)

Program Articulation
  • The program of instruction is properly scoped,
    sequenced, and articulated across grade levels
    and aligned with developmentally appropriate
    practices and student language proficiency levels
    in the native language and/or in English.
  • (Montecel Cortez, 2002)

Teachers use instructional strategies known to be
effective for ELLs.
  • Academically rich programs
  • Native language instruction
  • English language development
  • Meaningful language use across the curriculum
  • Culturally relevant curriculum
  • Build on prior knowledge
  • Higher-order skills
  • Direct, explicit skill instruction
  • Thematic instruction
  • Collaborative learning
  • Scaffolding
  • Individual guidance and support
  • Continuous monitoring of student progress
  • Meaningful, continuous family involvement

A Transition Plan
  • Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that students
    have the skills to access to the same curriculum
    presented to native English speaking students.
  • It is understood that transition is a process,
    not an event.
  • Recognizing that, there is a clear plan and
    process for transitions
  • -from native language to English instruction
  • -from ESL to English instruction

A Transition Plan
  • For students receiving native language
    instruction, the plan reflects an understanding
  • the bi-directional influence of instruction in
    each language.
  • skills that transfer (positive and negative),
  • skills that must be explicitly taught in each

An Exit Plan
Exit is distinguished from transition and refers
to the termination of special language program
supports for ELLs. The re-classification of an
ELL as English proficient indicates that the
student is able to participate successfully in
mainstream, all-English instructional
  • Both transition and exit decisions are based on
    students language proficiencies and achievement
    status, not simply on the basis of their age or

Professional Development
  • Fully credentialed bilingual education and ESL
    teachers are continuously acquiring new knowledge
    regarding best practices in bilingual education
    and ESL.
  • General education teachers regularly participate
    in professional development focused on meeting
    the needs of ELLs (e.g., information about
    bilingual education, ESL strategies, and about
    the cultural and linguistic characteristics that
    serve as assets to the academic success of ELLs).
  • (Montecel Cortez, 2002)

A Shared Knowledge Base
  • Philosophy, purpose, and rationale for bilingual
    education and ESL programs
  • Language acquisition and development
  • Assessment of conversational and academic
    language proficiency.
  • Other influences on student learning
  • -Culture (that of students and of educators)
  • -Socioeconomic status

A Shared Knowledge Base
  • Effective instructional approaches
  • Linguistically and culturally responsive
    assessment and progress monitoring (within and
    across grades)
  • Partnerships with ELL families and communities
  • Recognizing and overcoming deficit perspectives
    toward ELLs and their families

Focus on Tier 1
  • Assessment
  • Core curriculum
  • Academic language
  • Transition

  • Screening
  • Progress monitoring
  • Benchmark

  • Research on effective reading instruction for EL
    learners has documented the importance of
    assessing students progress in reading (Chamot
    OMalley, 1994).
  • This includes not only teacher documentation of
    daily and periodic progress but also students
    self-evaluation of their own progress according
    to pre-determined goals and objectives (Chamot
    OMalley, 1994).

  • Reading measures to identify first grade students
    who need intensive early intervention are valid
  • Consistently strong measures of future reading
    growth are measures of phonemic awareness and
    fluency in naming letters of the alphabet
  • True in both English and Spanish

  • Students oral language proficiency alone is not
    a valid predictor of reading success or failure.

  • Conduct screening assessments 2 times per year in
    kindergarten (middle and end of the year)
  • Conduct screening assessments 3 times per year in
    first grade and above (beginning, middle, and end
    of the year)
  • Assess all students on appropriate measures
  • Examine students scores in relationship to
    established goals and language program
  • Use results to inform both whole group and small
    group instruction

Language of Screening Measures
  • English Immersion with ELD support
  • Use grade appropriate measures in English
  • Kindergarten phonemic awareness, letter naming,
    alphabetic principle
  • First grade phonemic awareness, letter naming,
    alphabetic principle, oral reading fluency
  • Second grade alphabetic principle, oral reading
  • Third grade oral reading fluency

Language of Screening Measures
  • Bilingual Education Program
  • Use grade appropriate measures
  • That match the language of reading instruction,
    often native language, initially
  • In both the native language and English during
    the transition process
  • English when students are ready to exit and are
    no longer receiving reading instruction in the
    native language

Instructional Implications
Progress Monitoring
  • Provide a means to
  • Monitor student learning
  • Determine efficacy of instruction
  • Timeline will vary with level of students
  • In Tier 1, minimum 3 times a year but, may want
    to consider once a grading period
  • Language will match language of instruction

  • Benchmarks are necessary to set a goals for
  • ELLs can meet benchmarks when provided
    appropriate instruction that supports language
    and literacy development.

Tier 1
  • Components of effective Tier 1 instruction for
  • 90 minutes
  • Comprehensive instruction
  • Reading
  • Math
  • Flexible grouping

A comprehensive approach to literacy
Reflects a balanced approach--a focus on both
skills and meaning Provides for differentiated
instruction based on student characteristics (Fra
ncis, 2005 Snow Burns, 1998 Goldenberg,
A comprehensive approach to literacy development
Incorporates components shown to be determinants
of literacy achievement for both monolingual
students and ELLs -Phonemic Awareness -Phonics
-Fluency -Vocabulary -Comprehension Incorporate
s study skills and strategies (Francis, 2005
Snow Burns, 1998 Goldenberg, 1998)
A comprehensive approach to literacy development
  • Provides opportunities for students to develop
    full and productive proficiencies in the native
    language and/or English in listening, speaking,
    reading, and writing, consistent with high
    expectations for all students.
  • (Center for Equity Excellence in Education,
    1996 August Hakuta, 1997 Goldenberg, 1998).

Other Important Components
  • Dedicated ELD block
  • Focus on academic language in all content areas

  • Dedicated block during the day
  • Focus on instructional components of literacy and
  • Explicit and systematic instruction in the
    structure of English
  • Preview and review

Academic Language
  • Each content area has a particular way of using
    language that children need to learn to use.
  • Students must use linguistic skills to interpret
    and infer meaning from oral and written language
  • and
  • discern precise meaning and information from

To develop higher level cognitive skills as well
as mastering the language associated with it.
  • Students need language models that are
    comprehensible, and opportunities to use language
    in the context of specific instructional

Flexible Grouping
  • Whole group
  • To introduce new information
  • Small homogenous groups
  • For focused instruction
  • Structured pairs
  • To provide additional practice
  • To provide language models

Benefits of RTI
  • Preventive approach
  • Assessment is used to inform instruction
  • Instruction is focused on critical components
  • Serves as a means for gauging efficacy of
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