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Title: Making the Promise of RTI a Reality: Opportunities for Educational Leadership Jim Wright

Making the Promise of RTI a Reality
Opportunities for Educational LeadershipJim
Download PowerPoints and Handouts from this
workshop athttp//
Response to Intervention An Introduction
Today we will work toward the goals of
The quality of a school as a learning community
can be measured by how effectively it addresses
the needs of struggling students.--Wright
The Focus of RTI The Struggling Learner
Source Wright, J. (2005, Summer). Five
interventions that work. NAESP Leadership
Compass, 2(4) pp.1,6.
-You're a pretty smart fella.-Not that
smart.-How'd you figure it out?-I imagined
someone smarter than me. Then I tried to
think,"What would he do?From HEIST
(2001)Written by David Mamet
RTI Logic The Power of Working Smarter
What is Response to Intervention (RTI)?
  • 'Response to Intervention' is an emerging
    approach to the diagnosis of Learning
    Disabilities that holds considerable promise. In
    the RTI model
  • A student with academic delays is given one or
    more research-validated interventions.
  • The student's academic progress is monitored
    frequently to see if those interventions are
    sufficient to help the student to catch up with
    his or her peers.
  • If the student fails to show significantly
    improved academic skills despite several
    well-designed and implemented interventions, this
    failure to 'respond to intervention' can be
    viewed as evidence of an underlying Learning

What are advantages of RTI?
  • One advantage of RTI in the diagnosis of
    educational disabilities is that it allows
    schools to intervene early to meet the needs of
    struggling learners.
  • Another advantage is that RTI maps those specific
    instructional strategies found to benefit a
    particular student. This information can be very
    helpful to both teachers and parents.

What previous approach to diagnosing Learning
Disabilities does RTI replace?
  • Prior to RTI, many states used a Test-Score
    Discrepancy Model to identify Learning
  • A student with significant academic delays would
    be administered an battery of tests, including
    an intelligence test and academic achievement
  • If the student was found to have a substantial
    gap between a higher IQ score and lower
    achievement scores, a formula was used to
    determine if that gap was statistically
    significant and severe.
  • If the student had a severe discrepancy gap
    between IQ and achievement, he or she would be
    diagnosed with a Learning Disability.

Learning Disabilities Test Discrepancy Model
  • Traditionally, disability is viewed as a
    deficit that resides within the individual, the
    severity of which might be influenced, but not
    created, by contextual variables. (Vaughn
    Fuchs, 2003)

Limitations to the test-score discrepancy
model (Gresham, 2001)
  • Requires chronic school failure BEFORE
    remedial/special education supports can be
  • Fails to consider that outside factors such as
    poor or inconsistent instruction may contribute
    to a child's learning delay.
  • A severe discrepancy between test scores
    provides no useful information about WHY the
    student is doing poorly academically.
  • Different states (and even school districts
    within the same state) often used different
    formulas to diagnose LD, resulting in a lack of
    uniformity in identifying children for special
    education support.

Why is RTI now being adopted by schools?
  • Congress passed the revised Individuals With
    Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) in
  • This Federal legislation provides the guidelines
    that schools must follow when identifying
    children for special education services.
  • Based on the changes in IDEIA 2004, the US
    Department of Education (USDE) updated its
    regulations to state education departments. The
    new USDE regulations
  • Explicitly ALLOW states to use RTI to identify LD
  • FORBID states from forcing schools to use a
    discrepancy model to identify LD

IDEIA 2004-05 Federal (US Dept of Education)
Regulations What do they say about LD diagnosis?
In 2004, Congress reauthorized the Individuals
With Disabilities Education Improvement Act
(IDEIA 2004), including landmark language in that
law to encourage schools to break free of their
reliance on the discredited IQ-Achievement
Discrepancy method for identifying Learning
Disabilities. The U.S. Department of Education
then developed regulations based on IDEIA 2004 to
guide state practices. These regulations (34
C.F.R. 300 301, 2006) direct that states cannot
require the use of a severe discrepancy between
intellectual ability and achievement for
determining whether a child has a specific
learning disability Discrepancy
ModelFurthermore, states must permit the use
of a process based on the childs response to
scientific, research-based intervention (34
C.F.R. 300 301, 2006 p. 46786). RTI Model
IDEIA 2004-05 Federal (US Dept of Education)
Regulations What do they say about LD diagnosis?
  • The federal regulations also require that
    schools ensure that underachievement in a child
    suspected of having a specific learning
    disability is not due to lack of appropriate
    instruction (34 C.F.R. 300 301, 2006 p.
    46787) by
  • demonstrating that the child was provided
    appropriate instruction in regular education
    settings, delivered by qualified personnel and
  • collecting data-based documentation of repeated
    assessments of achievement at reasonable
    intervals, reflecting formal assessment of
    student progress during instruction.

What does RTI look like when applied to an
individual student?
  • A widely accepted method for determining whether
    a student has a Learning Disability under RTI is
    the dual discrepancy model (Fuchs, 2003).
  • Discrepancy 1 The student is found to be
    performing academically at a level significantly
    below that of his or her typical peers
    (discrepancy in initial skills or performance).
  • Discrepancy 2 Despite the implementation of one
    or more well-designed, well-implemented
    interventions tailored specifically for the
    student, he or she fails to close the gap with
    classmates (discrepancy in rate of learning
    relative to peers).

Target Student
Dual-Discrepancy RTI Model of Learning
Disability (Fuchs 2003)
The steps of RTI for an individual case
  • Under RTI, if a student is found to be
    performing well below peers, the school will
  • Estimate the academic skill gap between the
    student and typically-performing peers
  • Determine the likely reason(s) for the students
    depressed academic performance
  • Select a scientifically-based intervention likely
    to improve the student's academic functioning
  • Monitor academic progress frequently to evaluate
    the impact of the intervention
  • If the student fails to respond to several
    well-implemented interventions, consider a
    referral to Special Education

How can a school restructure to support RTI?
  • The school can organize its intervention efforts
    into 3 levels, or Tiers, that represent a
    continuum of increasing intensity of support.
    (Kovaleski, 2003 Vaughn, 2003). Tier I is the
    lowest level of intervention and Tier III is the
    most intensive intervention level.

Universal intervention Available to all
students Example Additional classroom literacy
Tier I
Individualized Intervention Students who need
additional support than peers are given
individual intervention plans. Example
Supplemental peer tutoring in reading to increase
reading fluency
Tier II
Intensive Intervention Students whose
intervention needs are greater than general
education can meet may be referred for more
intensive services. Example Special Education
Tier III
Tier I Interventions
Tier I interventions are universalavailable to
all students. Teachers often deliver these
interventions in the classroom (e.g., providing
additional drill and practice in reading fluency
for students with limited decoding skills).
Tier I interventions are those strategies that
instructors are likely to put into place at the
first sign that a student is struggling. Tier I
interventions attempt to answer the question Are
routine classroom instructional modifications
sufficient to help the student to achieve
academic success?
Tier II Interventions
Tier II interventions are individualized,
tailored to the unique needs of struggling
learners. They are reserved for students with
significant skill gaps who have failed to respond
successfully to Tier I strategies. Tier II
interventions attempt to answer the question Can
an individualized intervention plan carried out
in a general-education setting bring the student
up to the academic level of his or her peers?
Tier II Interventions
There are two different vehicles that schools can
use to deliver Tier II interventions Standard-Pro
tocol (Standalone Intervention). Group
intervention programs based on scientifically
valid instructional practices (standard
protocol) are created to address frequent
student referral concerns. These services are
provided outside of the classroom. A middle
school, for example, may set up a structured
math-tutoring program staffed by adult volunteer
tutors to provide assistance to students with
limited math skills. Students referred for a Tier
II math intervention would be placed in this
tutoring program. An advantage of the
standard-protocol approach is that it is
efficient and consistent large numbers of
students can be put into these group
interventions to receive a highly standardized
intervention. However, standard group
intervention protocols often cannot be
individualized easily to accommodate a specific
students unique needs. Problem-solving
(Classroom-Based Intervention). Individualized
research-based interventions match the profile of
a particular students strengths and limitations.
The classroom teacher often has a large role in
carrying out these interventions. A plus of the
problem-solving approach is that the intervention
can be customized to the students needs.
However, developing intervention plans for
individual students can be time-consuming.
Tier III Interventions
Tier III interventions are the most intensive
academic supports available in a school and are
generally reserved for students with chronic and
severe academic delays or behavioral problems.
In many schools, Tier III interventions are
available only through special education. Tier
III supports try to answer the question, What
ongoing supports does this student require and in
what settings to achieve the greatest success
RTI School-Wide Three-Tier Framework
(Kovaleski, 2003 Vaughn, 2003)
Tier III Long-Term Programming for Students Who
Fail to Respond to Tier II Interventions (e.g.,
Special Education)
Levels of Intervention Tier I, II, III
Tier I Universal100
Tier II Individualized10-15
Tier III Intensive5-10
How Do We Define a Tier I (Classroom-Based)
Intervention?Jim Wrightwww.interventioncentral
Tier I Interventions
Tier I interventions are universalavailable to
all students. Teachers often deliver these
interventions in the classroom.Tier I
interventions are those strategies that
instructors are likely to put into place at the
first sign that a student is struggling. These
interventions can consist of -Effective
whole-group teaching management
strategies -Modest individualized strategies that
the teacher uses with specific students. Tier I
interventions attempt to answer the question Are
routine classroom instructional modifications
sufficient to help the student to achieve
academic success?
Examples of Evidence-Based Tier I Management
Strategies (Fairbanks, Sugai, Guardino,
Lathrop, 2007)
  • Consistently acknowledging appropriate behavior
    in class
  • Providing students with frequent and varied
    opportunities to respond during instructional
  • Reducing transition time between instructional
    activities to a minimum
  • Giving students immediate and direct corrective
    feedback when they commit an academic error or
    engage in inappropriate behavior

Source Fairbanks, S., Sugai, G., Guardino, S.,
Lathrop, M. (2007). Response to intervention
Examining classroom behavior support in second
grade. Exceptional Children, 73, p. 290.
Reducing Problem Behaviors Through Good Academic
Management 10 Ideas
  • Be sure that assigned work is not too easy and
    not too difficult
  • Offer frequent opportunities for choice
  • Select high-interest or functional learning
  • Instruct students at a brisk pace
  • Structure lessons to require active student

Reducing Problem Behaviors Through Good Academic
Management 10 Ideas (Cont.)
  • Incorporate cooperative-learning opportunities
    into instruction
  • Give frequent teacher feedback and encouragement
  • Provide correct models during independent work
  • Be consistent in managing the academic setting
  • Target interventions to closely coincide with
    point of performance

Good Behavior Game(Barrish, Saunders, Wold,
Sample Classroom Management Strategy Good
Behavior Game (Barrish, Saunders, Wold, 1969)
  • The Good Behavior Game is a whole-class
    intervention to improve student attending and
    academic engagement. Description The class is
    divided into two or more student teams. The
    teacher defines a small set of 2 to 3 negative
    behaviors. When a student shows a problem
    behavior, the teacher assigns a negative behavior
    point to that students team. At the end of the
    Game time period, any team whose number of points
    falls below a cut-off set by the teacher earns
    a daily reward or privilege.
  • Guidelines for using this intervention The Game
    is ideal to use with the entire class during
    academic study or lecture periods to keep
    students academically engaged The Game is not
    suitable for less-structured activities such as
    cooperative learning groups, where students are
    expected to interact with each other as part of
    the work assignment.

Good Behavior Game Steps
  • The instructor decides when to schedule the Game.
    (NOTE Generally, the Good Behavior Game should
    be used for no more than 45 to 60 minutes per day
    to maintain its effectiveness.)
  • The instructor defines the 2-3 negative behaviors
    that will be scored during the Game. Most
    teachers use these 3 categories
  • Talking Out The student talks, calls out, or
    otherwise verbalizes without teacher permission.
  • Out of Seat The students posterior is not on
    the seat.
  • Disruptive Behavior The student engages in any
    other behavior that the instructor finds
    distracting or problematic.

Good Behavior Game Steps
  1. The instructor selects a daily reward to be
    awarded to each member of successful student
    teams. (HINT Try to select rewards that are
    inexpensive or free. For example, student winners
    might be given a coupon permitting them to skip
    one homework item that night.)
  2. The instructor divides the class into 2 or more
  3. The instructor selects a daily cut-off level that
    represents the maximum number of points that a
    team is allowed (e.g., 5 points).

Good Behavior Game Steps
  • When the Game is being played, the instructor
    teaches in the usual manner. Whenever the
    instructor observes student misbehavior during
    the lesson, the instructor silently assigns a
    point to that students team (e.g., as a tally
    mark on the board) and continues to teach.
  • When the Game period is over, the teacher tallies
    each teams points. Here are the rules for
    deciding the winner(s) of the Game
  • Any team whose point total is at or below the
    pre-determined cut-off earns the daily reward.
    (NOTE This means that more than one team can
  • If one teams point total is above the cut-off
    level, that team does not earn a reward.
  • If ALL teams have point totals that EXCEED the
    cut-off level for that day, only the team with
    the LOWEST number of points wins.

Good Behavior Game Troubleshooting
  • Here are some tips for using the Good Behavior
  • Avoid the temptation to overuse the Game. Limit
    its use to no more than 45 minutes to an hour per
  • If a student engages in repeated bad behavior to
    sabotage a team and cause it to lose, you can
    create an additional team of one that has only
    one member--the misbehaving student. This student
    can still participate in the Game but is no
    longer able to spoil the Game for peers!
  • If the Game appears to be losing effectiveness,
    check to be sure it is being implemented with
    care and that you are
  • Assigning points consistently when you observe
  • Not allowing yourself to be pulled into arguments
    with students when you assign points for
  • Reliably giving rewards to Game winners.
  • Not overusing the Game.

Game Over
Answer Both teams won the Game, as both teams
point totals fell BELOW the cut-off of 5 points.
Question Which team won this Game?
Building Positive Relationships With
Avoiding the Reprimand Trap
  • When working with students who display
    challenging behaviors, instructors can easily
    fall into the reprimand trap. In this
  • The student misbehaves.
  • The teacher approaches the student to reprimand
    and redirect. (But the teacher tends not to give
    the student attention for positive behaviors,
    such as paying attention and doing school work.)
  • As the misbehave-reprimand pattern becomes
    ingrained, both student and teacher experience a
    strained relationship and negative feelings.

Sample Ideas to Improve Relationships With
Students The Two-By-Ten Intervention (Mendler,
  • Make a commitment to spend 2 minutes per day for
    10 consecutive days in building a relationship
    with the studentby talking about topics of
    interest to the student. Avoid discussing
    problems with the students behaviors or
    schoolwork during these times.

Source Mendler, A. N. (2000). Motivating
students who dont care. Bloomington, IN
National Educational Service.
Sample Ideas to Improve Relationships With
Students The Three-to-One Intervention (Sprick,
Borgmeier, Nolet, 2002)
  • Give positive attention or praise to problem
    students at least three times more frequently
    than you reprimand them. Give the student the
    attention or praise during moments when that
    student is acting appropriately. Keep track of
    how frequently you give positive attention and
    reprimands to the student.

Source Sprick, R. S., Borgmeier, C., Nolet, V.
(2002). Prevention and management of behavior
problems in secondary schools. In M. A. Shinn, H.
M. Walker G. Stoner (Eds.), Interventions for
academic and behavior problems II Preventive and
remedial approaches (pp.373-401). Bethesda, MD
National Association of School Psychologists.
How Do Schools Standardize Expectations for
Tier I Interventions? A Four-Step Solution
  1. Develop a list of your schools top five
    academic and behavioral referral concerns (e.g.,
    low reading fluency, inattention).
  2. Create a survey for teachers, asking them to jot
    down the good teaching ideas that they use
    independently when they encounter students who
    struggle in these problem areas.
  3. Collect the best of these ideas into a menu. Add
    additional research-based ideas if available.
  4. Require that teachers implement a certain number
    of these strategies before referring to your RTI
    Intervention Team. Consider ways that teachers
    can document these Tier I interventions as well.

Link Smarter, Not Harder How Good Student
Academic Assessment Leads to Better Classroom
Curriculum-Based Assessment Advantages Over
Commercial, Norm-Referenced Achievement Tests
Commercial Tests Limitations
  • Compare child to national average rather than
    to class or school peers
  • May have poor overlap with student curriculum,
    classroom content
  • Can be given only infrequently
  • Are not sensitive to short-term student gains in
    academic skills

Curriculum-Based Measurement/Assessment
Defining Characteristics
  • Assesses preselected objectives from local
  • Has standardized directions for administration
  • Is timed, yielding fluency, accuracy scores
  • Uses objective, standardized, quick guidelines
    for scoring
  • Permits charting and teacher feedback

CBM Techniques have been developed to assess
  • Reading fluency
  • Reading comprehension
  • Math computation
  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • Phonemic awareness skills
  • Early math skills

Example of Curriculum-Based Assessment Reading
DIBELS Reading Probe Benchmark 2.1
(No Transcript)
Monitoring Student Academic BehaviorsDaily
Behavior Report Cards
Daily Behavior Report Cards (DBRCs) Are
  • brief forms containing student behavior-rating
    items. The teacher typically rates the student
    daily (or even more frequently) on the DBRC. The
    results can be graphed to document student
    response to an intervention.

Daily Behavior Report Cards Can Monitor
  • Inattention/Hyperactivity
  • On-Task Behavior (Attention)
  • Work Completion
  • Organization Skills
  • Compliance With Adult Requests
  • Ability to Interact Appropriately With Peers

Jim Blalock
May 5
Mrs. Williams
Rm 108
Daily Behavior Report Card Daily Version
Jim Blalock
Mrs. Williams
Rm 108
Daily Behavior Report Card Weekly Version
05 05 07
05 06 07
05 07 07
05 08 07
05 09 07
Daily Behavior Report Card Chart
Student Case Scenario Jim
  • Jim is a 10th-grade student who is failing his
    math course and in danger of failing English and
    science courses. Jim has been identified with
    ADHD. His instructional team meets with the RTI
    Team and list the following academic and
    behavioral concerns for Jim.
  • Does not bring work materials to class
  • Fails to write down homework assignments
  • Sometimes does not turn in homework, even when
  • Can be non-compliant with teacher requests at

RTI Teams Following a Structured Problem-Solving
Everybody is entitled to their own opinion but
theyre not entitled to their own facts. The data
is the data. Dr. Maria Spiropulu, Physicist New
York Times, 30 September 2003 (D. Overbye) Other
dimensions? Shes in pursuit. F1, F4
RTI TeamMeeting Process
Student Assessment
Research-Based Interventions
The RTI Team Definition
  • Teams of educators at a school are trained to
    work together as effective problem-solvers.
  • RTI Teams are made up of volunteers drawn from
    general- and special-education teachers and
    support staff.
  • These teams use a structured meeting process to
    identify the underlying reasons that a student
    might be experiencing academic or behavioral
  • The team helps the referring teacher to put
    together practical, classroom-friendly
    interventions to address those student problems.

Team Roles
  • Coordinator
  • Facilitator
  • Recorder
  • Time Keeper
  • Case Manager

RTI Team Consultative Process
  • Step 1 Assess Teacher Concerns 5 Mins
  • Step 2 Inventory Student Strengths/Talents 5
  • Step 3 Review Background/Baseline Data 5 Mins
  • Step 4 Select Target Teacher Concerns 5-10 Mins
  • Step 5 Set Academic and/or Behavioral Outcome
    Goals and Methods for Progress-Monitoring 5 Mins
  • Step 6 Design an Intervention Plan 15-20 Mins
  • Step 7 Plan How to Share Meeting Information
    with the Students Parent(s) 5 Mins
  • Step 8 Review Intervention Monitoring Plans 5

Establishing RTI in Your School or District
First Steps
Any mule can kick down a barn but it takes a
good carpenter to build one.--Lyndon Johnson
RTI Can Serve as the Organizing Umbrella Under
Which a Districts Efforts Are Organized to
Support Struggling Learners of Any Age
Establishing RTI in Your School or District
First Steps
  1. Establish an RTI Steering Group

Establishing RTI in Your School or District
First Steps
  1. Educate Staff and Other Stakeholders to Build
    Support for RTI

Establishing RTI in Your School or District
First Steps
  1. Create an Inventory of the District/Schools RTI

Establishing RTI in Your School or District
First Steps
  1. Establish an RTI Intervention Team

Establishing RTI in Your School or District
First Steps
  1. Train Staff in Techniques to Monitor Short-Term
    Student Academic and Behavioral Progress