As an educator, I am constantly bombarded with students who are in dire need of remediation. My questions is, how did they get this far without adequate academic skills. Why am I teaching community college students the basic about reading and writing? I can see a few falling through the cracks of high school and even elementary school. However, the numbers I deal with are far more than only a few.
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a federally mandated intervention. It is a framework involving a multi-tier system of intervention options designed to assist children exhibiting academic and behavioral difficulties. It is an integrated approach which is based on an intense collaboration between general and special education. This is the big picture for Response to Intervention (RTI).
Core Principals of RTI
- High quality, research supported, scientifically based curriculum and instructional practices
- Data driven decision making: initial assessments/screen, diagnostics, continuous progress monitoring
- Problem solving, team-based approach
RTI Implementation Barriers
- No opportunities for teacher training
- Lack of intervention resources
- Lack of data knowledge and skill for tracking & charting
Primary solutions to mediate and even eliminate implementation barriers include
- Interventions that address academic concerns
- Use of data to guide instruction and intervention
- Establishment and use of collaborative teams
- Initial training in RTI
- Student achievement management also called progress monitoring tool
Research shows that motivation and high expectations are especially important when providing intervention to struggling readers. Furthermore, studies indicate that tier 2 and tier 3 interventions are best implemented when there is a focus on vocabulary and comprehension. These skills are key to improving reading skills for struggling students in middle and high school. Tier 2 & Tier 3 interventions should combine explicit instruction with highly motivating reading activities to teach foundational vocabulary and comprehension skills.
When each lesson is based around award-winning literature, struggling readers now have equal opportunity to think deeply about books, engage in literature discussions, and apply their newly taught skills in a meaningful way. This critical thinking is actually the basis for Common Core standards. It is important for districts to generate data from progress monitoring. Effective RTI is based on data from intervention evaluation of basic skills. Why collect data…? “If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going” Professor Irwin Corey. What is the anecdotal definition of insanity? According to my grandfather it is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. He got that definition from Albert Einstein.
Further, according to IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) education experts effective implementation of data driven instruction (DDI) via the Response to Intervention framework increases student achievement by providing student buy-in if you are able to show them specifics they have mastered and specifics that are holding them back. DDI cultivates a new culture of accountability in your school. DDI allow time for staff to review data and converse about the results during common prep study group time. Also, study group teams can use time to work on supplemental lessons for students that fall below proficiency. DDI focuses on using formative instruction in the daily reflection process of ongoing content, assessment, and scaffolding process. Thus, we use data driven instruction to position teachers and students for success.
We need to do something now! Too many of urban youth are being passed from grade to grade while lacking basic skills necessary for academic success. By the time I get them in my community college English class they are frustrated, angry, and feel almost destitute because they can't progress in their desired career path. Response to Intervention seems like a good place to start.