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Alternatives to RTI. Tom Scruggs George Mason University. Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium December 4-5, 2003 • Kansas City, Missouri

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alternatives to rti
Alternatives to RTI

Tom Scruggs

George Mason University

Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium

December 4-5, 2003 • Kansas City, Missouri

The National Research Center on Learning Disabilities, a collaborative project of staff at Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansas, sponsored this two-day symposium focusing on responsiveness-to-intervention (RTI) issues.

The symposium was made possible by the support of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs. Renee Bradley, Project Officer. Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.

When citing materials presented during the symposium, please use the following: “Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.”

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

strengths of rti
Strengths of RTI
  • Emphasizes an important deficit area of LD (reading); potential for other areas
  • Emphasizes early identification, intervention
  • Expectation of evidence-based, high-quality instruction as a baseline, to eliminate “teaching disabilities”

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

problems of rti in identification of ld
Problems of RTI in Identification of LD
  • Does RTI preserve contemporary conceptualizations of LD?
    • Unexpected low achievement relative to aptitude or ability
    • Intra-individual differences
    • Presumed processing deficit
    • Average or above intelligence
    • Multifaceted in nature
    • Patterns of relative strengths and weaknesses

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

problems of rti in identification of ld4
Problems of RTI in Identification of LD
  • Does RTI effectively discriminate between, e.g., LD, MR, E/BD, ADHD, generic low achievement?
    • Students in each of these areas may not respond to intervention, but for different reasons
    • If RTI can not discriminate, how can it classify?
    • Important to maintain categories to maintain advocacy, research, funding, legislation.

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

problems of rti in identification of ld5
Problems of RTI in Identification of LD
  • Can RTI be used effectively to address the multifaceted nature of LD?
    • Math concepts/computation, reading decoding/comprehension, writing, spelling; or memory, attention, study/organizational skills
    • Or, if reading inadequacy is presumed to be the fundamental characteristic of LD, does this suggest it is the only characteristic? (i.e., success in phonemic awareness = success in school?)

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

is it true
Is it true?
  • LD = severe reading problems
  • Severe reading problems can be identified and corrected in primary grades
  • Correcting reading problems in primary grades can eliminate LD

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

slide7
OR,
  • LD is a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes, of which reading problems are the most apparent manifestation.
  • Intensive instruction can improve reading skills, but this does not “cure” the learning disability, which may have a number of other manifestations (e.g., sustained attention, semantic memory, organizational skills, social interactions)

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

problems of rti in identification of ld8
Problems of RTI in Identification of LD
  • Can RTI be used across the age spectrum to identify LD?
    • Preschool
    • Primary grades
    • Elementary grades
    • Middle school
    • High school

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

problems of rti in identification of ld9
Problems of RTI in Identification of LD
  • Can RTI be implemented with technical adequacy?
    • Standardized implementation of evidence-based instruction?
    • Standardized CBM?
    • Standardized remedial procedures?
    • Justifiable cut-points in level and slope for each content area at each grade level?

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

problems of rti in identification of ld10
Problems of RTI in Identification of LD
  • Will RTI improve present identification procedures?
    • Reduce variability?
    • Reduce overidentification?
    • Improve early identification?
    • Improve or maintain level of representation by ethnic or racial groups

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

problems of rti in identification of ld11
Problems of RTI in Identification of LD
  • At present, insufficient research evidence:
    • to establish cut-points for levels of intervention or identification, applications beyond early reading.
    • to determine impact of wide implementation of RTI for LD identification.
    • To determine response of general education to RTI.

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

what are alternatives
What are alternatives?
  • RTI describes appropriate procedures for addressing reading problems in general ed.
  • Is RTI better suited for identification of LD, or as an early reading program for general ed?

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

let us assume
Let us assume…
  • RTI-type (evidence-based) intervention is implemented, but as an early reading intervention in general ed classrooms (unstandardized-may differ):
    • All students receive high-quality reading instruction
    • Students with early reading problems receive more intensive instruction in small groups
    • If this program is successful, referrals will decrease, and only “truly” LD will be identified.
    • General ed. (not special ed) pays for these services.

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

how then is ld identified
How then is LD identified?
  • Definition: Disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations.
  • NOT (exclusion): result of visual, hearing or motor handicaps, MR, ED, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

ld then is achievement deficits not explained by
LD then is achievement deficits not explained by:
  • Low vision
  • Hearing impairments
  • Physical disabilities
  • Mental retardation
  • Environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage
  • Insufficient opportunity to learn

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

appropriate services
Appropriate services

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

do we operationalize discrepancies
Do we operationalize discrepancies?
  • For vision, hearing, physical, environmental, opportunity, typically viewed as a dichotomy (e.g., adequate/inadequate)
  • For intelligence, a dichotomy or continuum?

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

how to apply exclusionary criteria for iq
How to apply exclusionary criteria for IQ?
  • Intelligence adequate/inadequate, e.g., > or = 80.
  • Discrepancy (e.g., 1, 1.5, 2 SD) between IQ and achievement.

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

vaughn linan thompson hickman 2003
Vaughn, Linan-Thompson, & Hickman, 2003
  • “Students with LD could be identified on the basis of low achievement, application of the exclusionary criteria, and then response to intervention.”
  • With RTI services implemented in general ed as a supplemental service, all students would have had this.

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

problem with cut off
Problem with cut-off
  • Might misidentify students who are generally low achievers.
  • Might increase overidentification
  • Might not conform to conceptualization of “unexpected underachievement” (e.g., IQ = 80, reading = 85)
  • Might remove from consideration students with low IQ who nevertheless are performing below expectations.

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

something to avoid
Something to avoid:
  • “When the discrepancy formula disappears from the educational scene, so will the concept of LD…. we are beginning to get a glimpse of the promised land” (Aaron, 1997, p. 489).

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

alternative to rti in ld identification
Alternative to RTI in LD identification
  • Implement “RTI”-type reading interventions in general education
    • To assure high-quality instruction
    • To provide alternatives to special education placement
  • Enforce strict requirements and criteria for LD identification
    • Very low achievement
    • Discrepancy with IQ, sensory/physical functioning, opportunities to learn
    • Encourage early identification
    • Team decision but supported by evidence

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

advantages
Advantages
  • Maintains concept of disability, i.e., within student, long-term or lifelong, unexpected underachievement
  • Operationalized to reduce overidentification and variability from subjectivity
  • “RTI” services maintain emphasis on high-quality, evidence-based practice; provides an alternative to special education.

Scruggs, T. (2003, December). Alternatives to RTI. Paper presented at the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities Responsiveness-to-Intervention Symposium, Kansas City, MO.

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