response to intervention rti considerations for identification and instructional reform
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Response to Intervention (RTI): Considerations for Identification and Instructional Reform . Joseph F. Kovaleski Indiana University of PA David Prasse Loyola University Chicago. Current system – process above results Current system – wait to fail model Dual system- general and special

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response to intervention rti considerations for identification and instructional reform

Response to Intervention (RTI): Considerations for Identification and Instructional Reform

Joseph F. Kovaleski

Indiana University of PA

David Prasse

Loyola University Chicago

reasons for change
Current system – process above results

Current system – wait to fail model

Dual system- general and special

Culture of compliance

Identification methods lack validity

Rigorous research and evidence-based practice

Focus on compliance and bureaucratic imperatives not academic achievement.

Reasons for Change
consensus reports on rethinking learning disabilities
Consensus Reports on Rethinking Learning Disabilities
  • OSEP: Learning Disabilities Summit (2001)
  • Fordham Foundation/ Progressive Policy Institute: Rethinking Special Education (2001)
  • National Research Council: Minority Over- Representation in Special Ed (2002)
  • President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Ed (2002)
“… the IQ-achievement discrepancy does not reliably distinguish between disabled and non-disabled readers … children who were found to be difficult [and easy] to remediate … and it does not predict response to remediation.” Vellutino et al. (2000), p. 235
senate report re ideia
Senate Report re IDEIA

“The committee believes that the IQ-achievement discrepancy formula, which considers whether a child has a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability, should not be a requirement for determining eligibility under the IDEA. There is no evidence that the IQ-achievement discrepancy formula can be applied in a consistent and educationally meaningful (i.e., reliable and valid) manner.”

“In addition, this approach has been found to be particularly problematic for students living in poverty or culturally and linguistically different backgrounds, who may be erroneously viewed as having intrinsic intellectual limitations when their difficulties on such tests really reflect lack of experience or educational opportunity.”
ideia 2004 changes specific learning disabilities
IDEIA 2004 ChangesSpecific Learning Disabilities

“The LEA shall not be required to take into consideration whether the child has a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation, or mathematical reasoning.”

ideia 2004 changes specific learning disabilities cont
IDEIA 2004 ChangesSpecific Learning Disabilities (cont.)

“In determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, a local educational agency may use a process which determines if a child responds to scientific, research-based intervention.”

senate report re ideia1
Senate Report re IDEIA

“The bill allows local educational agencies to make an eligibility determination through … a process based upon a child\'s response to scientific, research-based intervention. The (President’s) Commission recommended that the identification process … be simplified and that assessments that reflect learning and behavior in the classroom be encouraged, with less reliance on the assessments of IQ and achievement ….”

is this a radical change
Is this a radical change?
  • The ability-achievement discrepancy may still be used if the LEA chooses.
  • Or not, if the LEA elects to use RTI.
  • Low achievement, exclusion provisions, and assessment of lack of instruction are already part of IDEIA.
ideia 2004 changes eligibility determinations
IDEIA 2004 –CHANGES: Eligibility Determinations

A child shall not be determined to be a child with a disability if determinant factor is:

  • Lack of scientifically-based instructional practices and programs that contain the essential components of reading instruction.
  • Lack of instruction in math
  • Limited English Proficiency
should cognitive processes be included
Should Cognitive Processes be Included?
  • There is no substantial body of evidence that attempts to assess cognitive processing improve LD identification, control prevalence, translate into more effective instruction, or improve prediction of the outcomes of interventions.
  • At best, these measures should be optional, not required, components of a comprehensive evaluation.
  • Any psychological process is meaningful only if it has direct functional correlates to classroom learning (e.g., phonological awareness).
the construct of ld is changing
The construct of LD is changing.
  • Under RTI approaches, the discrepancy is relative to the expectation that all children can learn (cf. NCLB), not just students with average IQs.
  • RTI identifies which students do not respond to instructional procedures under which most students do succeed.
it s not just about identification
It’s not just about identification…
  • IDEIA and NCLB are companion laws.
  • They are mutually referential.
  • Together, they envision a seamless system of supports, based on the use of scientifically based instruction, in both general and special education.
  • The mission is the development of proficiency in basic skills (particularly reading) for all students.
nclb and ideia 2004
  • Scientifically based instruction, curriculum, and interventions.
  • Identification of learning problems early.
  • Ongoing monitoring to determine impact of curriculum and instruction.
  • Design and implement remedial and individualized intervention for those who don’t respond.
  • Inclusion of students in single accountability system.
  • Documentation of student outcomes through AYP.
house report re ideia
House Report re IDEIA

“… a child cannot be determined to be a child with a disability solely because the child did not receive scientifically based instruction in reading. With the combination of programs authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (NCLB), particularly Reading First and Early Reading First, and the prereferral services concept … the Committee hopes that local educational agencies will improve their reading and literacy instruction to enable all children to read at grade level by the third grade.”

“The Committee believes that these changes will help reduce the number of children being inappropriately referred to, and identified under, special education and should encourage schools to improve their programs on these subjects in early grades.”
treatment validity
Treatment Validity
  • The selection of any assessment instrument or procedure is solely dependent on its ability to provide specific information about scientifically validated instructional strategies that have a high probability of producing meaningful change in the student’s academic or social-emotional skills.
  • Measures must relate to child outcomes.
what is a comprehensive evaluation using rti
What is a Comprehensive Evaluation Using RTI?
  • Direct measurement of achievement, behavior and the instructional environment in relevant domains as the core foci of a comprehensive evaluation for LD.
  • Focus is on achievement, behavior, and instructional environment.
comprehensive evaluation using rti includes
Comprehensive evaluation using RTI includes:
  • Use of a variety of techniques driven by the referral question,
  • Multiple sources of information, procedures, and settings,
  • Multidimensional assessment based on students’ needs,
  • Not limited to a single methodology.
entitlement for special education
Entitlement for Special Education

Assessment and Progress Data

From Problem Solving Process






Convergence of Data from a

Variety of Sources

(Grimes & Tilly, 2003)

discrepancy deviation from established benchmarks
Discrepancy: Deviation from Established Benchmarks

Assessment of performance compared to national/state/local benchmarks:

  • State and district group tests, and
  • National benchmark tests (e.g., DIBELS), and
  • CBM results compared to local norms*, and maybe…
  • Norm-referenced tests of achievement (if they meet the treatment validity criterion, and provide additional needed information)

*Note that Shinn’s 2.0X format is not a calculation of grade levels.

rate of progress
Rate of Progress
  • Assessment of the student’s performance on critical academic skills under verifiable conditions of scientifically validated instruction.
  • Rate of progress is deficient compared to peers, and is insufficient to attain state/local benchmarks within a reasonable time period.
  • Note: Rates of progress in response to highly effective interventions has been empirically established (Deno, et al., 2001).
evaluating the need for specially designed instruction
Evaluating the Need for Specially Designed Instruction
  • Deviations in materials
  • Deviations in planning
  • Deviations in personnel
rule outs are still included
Rule-outs are still included:
  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Mental retardation
  • Emotional problems
  • Cultural and language issues
psychometric integrity of rti components
Psychometric Integrity of RTI Components
  • Basic premise: identification is more reliable when based on multiple measures gathered over time than on a single assessment.
  • CBM has been extensive support in terms of validity and reliability for measurements of both deficiency and rate of progress (e.g., Good & Jefferson, 1998; Deno et al., 2001).
building the infra structure for rti
Building the Infra-structure for RTI
  • Using RTI requires an infra-structure of assessment and intervention techniques.
  • We do not recommend implementing RTI if the infra-structure is not in place.
  • Therefore, initial efforts should be placed on building the infra-structure.

Three Tier Model of Teaming

Tier 1

Grade level teaming based on data

Tier 2

Standard Protocol




Tier 3

Special Education

the three tier process
The Three-Tier Process
  • Ensures that scientifically validated interventions are used at a high degree of fidelity.
  • Allows for the collection of valid, reliable, and functionally meaningful data that inform both identification and treatment decisions.
our position
Our Position

The practice of school psychology should be guided by its effects on student outcomes;

not by …

  • Tradition
  • Guild issues
  • Unsupported Theory
  • Constructs (e.g., LD)
We do not argue that the particular procedures that we describe must be mandated practice for all school psychologists.
  • However, we also resist the idea that others’ vision of the practice of school psychology should be mandated for all.
We understand the plurality of opinions on these issues.
  • We challenge our colleagues to be guided by the same basic criterion that we set for ourselves … student outcomes.