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School Problem Solving Teams. Beth Doll [email protected] Also called…. Student Assistance Teams Pre-referral Intervention Teams Instructional Consultation Teams. Why have them?. To help teachers make and carry out plans for improving the success of challenging students

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School problem solving teams l.jpg

School Problem Solving Teams

Beth [email protected]


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Also called…..

  • Student Assistance Teams

  • Pre-referral Intervention Teams

  • Instructional Consultation Teams


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Why have them?

  • To help teachers make and carry out plans for improving the success of challenging students

  • To take advantage of the collective wisdom of teachers and other staff in schools

  • To prevent unnecessary referrals to special education programs

  • To redirect school resources from assessing students and into intervening with students

  • Nebraska requires that general education interventions be attempted before referring a child for special education services


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What do teams have to do with RTI?

  • Response-to-intervention procedures are carried out by school problem solving teams

  • Problem solving teams will

    • Identify students who are making insufficient academic progress

    • Oversee the collection of data to document student academic level

    • Plan and oversee the implementation of interventions to increase student learning

    • Oversee the collection of data to document improvements in the level or rate of learning

    • Make judgments about whether students’ response to the intervention is insufficient


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Who’s usually on a team…

  • General education teachers

  • Special education teachers

  • Or other teachers with special expertise (e.g., reading, language, behavior…)

  • A school psychologist or similar educator who knows about observing and evaluating behavior or learning

  • Or sometimes a building administrator

  • AND PARENTS

  • And anyone else with special skills to contribute


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What do effective school problem-solving teams do?

  • Define the student problem in specific, behavioral terms

  • Gather baseline data to assess current behavior or performance

  • State a specific goal for student improvement

  • Hypothesize one or more causes of the student problem

  • Create a systematic step-by-step intervention plan that addresses the causes

  • Demonstrate that the intervention was implemented as planned

  • Gather intervention data to assess student behavior or performance over time

  • Compare baseline to intervention data and determine whether the goal has been met

    Batsche & Knoff, 1995; Flugum & Reschly, 1994; Meyers et al., 1996 Telzrow et al., 2000


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Why carry out all eight steps?

  • Teams that follow these steps are more successful in improving student learning and behavior

  • The more steps carried out by a team, the more impact the team has on students

    Bahr et al., 1999; Flugum & Reschly, 1994; Rosenfield & Gravois, 1996


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A key dilemma

  • Multiple independent studies have shown that teams that are part of university research projects follow the eight-step procedure reliably, but school-managed teams do not

  • And university research teams appear to be more effective than school-managed teams

    Bahr et al., 1999; Eidl et al., 1998; Fuchs et al., 1990; Meyers et al., 1996


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What is it that school-managed teams don’t do?

Most frequently omitted

  • School teams rarely checked to make sure that the intervention was carried out as planned

  • They rarely hypothesized why a problem was occurring

    Sometimes omitted

  • School teams sometimes failed to collect intervention data, and frequently failed to collect baseline data

  • And they did not always specify a goal for improvement

    Kosse, 2006; Telzrow et al., 2000; Truscott et al., 2000


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But…

When a school district had established RTI procedures for collecting curriculum-based measures of student learning in reading, the RTI problem solving teams were much more likely to

  • Define the problem specifically

  • Collect baseline data

  • Set a goal for improvement

  • Collect intervention data

  • Use the data to evaluate how well the intervention had worked


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The challenge

Increasing the fidelity with which school-managed teams follow systemic problem-solving procedures


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Some commonsense reasons why school teams omit steps…

  • The eight-step process is time-consuming

  • And often it was an added duty without release time for already-busy staff

  • It was difficult to find common times when the team could meet

  • And it became even more difficult when teams were larger

  • Staff did not believe they had the skills to collect and analyze data

  • And the systematic problem solving process delayed referrals to special education


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So can’t these steps be shortened?

Maybe

  • There is some evidence that defining the problem, gathering data, setting a goal for improvement, and making sure the plan was carried out are most critical for team success


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What’s so hard about including parents?

  • It can restrict to team to before- or after-school meeting times

  • Parents are not usually familiar with the team problem solving procedures

  • Sometimes it requires re-establishing the relationship between parents and the school


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What’s so important about including parents?

  • They may have key information about a student that no one else on the team knows

  • And they may be able to contribute to the intervention in important ways

  • Including parents makes them part of the solution instead of part of the problem

  • And when parents are shown data about their student, and help understand what the data means, they become strong partners with the school


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What can schools do to support their teams?

  • Provide high quality training in systematic problem solving procedures

  • Make sure that one or more team members is experienced in gathering data and following problem-solving procedures

  • Secure release time for team activities

  • Provide assistants to help with some of the tasks like data collection, observation or scheduling

  • Don’t let the teams get too big

  • Find ways for team members to observe other high-quality teams in action

  • Create access to one or more consultants that the team can call upon as needed

  • Make sure everyone in the school knows that the problem solving team is important


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Need more information?

  • The National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Response to Intervention: Policy considerations and implementation

  • Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation


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