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Problem-Solving and Response to Intervention: Implications for State and District Policies and Practices. C.A.S.E. January 25, 2006 Dr. George M. Batsche Professor and Co-Director Institute for School Reform School Psychology Program University of South Florida .

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Problem-Solving and Response to Intervention: Implications for State and District Policies and Practices


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    1. Problem-Solving and Response to Intervention: Implications for State and District Policies and Practices C.A.S.E. January 25, 2006 Dr. George M. Batsche Professor and Co-Director Institute for School Reform School Psychology Program University of South Florida

    2. If we can really understand the problem, the answer will come out of it, because the answer is not separate from the problem. -Krishnamurti

    3. There will be no prizes for predicting rain…..Prizes will be given only for building arks.

    4. Advanced Organizers • This is a “process” that will take time • RtI is more about general education than special education • RtI is a component of problem-solving, not an independent process • “Response”-data based • “Intervention”-evidence-based • Strong basis in statute and rule

    5. Advanced Organizers • “Response”-assessment • Administered frequently • Highly sensitive to changes • Aligned with intervention focus/outcomes • “Intervention”-evidence based • Aligned with local demographics • Delivered with integrity • Continuous progress monitoring • What are the implications for practice and training???

    6. www.nasdse.org

    7. What is the Statutory and Regulatory Foundation for Problem Solving and Response to Intervention?

    8. Contextual Issues Affecting The Problem-Solving Process in General and Special Education • IDEA Re-Authorization • Focus on academic outcomes • General education as baseline metric • Labeling as a “last resort” • Increasing general education options • Pooling building-based resources • Flexible funding patterns • RtI Introduced as option for LD eligibility • ESEA Legislation-No Child Left Behind • National Emphasis on Reading • Evidence-based Interventions

    9. Why Problem-Solving ?BIG IDEAS • AYP and Disaggregated Data (NCLB) move focus of attention to student progress, not student labels • Building principals and superintendents want to know if students are achieving benchmarks, regardless of the students “type” • Accurate “placements” do not guarantee that students will be exposed to interventions that maximize their rate of progress • Effective interventions result from good problem-solving, rather than good “testing” • Progress monitoring is done best with “authentic” assessment that is sensitive to small changes in student academic and social behavior

    10. Big Ideas (con’d) • Interventions must be “evidence based” (IDEA/NCLB) • Response to Intervention(RtI) is the best measure of problem “severity” • Program eligibility (initial and continued) decisions are best made based on RtI • Staff training and support (e.g., coaching) improve intervention skills • “Tiered” implementation improves service efficiency

    11. Status of Reauthorization • Title: “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act” • Passed House in 2003, Senate in 2004 • Signed by President Bush in December. • IN EFFECT July 1, 2005 • Regulations in Fall

    12. Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act • In general._Notwithstanding section 607(b), when determining whether a child has a specific learning disability as defined in section 602(29), a local educational agency shall not be required to take into consideration whether a child has a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in…

    13. Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act • (B) Additional authority._In determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, a local educational agency may use a process that determines if the childresponds to scientific, research-based intervention. • Process refers to “Problem Solving Process” • Responds refers to “Response to Intervention”

    14. (5) SPECIAL RULE FOR ELIBIGILITY DETERMINATION- In making a determination of eligibility under paragraph (4)(A), a child shall not be determined to be a child with a disability if the determinant factor for such determination is—(A) lack of appropriate instruction in reading, including in the essential components of reading instruction (as defined in section 1208(3) of the ESEA of 1965);(B) lack of instruction in math; or(C) limited English proficiency.

    15. Proposed Regs • For a child suspected of having a specific learning disability, • the group must consider, as part of the evaluation described in • §§300.304 through 300.306, data that demonstrates that-- • (1) Prior to, or as a part of the referral process, the child was • provided appropriate high-quality, research-based instruction in • regular education settings, consistent with section 1111(b)(8)(D) and • (E) of the ESEA, including that the instruction was delivered by • qualified personnel; and • (2) Data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement • at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student • progress during instruction, was provided to the child'sparents.

    16. Proposed Regs • (c) If the child has not made adequate progress after an appropriate • period of time, during which the conditions in paragraphs (b)(1) and • (2) of this section have been implemented, a referral for an • evaluation to determine if the child needs special education and • related services must be made.

    17. Implications • Poor/lack of instruction must be ruled out • Curricular access blocked by any of the following must be addressed • Attendance • Health • Mobility • Sufficient exposure to and focus on the curriculum must occur • Frequent, repeated assessment must be conducted

    18. So What Is Special Education-Really? • Characteristics AND Need (IDEA 04) • Instructional and Related Services Necessary to Profit from Education • Supplements General Education • Note: Does not supplant-particularly LD • “Unified” system of Education • Funds (really??) Instructional and Related Services When Those Reach a Certain Level of Intensity • What is “Special?” Intensity and Focus

    19. Is It All About Reading? Yes! • 52% of IDEA $$ go to LD Programs • 70% +/- of special education “activities” (e.g., evaluations, staffings, IEPs) related to LD cases • 94% of students in LD because of reading/language arts • 46% of IDEA $$ go to improve reading • Changes in LD Rules will affect the vast majority of special education “activities”

    20. Problem Solving and RtI • I really just want to be able to use RtI without all of that problem-solving stuff--can I do that?

    21. Problem Solving • A process that uses the skills of professionals from different disciplines to develop and evaluateintervention plans that improve significantly the school performance of students

    22. Define the Problem Defining Problem/Directly Measuring Behavior Problem Analysis Validating Problem Ident Variables that Contribute to Problem Develop Plan Evaluate Response to Intervention (RtI) Implement Plan Implement As Intended Progress Monitor Modify as Necessary Problem Solving Process

    23. Response to Intervention:How Well Are We Doing? • A systematic and data-based method for determining the degree to which a student has responded to intervention. • Determined solely through analyzing data • Begins with using data to IDENTIFY the problem • Services should intensify for a student as the student response to intervention is below expectations. • It IS NOT Problem-Solving

    24. Response to Intervention:How Well Are We Doing? • What do we do when a student has been “placed” in special education but the student’s rate of progress has not changed significantly? • This has significant implications for special education re-evaluations under the RtI model.

    25. Integrated Data System Nine Characteristics: • Directly assess the specific skills within state and local academic standards. • Assess marker variables that lead to the ultimate instructional target. • Are sensitive to small increments of growth over time. • Can be administered efficiently over short periods.

    26. Integrated Data System • May be administered repeatedly. • Can readily be summarized in teacher-friendly formats/displays. • Can be used to make comparisons across students. • Can be used to monitor an IEP over time. • Have direct relevance to the development of instructional strategies related to need.

    27. What RTI Is and Is Not Is: • RtI is an overall integrated system of service delivery. Is Not: • RtI is not just an eligibility system—a way of reducing the numbers of students placed into special education.

    28. What RTI Is and Is Not Is: • RtI is effective for students who are at risk for school failure as well as students in other disability categories. Is Not: • RtI is not limited to students with learning disabilities.

    29. What RTI Is and Is Not Is: • RtI is The use of RtI is an excellent opportunity to more effectively align IDEA and NCLB principles and practices. Is Not: • RtI is not just an special education approach.

    30. Use of RtI in the Student Eligibility Process So, how does the eligibility process look different using the RtI approach vs. traditional practices?

    31. Historical System RTI System Referral Universal Screening General Ed.-Scientifically Validated -Supplemental Treatments: T2 - 3 Non Responders Responders Eligibility Testing SPED Eligibility Evaluation Monitor Not Eligible Eligible Not Eligible Eligible SPED Intensive Treatment ? Non - SPED Intensive Treatment SPED Intensive Treatment Non Responders Responders Non Responders Responders Monitor Recycle Adapted from Fletcher, ’05, Used with Permission

    32. High above the hushed crowd, Rex tried to remain focused. Still, he couldn’t shake one nagging thought: He was an old dog and this was a new trick. We are being asked to accomplish things we’ve never done before. Lack of knowledge = Lack of confidence

    33. Traditional Discrepancy IQ/Achievement Rule Out Sociocultural SES Sensory Developmental Rule “In” Psychological Processes Data Norm referenced RtI Discrepancy Child/Benchmarks Rule Out Ineffective instruction/access Supplemental instruction Intensive instruction Rule “In” Identification of effective interventions Extraordinary supports for progress Data Curriculum-based Authentic Traditional vs RtI

    34. Traditional Discrepancy continues to exist Limited progress toward benchmarks Supports critical RtI Gap is closing If response is poor, should we keep the student in the program? If response is good, can we transition to a Tier 3,2 or 1? Re-Evaluations

    35. Problem Solving • Can be applied to the student, classroom, building, district, and problem levels • Student-academic and/or behavior problem • Classroom- discipline, returning homework • Building- bullying, attendance • District- over-/under-representation • Problem- problem common to students in building

    36. Problem-Solving:What It Is and Is Not • What it is…. • A process designed to maximize student achievement • A method focused on outcomes • A method to ensure accountability and intervention evaluation • It is all about student progress, regardless of where or who that student is • What it is not… • A way to avoid special education placements • A less expensive way of schooling

    37. What Are the Barriers? • It’s a different way of doing business for some. • It requires an expanded set of skills. • Interventions are integrated, not done by team members or special educators only • Requires frequent data collection and analysis--different culture • Focus is on HOW and student is doing, not WHERE the student is going

    38. What Are the Benefits? • Enhanced Student Performance • Accountability • Greater staff involvement • Greater parent involvement • Greater student involvement

    39. Discrepancy/Child Study vs Problem Solving • Focus on interventions(not test scores) • Low and high ability students respond equally well to phonemic awareness and phonics interventions. • Assessment linked to developing and monitoring the effectiveness of interventions(not to diagnoses or categories) • Balance between needs/resources(not strictly to eligibility) • Change process(not a “fix”) • Student outcome-based, not placement-based(What students DO is important, not what students are CALLLED)

    40. Need to Document the Effectiveness of Special Education Excedrin Headache #1 for Special Education!

    41. Effectiveness of LD Programs based on Discrepancy Model • Special education placements tend to stabilize the reading growth of students with reading disabilities rather than accelerate it. (Vaughn, 1998, Moody, 2000) • Acceleration rates about .04 SD/year. It will take 8 years to move from 5th to 9th percentile (Torgeson, in press; Hanushek, 1998) • Students who enter special education 2+ years below age mates can be expected to maintain disparity or fall farther behind. • Effect size for LD programs is .29 (Reschly) • It’s the nature of the program more than the label that makes the difference.

    42. Research on Problem-Solving/RtI • Focused on accuracy of referral methods and response to proven interventions • RtI methods (local comparisons and multiple measurement) were superior to teacher referral for problem accuracy. • Teachers over-referred male students • Greater proportion of African American students responded successfully to intervention relative to similarly at-risk Caucasian students. Reduced disproportional placements. • Early intervention was powerful • Significant reduction in LD placements (VanDerHeyden, Witt, and Naquin)

    43. Field-Based Research:Focus and Questions Asked • How long does it take to implement fully the problem-solving/RtI process? • What is the impact of PSM/RtI on students from diverse backgrounds? • What evidence exists to evaluate the satisfaction of teachers and parents with the implementation of PSM/RtI?

    44. Field-Based Research:Focus and Questions Asked • Is there evidence that the rate of placement in LD programs will accelerate with PSM compared to the discrepancy model? • What happens when we compare the accuracy of assessment methods used with the PSM/RtI model compared to the discrepancy model?

    45. How long does it take to implement fully the problem-solving/RtI process? • Evidence from Iowa and Minnesota would suggest that it takes 4-6 years (or more) to complete full implementation. Full implementation includes policy and regulatory change, staff development, and development of building/district-based procedures.

    46. Child-count percentages for students with high-incidence disabilities (1990-2001):Minneapolis Public Schools Problem-solving model phase-in began in 1994 Adapted from Marston (2001).

    47. What is the impact of PSM/RtI on students from diverse backgrounds? • VanDerHeyden, et al. report that students responded positively to the method and that African-American students responded more quickly than other ethnic groups. • Marston reported a 50%decrease in EMH placements over a 6-year period of time. • Marston reported a drop over a 3-year period in the percent of African-American students placed in special education from 67% to 55%, considering 45% of the student population was comprised of African-American Students.

    48. Child-count percentages for students with high-incidence disabilities (1990-2001):Minneapolis Public Schools Problem-solving model phase-in began in 1994 Adapted from Marston (2001).

    49. Percentage of African-American students at each stage of referral process at 41 schools N=9643 N=200 N=184 N=348 N=416 N=154 N=9170 N=124