Universal Screening:Answers to District Leaders Questions Are you uncertain about the practical matters of Response to Intervention?
INTRODUCING RTI or Basic Review RTI is the practice of providing high quality instruction and interventions matched to the student’s needs, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals, and applying child RESPONSE data to important educational decisions. (NASDSE, 2005)
HISTORY OF RTI • Response to Intervention (RTI) sprang to life on Dec. 3rd. 2004, as President George W. Bush signed the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act, which reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, now called IDEA 2004.”
RtI • Provides guidelines that schools must follow when identifying students for Special Education services • ALLOWS schools to use an RTI model to identify LD • FORBIDS states to force school systems to identify LD by using a “discrepancy” model
40% 60% Tier 3 Tier 2 Tier 1 20% Moderate reading difficulty 18% Mild reading difficulty 35% Do better with direct instruction 20% Easily read with any type of formal instruction 5% Effortless 2% Severe The Reading Spectrum
Question 1: • At what grade level should universal screening begin?
Answer 1: • Universal Screening should begin at kindergarten or earlier, to assess early literacy and early numeracy skills.
Question 2 • What frequency is recommended for universal screening? Do we test all students each time?
Answer 2: • All students are assessed three times per year in universal screening.
Question 3: • Our school is a Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), testing in the fall and spring, but not during the winter. Is this something that should be addressed in in terms of universal screening? Are we defeating the purpose of using MAP data if we are not testing during the winter?
Answer 3: • Universal Screening is based on a model of testing three times a year. If only done twice a year, how can you make mid year corrections? • We are trying to identify students at risk through out the school year. • We want to measure the student’s growth rate.
Question 4: • What can administrators do to ensure that interventions are being used and that their staff understands the importance of using interventions?
Answer 4: • Getting “Buy In” and making sure that we have FIDELITY in implementation. • What we are doing – Is it presently working? • That what gets measured gets done! Instructional leaders in a building must physically check to make sure intervention is being done. Four data points below the aim line, time to check how intervention is applied.
Question 5: • How often should progress monitoring take place at Tier 1 and Tier 2?
Answer 5: • Progress monitoring at Tier 1 should be ongoing and more informal than Tier 2. • Tier 2 students progress monitored weekly. Some say every other week is sufficient. However, this would take too much time to get sufficient data points needed to make a decision.
Question 6: • What materials should be used with a Tier 1 small group for progress monitoring?
Answer 6: • Typically the best measure of general reading skill level is oral reading fluency (ORF). Use ORF for progress monitoring tool in elementary levels, and then couple it with comprehension tool in middle school.
Question 7: • How do you determine what grade level a child is reading by measuring oral reading fluency?
Answer 7: • Determining reading level is a placement issue. • To determine instructional level use Survey Level Assessment. • Child not meeting benchmarks, then use ORF probes at descending grade levels until scores in low average range. • Then determine the goal for the child.
Question 8: • How do you know when it’s time to move a child up a grade level according to oral reading fluency probes?
Answer 8: • Progress monitoring will inform you. • If the rate of progress meets the goal in a shorter time period, then the goal gets raised until the child achieves a skill level that allows the child to function at grade level.
Question 9: • When we are looking at universal screening, are we considering the classroom, the school, the town, the district, or the state?
Answer 9: • Ideally you want to begin with the individual child, compare that to the classroom, and then compare that child to others in the same grade level at the school. • Then the child to others in the same grade level in the district and nationally. • You may think you are doing well in the classroom, then national norms, but nope.
Question 10: • How important is it that the rate of growth be derived out of local norms?
Answer 10: • Rates of growth are important using local norms to assess efficacy of Tier 1 and setting goals for Tiers 2 and 3. • If a school is not meeting the minimal 80% model, then the use of district or national benchmarks result in a disproportionate number of students being referred for Tier 2 and 3 when the real issue is Tier 1 curriculum and instruction.
Answer 10: • Local norms should be measured against district, state, and national growth rates to be able to ascertain whether appropriate growth is occurring.
Question 11: • Why is universal screening necessary to the success of RTI? It seems that its purpose is to determine which students need intervention – is that correct?
Answer 11: • Purpose – determine which students need intervention. • Some say it is the sole determinant, but that is not true. • Any students get bored in class? Helping students that don’t need help. • There will always be a child who will do poorly on a specific skill, but compensates in some way.
Question 12: • What are good universal screening tools for reading and math?
Answer 12: • There are several good screeners for reading. EPS’s EPIC, AIMSweb, DIBELS, DRA, • For math EPS’s EPIC, AIMSweb, and STAR. • Whatever screener you use it should be directly tied to your progress monitor. • One vetted by the National Center for Progress Monitoring.
Question 13: • When you are using a universal screening tool and progress is not being made, how do teachers with 100 students find the time to give interventions when they also have other teaching responsibilities?
Answer 13: • At the elementary level, model says at least three - 30 minute interventions per week, and use differentiated instruction. • It boils down to developing an intervention period during the day that has the least impact on staff. • This question also suggests there is a problem with differentiation of instruction.
Answer 13: • Middle and High school are about creating a time for intervention during the day. • A 9th grader reading at a 3rd grade level. Here a reading specialist to work on the students reading skills. • At the secondary level is starts to resemble a Special Ed type of model.
Question 14: • Does universal screening take the place of teacher referral?
Answer 14: • Universal screening does NOT take the place of a teacher referral. • You will see 85-90% of the students being considered for intervention based on data that brings the case to the table. • You will see some referrals from teachers.
Question 15: • How is the RtI model implemented?
Answer 15: • First Phase – AWARENESS • Second Phase – Commitment at the district level! • Principals are key. • Materials +Technology +Teaching Method
Question 16: • How do you convince a teacher to move away from “testing assessments” and embrace universal screening data?
Answer 16: • You have to show teachers that universal screening data provides more information and is easier to deal with that “testing assessments.” • Graphs – Box and Whisker charts • Need consistency within buildings, or you will have a mish mash of data.
Question 17: • If a child has a below average IQ, should’t gains be measured with this taken into account?
Answer 17: • The child’s IQ should only be a determining factor if it is so low that he/she is identified as disabled under cognitive impairment. • Children with IQ’s in the low 80s can make gains given proper support.