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RTI: The Central Role of Instruction in NCLB and IDEA. Joseph Witt, PhD. NCLB and IDEA are Merging. Foundation is good practices in general education Eligibility determination in special education cannot be based on a lack of appropriate instruction in general education Comes Together in

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nclb and idea are merging
NCLB and IDEA are Merging
  • Foundation is good practices in general education
  • Eligibility determination in special education cannot be based on a lack of appropriate instruction in general education
  • Comes Together in
    • 3 Tiered Model
responsiveness to intervention model
Responsiveness to Intervention Model

Level IV

Special Education IEP Determination


Level III

Intensive Interventions

Level II

Selected Interventions

Intensity of Treatment

Level I

Universal Interventions


Degree of Unresponsiveness to Intervention


kalisha new way and old way
Kalisha: New Way and Old Way

Current Grade Placement=5th Current Reading Level=3rd

a discrepancy does exist but why
A Discrepancy Does Exist but Why?

The Discrepancy between Actual and Expected

two approaches
Two Approaches
  • Assume problem resides within child and search for problem
    • Learning Disability
  • Assume FIRST problem is with instruction
    • every child can learn given the right strategies
current system
Current System
  • Kalisha is Referred
  • Tested
    • Woodcocked
    • WISC—ered
  • Voila
    • Severe Discrepancy
    • Diagnosis: LD
    • Placement in Special Education
discrepancy explained kalisha has ld
Discrepancy Explained:Kalisha has LD!
  • Kalisha goes off to Special Education
  • The Classroom Teacher Returns to Normal Routines
  • School Based Team is Happy
    • Somethinghas been done about Kalisha

Why Consider a Change in IDEA to RTI

why change
Why Change
  • Disability designation and hall passes
  • LD placements up in US astronomically
  • Increase not a problem IF Students do Well in SPED
    • Outcomes for SPED Students Poor
could all those new placements really be ld
Could All Those New Placements Really be LD?
  • Is there a new LD epidemic
  • If not, what could explain the large increases in LD placement?
ld epidemic mystery solved
LD Epidemic Mystery Solved
  • Scientists have Discovered that often the student has merely not been instructed --ABT
    • Was teacher “highly qualified”
    • Did reading instruction include “essential components of reading”
    • Was reading instruction “evidenced based”
    • Did instruction occur consistently


now with nclb onus on district to show progress not blame student
Now with NCLB: Onus on District to Show Progress-Not Blame Student

Why is Student Low

  • Are progress data available showing most students are successful?
  • Are all subgroups successful?
  • If not how can you say any one child is LD
  • They have not had a chance to learn.
how do you know
How Do you KNOW
  • Core instruction is working within RTI
  • Which students need help
  • STEEP Example
rti lots of moving parts
RTI: Lots of “Moving” Parts
  • Screen ALL Students
  • Begin Intervention for Some
  • Monitor Progress
  • Make Changes if Needed
  • Schools Need Tech Assistance
    • Who will do these new Jobs
    • How do you do them
universal screening sounds like too much work
Universal Screening—Sounds Like Too Much Work
    • Reading—One Minute Individual Screening
    • Math—Group Screening
    • Can’t Do or Won’t Do
  • Most Schools Can Be Screened in a Day
  • Results returned to teachers that day
how does it work
How Does it Work?
  • First, All Children in the school are screened in reading and math
    • Using BRIEF classroom based tests—CBM
  • Next, Can’t Do/Won’t Do Assessment
    • Is problem skill or motivation

Manystudentsin the red zone.

The team should consider group or classwide interventions rather than referring one student at a time.

Core Curriculum Problems


Won’t Do Problem

Lack of Motivation is NOT a Disability


Can’t Do Problem

Needs Instructional Intervention

filters increase accuracy of referrals
“Filters” Increase Accuracy of Referrals

Many Children Are Screened

Few Individual Concerns

Fewer Non-responders

Even Less Require Full Evaluation

positive outcomes
Positive Outcomes
  • Biloxi, MS
    • Referrals in two schools from 1999-2003
      • 40 Total Per Year
    • Referrals 2004-2005
      • 1 Total
    • Why? School Psycs and Speech Paths with Graphs—modeling interventions
  • Vail Arizona
    • Multiple Baseline Across Schools
      • 30-50% Reduction in Referrals
    • Why? Focus on Core Curriculum—TEACHERS!!

Determining Lack of Instruction: Many students not Learning at Tier 1

Grade Level


The Sore Thumb Test

Kalisha in Red Seems to be a Problem

progress monitoring in general ed a must
Progress Monitoring in General ED a MUST
  • Inquiring minds want to know, how did Kalisha get behind in the first place
  • Did this happen gradually?
  • Why wasn’t something done sooner

Asleep at the Wheel?

progress for subgroups
Progress for Subgroups?

Why Place Hispanic Students—Core not Working


Let me See Reading

Will this be known in future?

what should you do if core curriculum is a problem
What Should you Do if Core Curriculum is a Problem
  • Options
    • Classwide Intervention
    • Large Group
    • Most students will respond
steep screening identified school wide math deficits in arizona school
STEEP Screening Identified School Wide Math Deficits in Arizona School

Green Zone

Yellow Zone

Red Zone

Each bar is a student’s performance

Math problems grades 3-5

how are these alike
How are these alike?
  • Overidentification
  • Disproportionality

Linked to Academic Progress or Lack Thereof


What if Kalisha’s Class is OK but She is Struggling?

Core instruction is OK.

Grade Level


Kalisha Sticks out Like a Sore Thumb

Core curriculum working for most but not her

tier 2 for kalisha response to intervention
Tier 2 For KalishaResponse to Intervention

Before Intervention

During Intervention


Avg. for his Class

Each Dot is one Day of Intervention

Intervention Sessions

Intervention in Reading


No Response to intervention

Before Intervention

During Intervention


Avg. for his Class

goals of tier 2 intervention
Goals of Tier 2 Intervention
  • To reduce the gap
  • To rule out ABT
    • Can’t be done with Woodcock or any other test.
    • Testing can’t know she wasn’t taught effectively!!!
    • The only way to determine if student can learn normally is to teach and look at student’s response
kalisha using rti via nclb and idea
Kalisha using RTI via NCLB and IDEA
  • Evidenced based core to prevent failure
  • Universal screening to detect Kalisha when she is slightly behind
  • Evidenced based Supplemental Instruction
  • Intensive Individual Intervention
  • New way: 95% Chance No SPED Needed
  • Old way: 90% Chance SPED Needed

Kalisha Needs the Juice: I-N-S-T-R-U-C-T-I-O-N

challenges exist
Challenges Exist
  • Research Base is Lacking in Some Areas
  • New Jobs Require
    • Existing people learning new Jobs
    • New RTI Specialists
      • Interventionists
  • Job Integrated Training
  • The big big challenge…Implementation Fidelity
here s the friction
Here’s the Friction
  • Currently Team
    • Develops Gut Feeling About the problem
    • Then Self Report cycle for teacher
      • How do you know child needs help.
      • How do you know intervention was done
      • How do you know intervention did not work
    • Ok lets test
      • Because that is ONLY real option
    • Now Lets place
    • Nobody has to do much
  • Old way easy and routine.
  • RTI—Lots of Moving Part
daunting facts
Daunting Facts
  • Yesseldyke Studies
  • The Big Green Arrow
  • If intervention fidelity is this low
    • Teacher delivered intervention impossible
changes may be needed
Changes May be Needed
  • Current Practice
    • Every child has collaboratively developed individual intervention
    • Problems
      • Not evidenced based
      • No one is an expert
      • Materials must be assembled
  • New Way
    • Tiny Number of Evidenced Based Interventions
    • Materials Readied—Pre-training
    • Use them when needed
due process and fidelity
Due Process and Fidelity
  • Old Way
    • We did the intervention now lets place
  • New Way—Results tell us:
    • Can child learn at normal rate?
      • Rule out ABT
    • What intensity of services are needed?
    • Intervention now serves an assessment purpose. Validity data needed.
common questions
Common Questions
  • How much improvement is “enough”
  • What “counts” as intervention
    • How long, what intensity
  • What if intervention not used
  • Due Process Requirements
    • Completely Untested
Wait to fail

Test her using

Block design

Woodcock her

Compare to National Norms


Screen early-help early

Compare to local norms


Use intervention response to determine child needs





Thank You

Contact: Joewitt@Joewitt.org

Web: www.joewitt.org