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SPECIAL EDUCATION DECISION MAKING: RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION. David Prasse, Ph.D. Loyola University Chicago dprasse@luc.edu Joseph F. Kovaleski, D.Ed. Cornwall-Lebanon School District jkovaleski@clsd.k12.pa.us Richard E. Hall, Ph.D. Eastern Lancaster County School District

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    1. SPECIAL EDUCATION DECISION MAKING: RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION David Prasse, Ph.D. Loyola University Chicago dprasse@luc.edu Joseph F. Kovaleski, D.Ed. Cornwall-Lebanon School District jkovaleski@clsd.k12.pa.us Richard E. Hall, Ph.D. Eastern Lancaster County School District dick_hall@elanco.k12.pa.us

    2. Influences on Current Practice • IDEA 1997 • LD Summit – August 2001 • President’s Commission on Special Education • Robert Pasternack’s Statements on Reform • Reauthorization of IDEA (underway)

    3. Four Phases to Decision-Making • Assess Lack of Instruction • Assess Response to Instruction During Pre-referral Intervention. • Appraising the Extent of Academic Deficiency. • Evaluating the Need for Specially Designed Instruction.

    4. Background Information:Ryan • Ryan is 8 years, 9 months and in third grade. • He has academic struggle in reading and received Reading Recovery in first grade and now receives Title 1 services for reading. • Ryan was evaluated for Gifted Support in second grade and achieved a Full Scale IQ of 123 on the WISC-III. • Ryan’s rate of progress in math was above third grade level. • District standardized achievement test (Terra Nova) placed reading skills at the 9th percentile and math skills at the 75th percentile • CBA probes from third grade reading material indicated Ryan read at a median rate of 39 words correct per minute.

    5. Ryan… • Third grade local norms indicate typical third grade students read at a median rate of 79 words correct per minute with this same material. • The Woodcock Diagnostic Reading Battery was administered by the reading specialist and Ryan achieved a Broad Reading Standard Score of 85. • Data from standard tests indicated a significant ability-achievement discrepancy based on the 38 standard score difference between his FS IQ and his reading score. • CBA indicated a significant discrepancy between Ryan’s fluency rate and that of his third grade peers.

    6. Baseline Data:Ryan • Ryan’s reading fluency rate was assessed using probes developed from the third grade reading curriculum material. • Over 5 probes Ryan’s fluency was at a median rate of 39 words correct per minute with 2 errors (95% accuracy). • Locally developed norms for third grade students indicated a fluency rate of 79 words correct per minute. • Data from Fuchs and Fuchs (1993) indicated a reading fluency acquisition rate of 1.5 words correct per week over the course of the school year. • Baseline data indicated a flat to slightly downward trend in Ryan’s fluency acquisition. • Assessment data from the Woodcock Diagnostic Battery and error analysis indicated weaknesses in rapid, automatic decoding and word attack skills. Ryan had single and double vowel confusions, difficulty with double vowels /oo/, /ea/ and double consonants /sh/, /gh/, etc. Occasionally he would add sounds to words. He had consistent difficulty with vowel final /e/ pattern words.


    8. IDEA 97-FINDINGS & PURPOSES • Focus on high expectations • Ensure access to the general education curriculum • Strengthen role of parents to ensure meaningful participation • Special education must become a service rather than a place

    9. FINDINGS & PURPOSES (cont.) • Provide special education & related services and aids and supports in the regular classroom • Provide incentives for whole-school approaches and pre-referral intervention • Reduce the need to label as necessary to address learning needs.

    10. FINDINGS & PURPOSES (cont.) • Focus on teaching and learning, while reducing paperwork and requirements that do not assist in improving educational results.

    11. IDEA 97-EVALUATION PROCEDURES • A variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional and developmental information, including information provided by the parent - to enable the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum or, for preschool children to participate in appropriate activities.

    12. IDEA 97-EVALUATION PROCEDURES (cont.) • Evaluations provided by the parent • Classroom-based observations and assessments • On the basis of that review, and input from the child’s parents,identify what additional data, if any, are needed to determine special education needs.


    14. (5) SPECIAL RULE FOR ELIGIBILITY 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 lack of instruction in reading or math or limited English proficiency. [IDEA §614(b)(5)]

    15. What the Senate intended: • Students may be identified as LD because they were not taught the “core skill of reading” effectively. • Not taught = lack of instruction (LOI) • LOI will decrease over-identification and focus schools’ efforts on instruction in the primary grades.

    16. DEFINITION OF LEARNING DISABILITIES (excerpts from IDEA) • §300.541 Criteria for determining the existence of a specific learning disability. A team may determine that a child has a specific learning disability if- (1) The child does not achieve commensurate with his or her age and ability levels in one or more of the areas listed in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, if provided with learning experiences appropriate for the child's age and ability levels; • § 300.543 A team may determine that a child has a specific learning disability if… (6) Whether there is a severe discrepancy between achievement and ability that is not correctable without special education and related services;

    17. LD Summit (August 2001) • Criticized wait to fail model • Criticized disconnect between current assessment practices and marker variables • Criticized ability-achievement discrepancy approach • Pointed to response to instruction as alternative evaluation procedure

    18. PRESIDENTS COMMISION SPECIAL EDUCATION: FINDINGS • Current system – process above results • Current system – wait to fail model • Dual system- general and special • Inadequate parent options and recourse • Culture of compliance • Identification methods lack validity • Better teacher preparation needed • Rigorous research and evidence-based practice • Focus on compliance and bureaucratic imperatives not academic achievement

    19. President’s Commission on Special Education: Recommendations • Focus on results – not on process. • Embrace a model of prevention not failure • Consider children with disabilities as general education children first.

    20. President’s Commission on Special Education: Recommendations (cont.) • Change the way we assess for LD. • Eliminate the necessity for IQ-achievement discrepancy. • Shift to academically relevant assessments. • Change focus from eligibility determination to successful interventions.

    21. President’s Commission on Special Education: Recommendations (cont.) • Use response to instruction as a key measure. • Apply scientifically based instruction before referring for evaluation.

    22. The Commission believes that the approach to all high-incidence disabilities needs to shift from a failure model to a prevention model.

    23. To prevent the wrong children from being served, the Commission recommends that current regulations be modified so that the student’s response to scientifically based instruction is part of the criteria for SLD.

    24. Robert Pasternack’s Testimony to the House Committee…Statement by Robert Pasternack, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services On Learning Disabilities before the House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee, Subcommittee on Education Reform

    25. Dr. Pasternack’s Statements • Half of the students receiving special education are LD. • 80% to 90% of students with LD have reading disabilities. • Most students can learn to read with scientifically based instruction. • A very few students fail to respond to even our best instructional approaches.

    26. Dr. Pasternack’s Statements (cont.) • Studies of responsiveness to intervention generally do not find relationships with IQ or IQ-discrepancy. • May seem counterintuitive, but IQ tests do not measure cognitive skills like phonological awareness that are closely associated with LD in reading.

    27. Reading Statistics • 5% of children learn to read effortlessly • 20-30% learn relatively easily once exposed to reading instruction • For 60% of children learning to read is a much more formidable task • For at least 20-30% of children, reading is one of the most difficult tasks that they will have to master. • For 5% of students even with explicit and systematic instruction, reading will continue to be a challenge. • MacKenzie (2000), citing statistics from Lyon, Kamme’enue, Simmons, et al.

    28. Summary: Problems with the Discrepancy Approach • False positives (high IQ; average achievement) • False negatives (the slow learner myth) • Need to wait until discrepant to deliver SDI • Doesn’t link with intervention

    29. Status of IDEA Reauthorization • Moving quickly through committee • Many controversial issues • Would include revision of procedure for LD identification process

    30. …when determining whether a child has a specific learning disability as defined by this Act, the local educational agency 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.

    31. Can we assume effective instruction?

    32. CURRICULUM CASUALTIES • "...the teacher's concern for getting through the curriculum ...may...be a prime source of curriculum casualties who end up in special education." Rosenfield, S. (1987). Instructional consultation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, p. 27.

    33. Features of an EffectiveEarly Literacy Program • Kindergarten screening for phonological awareness • Kindergarten intervention program to address phonological awareness • Regular (quarterly) assessments of all students on phonological/phonemic awareness and reading decoding • Flexible intervention (remedial) programs to address needs of students who fall behind • Reading program based on sufficient time allocated to direct instruction in phonemic awareness and efficient decoding of text


    35. Using Response to Instruction to Determine Eligibility for Special Education: Four Phases • 1. Assessing Lack of Instruction • 2. Assessing Response to Instruction • 3. Determining Extent of Deficiency • 4. Evaluating the Need for Specially Designed Instruction

    36. Phase 1: Assessing Lack of Instruction Appraising the Student’s Instructional History and Current Instructional Environment

    37. APPROACHES TO ASSESSING LACK OF INSTRUCTION • Check of student’s history • Check on history of instructional procedures • Assessment of current classroom instructional environment

    38. ASSESSING LACK OF INSTRUCTIONHISTORICAL FACTORS • Attendance – traditional approach • Moving – number of different schools • Discontinuity of instruction • Cultural/language mismatch

    39. ASSESSING LACK OF INSTRUCTION • Can’t be done without assessing instructional environment • Ultimately is tied to treatment integrity • Techniques and approaches same as those necessary for all data-based decision making • Data-based decision making in special education

    40. ASSESSING LACK OF INSTRUCTION:INSTRUCTIONAL ENVIRONMENT • To what extent is instruction planned? • How is instruction managed? • How is instruction delivered? • How is instruction monitored?

    41. INSTRUCTIONAL ENVIRONMENT COMPONENTS • Instructional match • Teacher expectations • Classroom environment • Instructional presentation • Cognitive emphasis • Motivational strategies

    42. INSTRUCTIONAL ENVIRONMENT COMPONENTS (cont.) • Relevant practice • Informed feedback • Academic engaged time • Adaptive instruction • Progress evaluation • Student understanding (Ysseldyke & Christenson, 1994)

    43. ASSESSING THE INSTRUCTIONAL ENVIRONMENT – METHODS • Must be structured • Systematic


    45. WHAT CAN BE LEARNED • Academic engagement • Teacher directed instruction • Active teaching/learning • Opportunity to learn • Demonstrate/prompt/practice • Guided practice • Rate of accurate student response

    46. Alternative to Phase I: Tier 1 School-wide Screening and Intervention

    47. Tier 1: School-wide Screening and Intervention • Primary grades • Early assessment of marker variables (e.g., DIBELS) • Identification of high risk students • Targeted intervention to high risk students using research-based procedures (group) • Ongoing monitoring of performance (quarterly)