Tuesday, June 22, 2010


This is a newsletter that I signed up for and love to read about RTI.  Take a moment to check it out.  The link is located at the bottom if you wish to sign up.

Greetings from "The RTI Guy"!
It has been a while since I have answered your email questions in my newsletter so I thought I would take a little time this week to do just that!
Barbara writes...
"You say in your book and newsletter that Tier Three is delivered by special education staff.  Our district does not do that.  What's up?"
Nothing is up Barbara, just different semantics.  Some schools use a three-tier model of RTI and others use a four or even five-tier model.  Usually the top tier is special education, but in some schools they consider all of the tiers as "pre-special education".  In other words, all of the tiers must happen before a student is considered for special education.
In the end, it is all semantics.  Tier One is almost always what is happening in the full classroom.  After that we switch to small group interventions.  As you go up in tiers, the groups get smaller and the interventions get more intense.
The most important thing to keep in mind is not the words that you use.  What you want to keep in mind is "Do your interventions actually involve instruction?" and "Are you measuring to see if your interventions are actually working?"
Next Question:
Mike emails this question...
"How do I get my teachers to do Progress Monitoring?  They complain that it is extra work!"
Great question Mike!  Progress monitoring is new for many teachers, and sometimes is extra work.

The first teaching you must do is to teach why the chapter tests are not progress monitoring.  Each chapter test measure a different skill set.  Progress monitoring measures the SAME skill set repeatedly so that you can see a student's growth over time.

Then you must equip teachers will a simple progress monitoring tool.  At the elementary level this is usually an Oral Reading Fluency test like DIBELS or a reading comprehension test like the STAR reading test from Renaissance Learning.

Teachers should be expected to monitor the progress of specific students (who were identified with the Universal Screener) at least once each week and graph the results.

This is the only way that a teacher will know if their classroom instruction is working.
Hope this helps!
Eric writes:
"How are ELL (English Language Learners) students handled in RTI?"
This is an issue many schools struggle with.  The key is to apply the same principles that we do with all students within RTI: Try, Measure, Try Again!

First you have them experience full class instruction.  Progress monitor to see if they are learning during this.  If they are, keep it up!

If full class instruction is not being effective, try small group instruction in addition to full class instruction.  Progress monitor to see if they are learning during this.  If they are, keep it up!

If small group instruction is not being effective, keep trying smaller groups and more minutes of instruction.

The pattern is the same with ELL students as it is with non-ELL students:

Try something, measure, adjust.

Most importantly, DON'T keep doing something that is not working.  We don't have the time or money to waste.
Finally, a question from Monica:
"How do students with IEPs fit in RTI?"
Some schools will say that they don't fit in RTI...they already have an IEP so just do what is written in the IEP.
Other schools apply the core RTI concepts we keep talking about. 
First, make sure the intervention recommended by the IEP is research validated.
Second, use a valid progress monitoring tool to measure whether the student is learning or not.
After a period of time (usually 6-12 weeks) if the student is not making progress (as measured by your valid progress monitoring tool) you should change the intervention to one with greater intensity.
That is the core of RTI:  try something, measure, and if it is not working try something else.
It still works with IEP students.
Keep those questions coming...I would love to hear the specific issues you are dealing with at your school!
Looking for good interventions?  Don't forget to visit our new intervention review site by going to www.TotalRTI.com and clicking on "Intervention Reviews".
Have a great week!
-Pat Quinn
"The RTI Guy"

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