Response to Intervention (RTI) provides a comprehensive service delivery system designed to prevent academic problems, detect problems that do occur early, and intervene quickly to reduce the adverse consequences of learning or behavioral problems. One main purpose of RTI is to provide a coordinated system of effective and efficient instruction and intervention for all students in the schools. Another primary purpose of RTI is to diagnose specific learning disabilities (SLD) when students do not sufficiently respond to provided instruction and intervention (Baker, Fien, Baker, 2010).
Do Response to Intervention (RTI) processes provide the most effective opportunity to institutionalize formative assessment as a process for optimizing learning? Basic information about state planning and implementation of the Response to Intervention (RTI) approach within six Southeast Region states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina, as well as three local education agencies were examined by Sawyer, Holland, and Detgen, (2008). Results of the study found four main reasons why these states adopted RTI. These included:
- To address disproportionality;
- To promote overall student achievement;
- To better integrate general and special education; and
- To inform, or possibly determine, special education eligibility for students with learning disabilities.
The authors further identified a diversity of approaches for implementation of RTI that included leadership efforts, different strategies for implementation, and collaboration between state education departments or external partners. The study empirically compared the states' experiences and concerns. Thus, variables such as funding options, state planning practices, fidelity in implementation, identification of effective mathematics or behavior interventions, and secondary school implementation were examined. Efficacy in data collection and analysis was conspicuously absent.
A qualitative case study conducted by Dimick (2009) of administrators and teachers of a mid-sized, urban K-8 school examined views and knowledge about RTI. Results of the surveys, interviews and focus groups indicated that RTI components and critical elements may be improved during implementation. Specifically, results identified the value of increased leadership, training, communication, and teacher buy-in.
Implementation of RTI offers a system of coordinated services that provides instructional and behavioral interventions to at-risk students at earlier points in time while possibly identifying students with SLD at earlier ages. The result can be mitigation of the adverse impact of the disability or actual prevention for students developing disabilities (Stecker, Fuchs, & Fuchs, 2008). Other researchers (Deno, Reschly, Lembke, Magnusson, Callender, Windram, & Stachel, 2009) identified the benefits of a school-wide progress monitoring system developed in partnership between university personnel working with an urban elementary school’s teachers and administration to develop and implement RTI.
Universal screening has become accepted as part of an effective RTI process. Progress monitoring has also been accepted as an inherent part of RTI. However, have districts, school leaders, and teacher preparation programs made the need for alignment between RTI programs and formative assessment processes sufficiently clear?
Historical and organizational perspectives provide plausible explanations for problems related to the practice of formative assessment (Dorn, 2010). Is the practice of formative assessment for instructional and intervention decisions poorly understood because definitions are ambiguous, adoption is inconsistent, and prognosis for future use is questionable? If so, how might a top-down approach ensure the needed professional development to align RTI programs and formative assessment processes? System change leading to clear alignment between RTI programs and formative assessment processes should include identification of school-level personnel to coordinate the collection of formative-assessment data as part of progress monitoring analysis and reporting in relation to RTI processes. This endeavor must also involve teacher preparation programs providing sufficient opportunities for teacher candidates and educational leaders to practice embedding formative assessment processes within progress monitoring expectations as part of an effective RTI program.
Anderson, C.J. (February 28, 2018) Aligning effective response to intervention programs to formative assessment
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Deno, S. L., Reschly, A. L., Lembke, E. S., Magnusson, D., Callender, S. A., Windram, H., & Stachel, N. (2009). Developing A school-wide progress-monitoring system. Psychology in the Schools, 46(1), 44-55. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ824903
Dimick, K. (2009). Response to intervention research to practice: Exploring a school in transition---a case study. (M.S., California State University, Long Beach). , 142. Retrieved from https://pqdtopen.proquest.com/doc/305180430.html?FMT=ABS
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Sawyer, R., Holland, D., & Detgen, A., (2008). State policies and procedures and selected local implementation practices in response to intervention in the six southeast region states. issues & answers. REL 2008-no. 063.Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED502697
Stecker, P., Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. (2008). Progress monitoring as essential practice within response to intervention. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 27(4), 10. Retrieved from https://www.questia.com/read/1P3-1614105741/progress-monitoring-as-essential-practice-within-response