Response to Intervention (RtI) Frequently Asked Questions

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1 1. Is RTI required for cases that require immediate referral for special education services? While RtI supports are always available to all students, in some instances, an immediate referral for a Multidisciplinary Team (M Team) Comprehensive Evaluation will be initiated, if the student demonstrates severe cognitive impairments, severe speech impairments, physical or sensory impairments, presents as a danger to self or others, or if parent requests an evaluation. If this occurs, an SST/PST Intervention Plan (FM# 6290) should be developed as the child awaits the M Team Comprehensive Evaluation. For parent requests (for students suspected of having EBD or LD) Tier 3 interventions are developed, implemented, and monitored for response during the 60 day evaluation time line. 2. When completing the GAP analysis, what data should be used to make peer comparisons? What is considered the peer group? Gap analysis occurs at every Tier as part of RtI. The focus of the analysis starts at the grade or class level at Tier 1, the intervention group level at Tier 2, and the individual level at Tier 3. In Tier 1, the group gap is the difference between the percent of students at mastery from the Tier 1 goal of 80%. This can be measured by FCAT, FAIR or other data that indicates proficiency outcomes. When comparing an individual student receiving Tier 2 intervention to his or her peers, the student s level of achievement and rate of progress should be compared to other students who are receiving the same intervention. The mean or median score of the group, and the mean or median rate of progress for the group constitutes the group performance. Also, when there are different levels of achievement or progress for AYP subgroups in a particular intervention, then the individual student is also compared to the peer AYP subgroup. 3. Do all interventions used for the RTI process need to be research based? At Tier 1 and Tier 2, instruction and interventions will always be research based. As the individual nature of each child s needs receiving Tier 3 interventions varies, and we move away from a standard protocol, it is unlikely that specific intervention plans will have been researched or evidenced based. The components of the plan will usually include ways of increasing intervention specificity by reducing focus, and increasing intensity (more time, increased engagement, decreased group size). Refer to the district s Education Plan EDUCATIONPLAN.pdf and Comprehensive Research Based Reading Plan for specific intervention listings and the reading assessment/instruction decision tree. 4. Does the Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) provide interventions prior to requesting a comprehensive evaluation for possible language impairment? The SLP will be working closely with classroom teachers to provide assistance across the Tiers. In Tier 3, the SLP will work closely with the classroom teacher to provide language based interventions for identified students. The student s response to these interventions is then monitored and their response to the intervention is documented. Eligibility for the Language Impaired Program is based on student s response to the intervention(s) as well as results of a standardized measure. MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 1

2 5. What diagnostic assessments can be given without parental/guardian consent? IDEA indicates that parental consent is not necessary in the collection of data (which can include assessment) for the development of instruction/interventions in general education. Once a student is referred for a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility, parent permission is required to collect or review evaluation data which will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility. 6. Can Voyager Adventure check points be used as the sole ongoing progress monitoring tool? No. These check points are part of the Tier 2 Voyager program and assess skill development (formative assessment) aligned with the intervention program for those students at Tier 2. They can be used to show overall effectiveness of Voyager as a Tier 2 intervention. The checkpoints are not adequate measures of ongoing progress or sufficient to provide data relative to individual response to intervention. Specific recommendations for ongoing progress monitoring of reading can be found at 7. What will the SLD Comprehensive Evaluation completed by the school psychologist look like? A comprehensive evaluation is completed for the purposes of summarizing the RtI process for an individual student for the explicit purpose of determining exceptional student eligibility for LD, EBD, and SI/LI. The comprehensive evaluation report will include such considerations as: reason for referral; social history; background information; a review of the exclusionary factors; a review of all RTI data collected across the three tiers of instruction and intervention, o a description of the hypothesis generation and verification methods and findings, o descriptions of interventions implemented, o evidence of fidelity of intervention implementation, o a determination of performance discrepancy, rate of progress and instructional need; classroom and testing observations conducted by the school psychologist; academic assessment; and any additional assessment as appropriate. The comprehensive evaluation for referrals other than SLD, EBD and SI/LI will need to conform to the assessment requirements of the particular IDEA category. 8. How long is long enough? Specifically, when do we move students from one tier to another? There is no set timeline. For Tier 1, students should begin to receive intervention as soon as the RtI team has data indicating that a student is not meeting grade level academic standards or has significant risk of not meeting standards (based on screening or progress monitoring data). For Tier 2, a student should begin to receive Tier 3 supports when there is evidence that Tier 2 supports are producing a positive response for most students receiving them but not for the student of interest or, lacking evidence of the overall effectiveness of Tier 2, the student s gap analysis reveals a significantly larger gap and slower progress than average for the students receiving the same Tier 2 intervention. MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 2

3 For Tier 3, the team must consider three factors when determining appropriate expectations for intervention duration. First, the size of the gap between where the student is performing and grade level expectations must be considered. A student who is two or more years behind may show progress on skills that are below what can be demonstrated on grade level work. Second, the recommended or published guidelines for intervention duration, or the knowledge of the team regarding usual results seen with the same or similar interventions should be considered when determining how long it should take for an intervention to reap benefits. Finally, the sensitivity and reliability of the tool being used to measure progress should be considered. Some progress monitoring assessments require a number of administrations over a period of time to reliably reflect a rate of progress. Ultimately, each student is an individual and the RtI team or SST must determine whether the rate of response accurately represents progress and will close or narrow the gap between where the student started and where the student needs to be. 9. If a student was referred for InD but does not qualify, how can we help the student at Tier 3? The SST/PST committee can use available data to create an intervention plan for implementation in Tier 3 for these students. The committee will have data at Tier 3 to review and use to make decisions on the student s progress and need for additional support. If the student has a positive response to the intervention, then continue the plan as designed. If not, return to SST/PST and determine further action. 10. What are the Tier 2 interventions for an ELL student and what instruments are to be used to progress monitor? ELL s who have been in the program for less than 2 years, receive 150 minutes of home language as their intervention. Progress Monitoring in Spanish: McGraw Hill LAS link (assessment in Spanish). Progress Monitoring in Haitian Creole: Use assessment of basic skills in Haitian Creole. ELL students who have been in the program for more than 2 years and are considered at risk, receive 150 minutes of home language arts and Tier 2 supplemental intervention. MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 3

4 11. When is the FAB completed? A FAB is completed when the student has not responded to Tier 1 or Tier 2 behavioral intervention(s) and requires an individualized behavioral intervention plan. For these cases, the FAB should be completed prior to scheduling the SST/PST meeting. The Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) will be completed, implemented and monitored in Tier What is the procedure in RtI for evaluating a student who is being home schooled or is in a private school? Districts must ensure that all reasonable efforts are directed toward communicating and working with home education parents and private school staff to obtain the required information regarding the nature of interventions implemented by the private school or parents and the students response. In the event that a private school or parent is unable or unwilling to assist in the process or provide the necessary information to meet the evaluation and eligibility requirements for a given disability, despite reasonable efforts by the district to provide support or obtain the information in other ways, the team may decide that there is not sufficient data to determine eligibility. In that case the student would be determined to be ineligible for ESE services (Copied from Haithcock memo 2011). 13. Do charter schools follow the same RtI/SST/PST procedures as M DCPS? Yes. 14. In the case of a Kindergarten student who is DD, which assessments other than the first and second FAIR are available midyear? A student entering Kindergarten as DD should automatically be given Tier 2 interventions and be monitored on a monthly basis. If the area of need is reading, Tier 1 should also be monitored through FAIR TDI s on a more frequent basis to inform instruction (formative assessment). Voyager progress monitoring or DIBELS probes are two examples of progress monitoring tools that may be used at the Tier 2 level. 15. What does the reevaluation process entail for those Developmentally Delayed (DD) students in Kindergarten? If SLD is suspected, RTI data will be required and the SST/PST procedures should be followed. All documents/data will be reviewed at time of staffing and considered at time of eligibility. 16. What types of interventions are available for math and writing? Curriculum and Instruction are in the process of developing interventions. Visit Intervention Central for great interventions/strategies ideas. The school s reading coach and/or math chair are great sources of intervention ideas. 17. Who is responsible for collecting/documenting Tier 2 data? Each school must create an RtI plan that describes their OPM data collection and review process. As delineated in the CCRP, the school RtI team will review FAIR data to determine the intensity of Tier 2 MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 4

5 intervention for students and the frequency of ongoing progress monitoring. The CCRP, FCRR and the MDCPS Problem Solving/Response to Intervention Guide ( give specific recommendations for Tier 2 OPM. 18. What data can be used to document that a student has been exposed to effective core instruction in reading? Tier 1 reading instruction is high quality, evidence based instruction provided to the whole class. Differentiated instruction at Tier 1 is vital, and teachers should use reading measures to collect data to identify the skills students need to target for improvement. Differentiation can occur by varying the time, content, degree of teacher support, scaffolding, and may be carried out during independent work time or small group instruction. Schools may use program mastery tests to ensure that students are learning content at a high level (at least 75 80% mastery). Schools may use FCAT data (Level 3 or higher) or district selected benchmark data to demonstrate that 75 80% of students of the same demographic as the student in question are meeting state approved, grade level reading benchmarks. Meeting the expectations of the FAIR assessment or another valid and reliable reading measure are also viable options. 19. Does a student s performance data have to be compared to the performance of other students with similar demographics at the class, school, district, state, and national level? Yes, student s performance data have to be compared to the performance of other students with similar demographics at the class, school, district, state, and national level, whichever is most appropriate. Of course this can only occur if you have available and relevant data to conduct such comparisons. Comparison at the class, grade, school or district is preferred since those comparisons are with peers who have received a similar educational experience. State and national level comparisons would not reflect the impact of the local school experience to the same degree. If comparisons are not made, disproportionate referrals for special education are likely between the NCLB disaggregated groups and students may be inappropriately identified as having a disability. 20. What FAIR scores can support the determination of whether a student is in need of reading intervention? The Probability of Reading Success (PRS) in K 2 and the FCAT Success Probability (FSP) in 3 12 are an initial starting point for determining whether a student is in need of some level of intervention. The PRS and FSP are linked to gold standard outcomes being at or above grade level on SAT in K 2 and passing FCAT in grades Students with PRS and FSP scores less than.15 need intensive intervention. Students scoring in the yellow zone may benefit from intervention, especially if their PRS or FSP scores are less than.70. For students in grades K 2, performance on comprehension, vocabulary, and Targeted Diagnostic Inventory (TDI) tasks can be used to group students for intervention. For students in grades 3 12, performance on Reading Comprehension, Maze and/or Word Analysis (WA) tasks are relevant to the nature and intensity of intervention. MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 5

6 21. What data can be used to monitor the progress of students receiving supplemental (Tier 2) and intensive (Tier 3) reading interventions? The content of the assessments selected for progress monitoring must reflect the skills that are the target for the Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction. The assessments selected for progress monitoring must be 1) sensitive to small changes in performance, 2) capable of being administered frequently, and 3) aligned with benchmarks for that subject area. There are Ongoing Progress Monitoring (OPM) Tools available through FAIR. For grades K 2: Targeted Diagnostic Inventory (TDI) tasks that can be administered more frequently to monitor progress of foundational reading skills, such as phonemic awareness and phonics, across time. These are provided as Blackline Masters in the FAIR Assessment Kit. Progress on TDI tasks can be monitored across time using a data template found at the OPM link on the FAIR website ( Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) passages (for grades 1 5) can be used as a repeated measure every 20 instructional days to monitor students receiving Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction. FAIR ORF passages have been equated for difficulty, so different passages within a grade level set can be administered. The adjusted fluency score, which enables monitoring of progress across time, can be obtained by using the lookup table at the FAIR OPM link on the FAIR website ( Oral Reading Fluency passages are provided as Blackline Masters in the FAIR Assessment Kit. There is a data template at the OPM website that can be used to graph progress. For grades 3 12: Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) passages (for grades 3 5 only) can be used as a repeated measure every 20 instructional days to monitor students receiving Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction. These are provided as Blackline Masters in the FAIR Assessment Kit. Scaffolded Discussion Templates can be used as a repeated measure every 20 instructional days to monitor students receiving Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction. FAIR Scaffolded Discussion Template passages have been equated for difficulty, so different passages within a grade level set can be administered. The adjusted fluency score, which enables monitoring of progress across time, can be obtained by using the lookup table at the FAIR OPM link on the FAIR website ( Scaffolded Discussion Template passages are provided as Blackline Masters in the FAIR Assessment Kit. There is a data template at the OPM website that can be used to graph progress. In addition, progress monitoring assessments embedded in the curriculum and/or progress monitoring tools specifically developed to monitor progress in reading can be used. The National Center on Response to Intervention reviews some of the commonly used progress monitoring tools at MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 6

7 22. How frequently should a student s progress be monitored? There is no requirement regarding the frequency of progress monitoring. The rate of progress monitoring should be based on the intensity/frequency of instruction/intervention AND a reasonable expectation for how long it would take a student to acquire that skill. A student s progress should be monitored at a frequency that takes the following into consideration: How quickly typical learners acquire the skill. This is important because the determination of the amount of time between progress monitoring should take into consideration the amount of time it would take a typical learner to acquire the skill. Assessing too frequently may not permit sufficient development of the skill between assessments. The frequency and intensity of the interventions. Interventions that are provided more frequently and with greater intensity are likely to have an impact more quickly than interventions that are less intense. The recommendations of the producer/publisher of the progress monitoring tools. 23. How is a positive response to intervention defined? A positive response to intervention occurs when: A significant increase in the student s rate of progress is documented. A positive response to instruction/intervention is demonstrated by a significant improvement in the rate of student performance, such that the performance goal will be reached within a reasonable period of time (based on goal setting in the Problem Identification step of the data based problem solving process), excerpt taken from the MTSS Implementation Components How long (duration) must a student receive interventions prior to being referred for an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education? There is no prescribed length of time for a student to receive interventions prior to being referred for an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education. This depends on variables specific to that student s experience and needs. Likewise, decisions about the duration, type(s), and number of interventions must be based on an individual student s performance data; therefore, there is no prescribed length of time for intervention implementation prior to a referral for an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education. Sufficient time must be provided to: a) determine if the intervention is working and b) close the gap between the performance of the target student and peers or benchmark expectations when effective interventions have been documented; the greater the gap, the more time that may be needed to bring the target student into the range of expected performance. Accordingly, it is important that the team consider each individual student s needs and use data from frequent progress monitoring and other sources to determine the length of time to implement interventions and plan revisions to interventions accordingly. Other factors to consider include: The student s baseline performance level, The student s prior history of effective interventions, MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 7

8 The stability of the student in the current school and instructional environment (e.g., length of time the student has been enrolled, regular school attendance), and The intensity of the interventions. The problem solving/intervention process must be in place long enough to determine which intervention(s) result in a significant increase in the student s rate of progress and the extent to which special education resources are required to sustain progress or close the gap between current levels of performance and benchmarks. Students who are determined eligible for special education services will continue to receive the recommended amount and intensity of supports articulated through a well defined process that measures the growth towards achievement of the identified goals. 25. When is it appropriate to request an evaluation to determine eligibility as a student with a disability? A referral for special education can occur at any time and does not result in the problem solving process being discontinued, nor does it change the primary purpose of engaging in problem solving: determining what instruction accelerates the student s learning. A referral for special education should occur under any of these conditions: When the interventions are working but the intensity of those interventions or the type (highly specialized) require specialized educational services. When the data indicate that none of the interventions delivered with fidelity through the problem solving process are effective, and it is anticipated that the student s needs can be identified and met only through special education services. Whenever a request for evaluation is made by the parent(s). It is important to note that a referral for special education is not an intervention. Best practices would suggest that it is important to identify effective interventions prior to a referral (if those interventions are specialized enough or intense enough to need special education services) for special education rather than refer a student for special education because effective interventions have not been identified. Students must demonstrate both a need for the services and the characteristics of the disability to be eligible for special education services. RtI should be considered as merely one important element within the larger context of the Specific Learning Disability (SLD) and Language Impairment (LI) determination process. Implementing RtI allows schools to have more confidence that they are providing appropriate learning experiences to all students while identifying and targeting early those students who may be at risk for reading or math problems but who do not necessarily have a learning or language disability. 26. Can a student receive intensive interventions in reading without qualifying for special education? Yes. Many students exhibit patterns of academic deficits requiring intensive interventions. However, only some of those students demonstrate both the need for special education services (positive response to intervention for that level of intensity and/or specialized services) and the characteristics of a particular disability. In either case, the problem solving/rti process continues in an effort to provide effective instruction/interventions matched to student needs. MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 8

9 27. Can Tier 2 interventions be provided in a general education classroom by a general education teacher? Yes. By definition, Tier 1 is what all students receive in terms of core instruction. Tier 2 is what some students receive and Tier 3 is what very few students receive. For example, given a 90 minute reading block that is divided into two time periods 45 minutes of core instruction (entire group) and 45 minutes of guided instruction (centers) it is possible that a teacher would instruct the entire group for 45 minutes, initiate the center activities for students at or above benchmark, and then provide targeted instruction for 35 minutes to a small group of students who are below benchmark. All students received 45 minutes of group instruction, but only some of the students received another 35 minutes of supplemental instruction (for a total of 80 minutes). There are multiple ways to vary the intensity of instruction/interventions along the continuum of tiers, only one of which is time. Therefore, defining the level of intervention by time alone (90 minutes of core, 30 minutes of supplemental, etc.) is misleading and limiting to the school based teams engaged in problem solving. The evidence of student response should drive the team s decisions rather than a set of procedural standards assigned to each tier. 28. Who makes the final determination with regard to Exceptional Student Education (ESE) eligibility for a student who has been the receiving intensive, individualized supports through the problemsolving process and been referred for evaluation? The decision to refer a student for an evaluation for special education and the subsequent eligibility decision is made by a group of qualified professionals, including the parent. The determination of eligibility must draw upon data from a variety of sources and be made in accordance with the criteria and procedures established in State Board of Education rules. 29. What does Determining Instructional Level mean? In order to conduct ongoing progress monitoring, it is critical to find out where a student s functional/instructional level falls. Instructional level is the level at which a student can be taught with a high level of teacher support. To monitor a student using materials not on her instructional level will not be helpful in showing growth and will likely frustrate her. 30. Why use ongoing progress monitoring (OPM)? Ongoing progress monitoring (OPM) allows a teacher to document progress in reaching the benchmark goals in the critical components of reading. For those students who are receiving immediate intensive intervention (iii) it is best practice to do more frequent monitoring of their progress to get snapshots of their growth. Assessment that is more frequent will enable you to adapt instruction based on the needs of the student. In addition, it might be helpful to administer a measure that is not normally given at a particular grade level. For example, a teacher may want to give a 3rd grader, who is at risk on Maze or Word Analysis an Oral Reading Fluency probe, or a Phonics Inventory test to get a picture of the student s text reading and decoding skills. This will provide additional information in determining why the student is showing deficiencies in Reading. It is recommended that the teacher gives the assessments. In this way he/she will have the opportunity to take note of qualitative information. For example, if the student consistently missed the medial sounds on the phonics inventory test, that information will be critical in planning appropriate instruction for the student. MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 9

10 31. Should I use OPM for all my students? In general, OPM is intended for students who are behind and need more frequent assessment of their progress. However, teachers may use OPM in any situations where they want more frequent indicators of student progress. 32. How does OPM differ from the progress monitoring done during the regular assessment schedule? OPM is conducted more frequently and for the purpose of measuring the students progress towards the overall goal. 33. How does one access the OPM materials? From the FAIR trainings, districts, schools, and teachers were given K 12 materials within the FAIR materials. The FAIR Toolkit is available on our website: MDCPS Office of Innovation & Accountability Revised 2012 Page 10

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