Implementing Response to Intervention in Your Classroom
As the new school year quickly approaches I have begun to think about the students that I will teach this school year. Last school year I had several students that missed the passing standard by 2-10 points. Needless to say, when I saw their test scores I was heartbroken because in the back of my mind I knew that if these students had interventions in place and were progress monitored they probably would have passed and not fallen short. As a veteran teacher I came from a district and school that trained their teachers and had a plan for implementing response to intervention, however I do realize that this is may not be every teacher’s experience.
What is RTI?
RTI or response to intervention is the practice of providing instruction/intervention that matches the student’s need. The process can be seen as a three-tiered model of prevention for all students within a school. Each tier represents the instructional level of students at the school or in a classroom. The components of RTI are: administrative support for the model, a progress monitoring measurement tool and a grade based teams tha meet regularly to review data as it pertains to student progress.
Last year the school that I worked at did not have a plan for implementing the RTI model. So, at the beginning of the year I took it upon myself to group my students into three tiers. I used 3 triangles as a visual and wrote the students names inside of each triangle. Since I work at a low performing school my largest group of students were my Tier 2 students. I call these students my bubble students because as much as I would like to predict what their achievement would be from day to day, they tend to bounce around like a bubble. Some days they get it and other days it’s like they act as if they this was their first time seeing the material. My smallest group was my Tier 3 students because these were students who were 2 or more grade levels behind. The Tier 1 students or benchmark students were my group of students that were on grade level. These groups were not set in stone because I noticed as I taught concepts some of my Tier 2 students became Tier 1 students and Tier 3 students became Tier 2 students (there were not many).
I started the school year with very good intentions of providing the much needed interventions that my Tier 2 students needed and to progress monitor them, but as is sometimes happens the school year took on a life of its own. This proved to be an obstacle that I could not overcome and so I ended up with students who were close to passing but didn’t.
Well, a new school year is almost here and what I learned from last school year is that I needed a progress monitoring tool that is readily available. This new tool is a book that I received at a professional development on formative assessment. It is a Godsend!
Uncovering Student Thinking About Mathematics has a probe for every skill in curriculum for grades 3-5. If I find myself in the same situation as the previous year, I plan on implementing the RTI model by grouping my students into the different tiers like I did from the previous year and then as I teach and assess a skill I will provide interventions for those students and then progress monitor those students with a probe from the book. I am anticipating some hiccups because Tier 2 students should be progress monitored every 4 weeks and Tier 3 students should be progress monitored weekly. I know that this will be a challenge but the pay off will be great at the end of the year because I will not have to rely on the school to provide interventions and data for my students and hopefully I will have many more students pass as opposed to almost passing the iLEAP test.
If you are in need of teacher friendly progress monitoring documents you can find them in my store.