Behavior and Academic Intervention Pyramid

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The Role of Assessment in RTI

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Using assessments in Tier 1

During this period, students receive CBM and other universal screeners. Those who have been identified as at risk academically or behaviorally receive interventions. Once interventions are implemented, student progress is monitored to determine whether the interventions are working, if interventions need to be changed, or whether additional detailed diagnostic testing is needed to further guide the selection and use of educational strategies. It's important to keep in mind that after the screening process, there might be information that suggests a disability in some youngsters. In this case, individualized comprehensive evaluation can be warranted immediately.

Using assessments in Tier 2

When more intensive interventions must be considered, in most cases, a specialized problem-solving/intervention team convenes to identify targeted curriculum modifications and progress monitoring methods. To select the most appropriate research-based instructional tools to address students' difficulties, the team should gather data from CBM screenings and possibly from other more in-depth standardized measures that delineate student needs within a specific content or behavioral area. The data from these formal and informal assessments provide a closer look into the overall strengths and needs of the student, thereby guiding more targeted instructional approaches or strategies and intervention. Progress monitoring remains an essential component at this level to document the effectiveness of interventions and develop revised instructional tactics. At this point, the main goal of these types of assessments is to answer the question, "How can we help the teacher instruct this child?" rather than "Is this student eligible for special education services?" However, if a student continues to make insufficient improvement, despite repeated progress monitoring and curriculum modifications, a comprehensive individualized evaluation may be justified.

Using assessments in Tier 3

A small percentage of students will not keep pace with classmates in physical, emotional, academic, and/or cognitive domains. When a student does not respond to the targeted interventions provided at Tier 2, a referral may be needed to consider whether a comprehensive individualized evaluation is required. Such an evaluation typically means examining various aspects of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral skills to understand how these underlying processes may be impacting functioning. This includes the careful, systematic observation of how a student solves problems, which provides the detailed, highly specific information required for the development of specialized intervention and instruction. Data from these evaluations can also be used to determine if a student is eligible for an educational disability classification. If so, an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) can be developed to provide special education services. Once interventions are created and implemented, specific, frequent progress monitoring strategies are needed to analyze response to the interventions and specialized instruction. This continual progress monitoring is essential throughout the educational process so that the student's achievements and needs are accurately examined across time.