What is data-based individualization?
Page 2: Data-Based Individualization
Educators often struggle with how to provide intensive intervention for students who, like Natalia, have severe or persistent learning difficulties. One solution to this issue is data-based individualization, or DBI, a research-based process for gradually individualizing and intensifying interventions through the systematic use of assessment data, validated interventions, and research-based adaptation strategies. More specifically, DBI:
- Uses data to help determine how and when students need additional support or intervention
- Is typically content-specific; a student might receive DBI in one content area (e.g., reading) or one content-area skill (e.g., comprehension) and not others. Other students might receive DBI in multiple content areas, depending on their individual needs.
- Is an ongoing process of making and evaluating instructional adaptations (e.g., smaller group size, increased instructional time)
DBI works well within the context of a multi-tiered approach. All MTSS use progress monitoring, individualization, and data-based decision making as part of their process. DBI should be implemented at the most intensive and individualized level of support within these systems, either tertiary intervention or special education.
For Your Information
Rebecca Zumeta Edmonds, PhD
American Institutes for Research
The DBI process should be implemented when a student is not responding adequately to an evidence-based practice or program that is implemented with fidelity—that is, as intended by its developers—during secondary instruction. DBI consists of the five steps listed in the table below and depicted in the graphic. Notice that the graphic indicates how to proceed when a student is responsive or nonresponsive to the intervention.
|Step 1. Validated Intervention Program: Make the secondary intervention more intensive through quantitative changes to the instruction that a student receives.|
|Step 2. Progress Monitoring: Evaluate the student’s response to the intensified intervention by collecting progress monitoring data.|
|Step 3. Diagnostic Assessment: Collect and review data (e.g., progress monitoring data, student work samples, observations) to identify areas of difficulty and to make informed decisions about how to adapt the intervention.|
|Step 4. Intervention Adaptation: Adapt the intervention based on the student’s needs as determined by the diagnostic assessment.|
|Step 5. Progress Monitoring: Continue to collect progress monitoring data to evaluate the student’s response to the instructional adaptations.|
This graphic illustrates both the steps of data-based individualization, as well as they ways in which those steps interact. Step 1, “Validated Intervention Program,” is represented by an orange rectangle. This box connects via a vertical grey line to Step 2, “Progress Monitoring,” which is illustrated as a green oval. Both steps, in turn, are connected to a horizontal line with labeled circles at each of its ends. The circle on the left, “Nonresponsive,” has a red minus sign at its center, while the circle on the right, “Responsive,” has a red plus sign. A grey arrow connected to the “Nonresponsive” circle points toward Step 3 of the DBI process, “Diagnostic Academic Assessment/Functional Assessment,” which is represented as a green oval, similar to Step 2. The “Responsive” circle also has a grey arrow, this one pointing back up toward Step 2, “Progress Monitoring.”
Step 3 is connected via a vertical grey arrow to Step 4, “Intervention Adaptation,” represented as an orange rectangle. Another grey arrow connects Step 4 to Step 5, “Progress Monitoring,” another green oval. As above, these latter steps are connected to a horizontal line with labeled circles at each of its ends. The circle on the left, “Nonresponsive,” has a red minus sign at its center, while the circle on the right, “Responsive,” has a red plus sign. A large grey arrow connected to the “Nonresponsive” circle points back to Step 3, “Diagnostic Academic Assessment/Functional Assessment,” while the “Responsive” circle directs instructors back to Step 5, “Progress Monitoring.”
As illustrated in the graphic above, when they work with students with severe and persistent learning difficulties, teachers might need to implement DBI Steps 3, 4, and 5—diagnostic assessment, intervention adaptation, and progress monitoring—multiple times to reach the level of intensity and individualization required for the student to make adequate progress.
Listen as Chris Lemons, Senior Advisor to the National Center on Intensive Intervention, discusses this process of intensifying interventions (time: 3:08).
For Your Information
- DBI is a process. It is not an intervention, a program, or a strategy.
- Though DBI is most easily and most commonly implemented at the elementary level, it can be used with students at any grade level.
- Students with disabilities who have severe and persistent learning needs are good candidates for the DBI process. However, if a student is receiving special education services, instructional adaptations might require a multidisciplinary team meeting—a meeting of relevant individuals who collectively make decisions regarding the education of a student with disabilities and develop the student’s IEP.
For more information on DBI, visit the National Center on Intensive Intervention Website.
This module, part one of a series, focuses on the intervention aspects of DBI (i.e., Step 1 and Step 4) covered in more detail on the following pages. You can learn about the data components of DBI (i.e., Step 2, Step 3, and Step 5) by viewing the second IRIS Module in this series: