How can school personnel intensify and individualize instruction?
Page 8: Implementation Considerations
Now that we have reviewed the four types of instructional adaptations, we are ready to examine when and where they can be implemented in the DBI process to intensify and individualize instructional interventions. Recall, there are two steps in the process when teachers are expected to adapt the intervention.
- Step 1: Validated Intervention Program—Teachers should intensify the secondary intervention by making quantitative changes (e.g., increase amount of instructional time, decrease group size).
- Step 2: Progress Monitoring
- Step 3: Diagnostic Assessment
- Step 4: Intervention Adaptation—Following progress monitoring and a diagnostic assessment, teachers can adapt the intervention by making quantitative and/or qualitative changes (e.g., the way in which content is delivered).
- Step 5: Progress Monitoring
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.”
This module page focuses on Steps 1 and 4, so those orange boxes are highlighted whereas the rest of the graphic is slightly faded out.
It is recommended that teachers make quantitative changes in Step 1 because they are easy to implement and, sometimes, simple adaptations such as increased intervention time or a smaller group size is all a student needs to succeed. However, if the data clearly indicate that the student needs even more intensive instruction in Step 1, the teacher can begin intensifying the validated intervention by making qualitative adaptations. If the data indicate that the student is not responding adequately to the adaptation(s) made during Step 1, the team can decide whether to make additional adaptations to the intervention. During Step 4, these adaptations can be quantitative and/or qualitative.
Who Delivers Intensive Intervention?
Depending on a school’s available resources, a variety of qualified individuals—for example, an intervention provider, a special education teacher, or others—can provide the intensive intervention. Regardless of who provides the intervention, a team of school professionals should be involved in making instructional decisions for individual students based on their data.
Regardless of whether a teacher is implementing Step 1 or Step 4, there are several factors critical for successfully implementing the DBI process. First, the teacher should try to align the intervention with the core curriculum. Next, the teacher should implement the adaptations systematically and with fidelity.
Align Intervention with the Core Curriculum
Russell Gersten, the Executive Director of the Instructional Research Group, explains that intensive intervention should build on foundational skills and the core curriculum as opposed to introducing unrelated curriculum (time: 2:11).
Implement Adaptations Systematically
When making instructional adaptations, it is critical that teachers do so systematically. Teachers should implement a few changes at a time and collect data so that they can isolate and identify which changes (if any) result in improved student performance. Listen as Devin Kearns, a research scientist at the Center for Behavioral Education and Research, discusses why it is important to make systematic changes when adapting an intervention (time: 1:36).
Next, listen as Sarah Arden discusses considerations related to determining how many adaptations to make at once (time: 1:13).
Sarah Arden, PhD
Technical Assistance Team,
National Center on Intensive Intervention
Implement Adaptations with Fidelity
In addition to implementing interventions systematically, it is also critical that teachers implement them with fidelity, that is implement them in the way the instructional decision-making team intended. For example, the team decides that a student would benefit from explicit instruction. To determine to what extent the teacher is delivering the adaptation with fidelity, an experienced or trained individual should be responsible for monitoring the teacher’s instruction. By doing so, the team can determine whether or not the adaptation was delivered as planned. If the intervention is delivered with fidelity and the student shows improvement, the team can conclude that the adaptation(s) was effective for this student. The National Center on Intensive Intervention has developed resources that teachers can use to monitor their fidelity of implementation.
For Your Information
In many cases, students who struggle academically also display behavioral problems. The advantage of the DBI process is that it can be used to address both academic and behavioral problems. Although this module focuses on the provision of intensive intervention to students struggling academically, the DBI process can also be used to provide intensive behavioral intervention for students with severe and persistent behavioral difficulties.