How will teachers initially identify struggling readers?
Page 4: Tier 1 Components
Broadly speaking, all students receive Tier 1 services, regardless of their ability levels. As a result, many RTI practitioners consider universal screening a component of Tier 1 rather than a separate component. In this module, universal screening and Tier 1 have been treated separately simply to highlight the differences in the assessment process for these two RTI components.
During Tier 1 instruction, all students receive high-quality instruction in the general education classroom. Additionally, the students identified as struggling readers during the universal screening receive frequent monitoring of their performance.
High-quality instruction is effective instruction provided to all students in the general education setting using research-validated practices. Depending on the available resources and their students’ needs, teachers may choose to provide adaptations for the identified students as part of high-quality instruction. These adaptations may include scaffolding and reteaching content.
For more information on reading instruction in the RTI approach, view the IRIS Module:
Frequent Progress Monitoring
In conjunction with providing high-quality instruction, the teacher will need to employ frequent progress monitoring of those students identified through the universal screening as struggling. Progress monitoring is a form of assessment in which student learning is evaluated on a regular basis in order to provide useful feedback about performance to both learners and instructors.
More specifically, a form of progress monitoring known as curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is used in the RTI approach. Implementing CBM allows teachers to track students’ academic progress across the school year. It is crucial to understand that Tier 1 data may be used for two distinctly different purposes:
- If the teacher chooses to collect CBM data for the entire class, the data can be used to inform classroom instruction.
- For struggling readers, the data are used to make individual RTI tier placement decisions.
CBM is useful in making tier decisions for struggling students and in informing classroom instruction for all students for the following reasons:
- Each test (probe) includes items representing the skills that students are expected to master by the end of the year.
- Probes, administration, and scoring are standardized to produce reliable and valid scores.
- Graphs of each student’s scores provide a clear visual representation of how students are progressing academically.
It is important to note that when all students are monitored, assessment results can be used not only to evaluate students’ progress but also to determine whether the class as a whole is receiving high-quality instruction.
- Students of teachers who use CBM achieve higher grades than students whose teachers do not use CBM.
(Fuchs, Butterworth, & Fuchs, 1989)
- Students are more aware of their performance and view themselves as more responsible for their learning when they use CBM and graph their own data.
(Davis, Fuchs, Fuchs, & Whinnery, 1995)
We strongly encourage the reader to view the following IRIS Module to learn more about how to implement CBM and how to use the data to guide instruction.
Selecting a Measure
Several types of CBM measures, many of which are commercially available, can be used to track the performance of students in Tier 1. Click here to view a list of available measures.
In all probability, the district or state—rather than individual teachers—will determine which actual measure is used. Most of these CBM reading measures require a student to identify sounds, read a list of words, or read a passage aloud for one minute. The number of correct sounds or words is recorded as the student’s score. Available CBM measures differ slightly in content, in the skills assessed, and in the benchmarks used to indicate satisfactory performance. Some sources offer non-English language versions for linguistically diverse students, and large-print versions are also available for students with visual disabilities.
View the video below for a demonstration of how to administer a CBM probe. Pay attention to how José pronounces his words and how the teacher scores his performance. As the movie illustrates, José’s word pronunciation reflects his Mexican-American heritage (time: 2:07).
Listen as Leonard Baca discusses the issue of linguistic diversity in relation to administering and scoring progress monitoring probes, then listen to Alfredo Artiles discuss concerns about using Spanish translations of English language assessments.
Leonard Baca, PhD
Director, BUENO Center
for Multicultural Education
University of Colorado, Boulder
Alfredo Artiles, PhD
Professor, College of Education,Arizona State University
Co-Principal Investigator, National Center for Culturally
Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRRESt)
The primary purpose of progress monitoring in Tier 1 is to determine which students are making adequate instructional progress and which are not. Following the universal screening, the progress of the students identified as struggling should be monitored at least once each week for a period of 6–10 weeks. After each probe is administered, the teacher or student plots the score on an individual CBM graph. Click to see a sample CBM graph. An examination of the data plotted on the CBM graph will allow the teacher to determine whether a student is making adequate progress. Assuming that students are receiving high-quality instruction in Tier 1, those who do not respond adequately are provided with a standard intervention in Tier 2.
Click here for a blank graph that can be used with a variety of probes, or click here for a list of commercially available CBM graphing software that both graphs and helps interpret student data.
For Your Information
A teacher may choose to monitor the progress of all students in the classroom in the general education classroom (i.e., Tier 1). Doing so can help the teacher tailor instruction to meet the needs of the class. It also can help determine whether students are receiving high-quality instruction in the general education classroom. Students who receive high-quality instruction typically show increased reading performance levels and rates of growth across the year. On the other hand, if students in the class generally do not show adequate growth in their reading skills, the cause might be inadequate instruction.