How will teachers determine which students need more intensive instruction?
Page 9: Tier 3 Components
Students who fail to demonstrate adequate reading progress during Tier 2’s targeted instruction will receive Tier 3 intervention. This level of intervention usually involves individualized instruction and frequent monitoring.
Intensive Individualized Intervention
In order to become successful readers, a small percentage of students who do not respond to Tier 2 intervention will require even more intensive, specialized services. Intensive individualized instruction involves providing validated instructional strategies that meet the specific needs of each student. This instruction is typically delivered outside the general education classroom by someone who specializes in providing and designing individualized interventions. Depending on the district’s or the school’s resources, these qualified instructors may include the special education teacher or another highly trained individual, such as a reading specialist.
Depending on the school’s RTI plan, Tier 3 may be implemented using services in general education or special education:
- General education – If Tier 3 is implemented as part of the general education program, a student continues to receive Tier 1 instruction from his or her general education teacher and also receives Tier 3 individualized instruction that meets his or her specific needs. This instruction usually occurs in a setting with a 1:1 to 1:3 teacher/ student ratio. Although the student is not identified as having a disability, other factors may have contributed to his or her reading difficulties. For example, children who start school with no prior exposure to reading, who have had inconsistent educational experiences, or whose primary language is not English may require the more intensive services provided in Tier 3 in order to bring their skills up to grade level. At some point, if a student continues to struggle and shows little response to Tier 3 interventions, then special education referral should be considered.
- Special education – If Tier 3 is implemented as part of the special education program, a student who continues to struggle even after receiving Tier 2 services may meet the criteria for a learning disability. In such cases, the student should be evaluated to verify the existence of a disability. If the IEP team decides that a particular student meets the criteria for a learning disability, the student will receive Tier 3 intervention as part of his or her IEP and the intervention services will be delivered by the special education teacher.
In order for a student to qualify for special education services under the current law, two criteria must be met:
- The student must have a disability.
- That disability must interfere with his or her learning to the extent that individualized education is necessary.
A learning disability, as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 stipulates the following exclusion:
- “Such term does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage” (IDEA 2004).
A diagnostic evaluation should be conducted to verify the existence of a learning disability, to rule out the presence of other disabilities, and to determine the need for related services. Some states or school districts may perform abbreviated evaluations while others may recommend comprehensive evaluations. The table below depicts the types of assessment data that should be collected, at a minimum, and the information they provide.
Purpose Focus of Assessment To eliminate intellectual disabilities (ID) as a cause of learning problems
- Intellectual ability
- Adaptive behavior or life skills
To eliminate the impact of an emotional or behavioral disorder on learning problems
- Psychological adjustment
To eliminate visual or auditory deficits as causes of learning problems
- Sensory proficiency
To determine if speech or language therapy services are warranted
- Speech and language
Note: The diagnostic evaluation is not considered part of Tier 3 services.
The professional providing the individualized instruction for Tier 3 should continue to monitor the progress of each student. The procedures and measures used for Tiers 1 and 2 are also used for Tier 3. It is recommended that the instructor continue to plot each student’s scores on his or her existing progress monitoring graphs.
One way a teacher can use CBM data in Tier 3 is to evaluate the effectiveness of a given instructional method. Once an effective instructional method has been determined, the teacher continues to collect progress monitoring data to guide instruction and to track progress toward meeting individualized goals. The data can also be used to decide whether the student is progressing and whether he or she needs to continue receiving Tier 3 services.
In order to find out the effectiveness of an instructional method using CBM data, the teacher examines the relationship between the four most recent data points on each student’s graph and the goal line.
The table below shows how a teacher can use the information from CBM graphs to make instructional decisions.
|Position of the 4 Most Recent Data Points||Instructional Decision|
|Above the goal line…||Increase the goal: If the points are mostly higher than the goal line, the student’s performance is exceeding expectations and a slightly more ambitious goal is needed.|
|Below the goal line…||Change instruction: Something is not working. Try a different instructional approach and continue to collect data to see if it helps.|
|Around the goal line…||Make no changes: The method appears to be working because the student is on target to meet the end-of-year goal.|
We strongly encourage the reader to view the following IRIS Module to learn more about how to use CBM data to guide individualized reading instruction.