What other considerations should Mr. Brewster and the other school professionals be aware of when implementing RTI?
Page 8: Initiating and Discontinuing Intervention
Making decisions about when and whether students should begin or end intervention is inherent to the multi-tiered RTI approach. Such decisions must take into account each students’ needs and the resources available within each school or district. It is critical that the school or district establish the criteria and guidelines that will be used to determine tier decisions before teachers begin to implement the RTI approach. These criteria and guidelines may be influenced by the primary purpose for which the school is implementing RTI. The two primary purposes of RTI, given a three-tiered model, are outlined below.
Provide early intervening services to students who are struggling
The decision-making process will provide students with needed support as early as possible. The length of intervention may be determined by a number of factors (e.g., school resources).
Identify students with learning disabilities
The decision-making process will move students through the tiers of intervention in a timely manner (in order to comply with legal mandates) to determine whether the students have learning disabilities and whether they qualify for special education services.
Regardless of the RTI purpose, school personnel will make two basic decisions within the RTI approach: when to initiate an intervention and when to discontinue an intervention. In the following sections, these decision processes are summarized. Though they may seem somewhat redundant, it is important to note that these decision processes, at times, serve distinct functions, as is detailed in the table below.
|Begin intervention||After progress monitoring in Tier 1, LaToya begins Tier 2 intervention.|
|Begin and end intervention||After receiving Tier 2 intervention, Laney ends Tier 2 intervention and, at the same time, begins Tier 3 intervention.|
|End intervention||After receiving one round of Tier 2 intervention, Adam discontinues Tier 2 supports.|
Tier Initiation Decisions
Teachers need to know the process for determining which students would benefit from the extra reading support provided by Tier 2 or Tier 3. The figure below summarizes the decision-making process for providing more intensive instruction to struggling readers.
This flowchart figure summarizes the decision-making process for providing the different Tiers of instruction for response to intervention. The flowchart is titled “Tier Initiation Process.” The first step is Universal Screening, in which the following question is asked: “Did this student demonstrate adequate reading performance on the screening?” There are two arrows coming off this question pointing to either Yes or No. Under the No is a small arrow pointing to the text “Monitor Tier 1 Progress.” The second step is Assessing Tier 1 Response, where the following question is asked “Is this student responding adequately to the general education classroom instruction?” There are two arrows coming off this question pointing to either Yes or No. Under the No is a small arrow pointing to the text “Receive Tier 2 Instruction.” The third step is Assessing Tier 2 Response, in which the following question is asked “Is this student responding adequately to the targeted intervention?” There are two arrows coming off this question pointing to either Yes or No. Under the No is a small arrow pointing to the text “Receive Tier 3 Instruction.” The last step is Tier 3 – Intensive Individualized Intervention, where the following question is asked “Does this student meet criteria for a disability classification?” There are two arrows coming off this question pointing to either Yes or No. Under the No is a small arrow pointing to the question “Which disability classification?” Three arrows extend from this question pointing to LD, ID, and EBD, which stands for learning disability, intellectual disability, and emotional behavioral disorders.
Tier Discontinuation Decisions
One purpose of the tiered RTI model is to support students who are experiencing reading difficulties. Students who successfully respond to Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention and reach grade-level standards may discontinue the intervention. To discontinue an intervention, however, requires that there be some set criteria for students to meet at the end of an intervention period. Once again, the criteria should be determined at the school or district level prior to implementing the RTI approach.
Keep in Mind
When applying discontinuation criteria, it is important to ensure that an intervention does not end prematurely because it appears that the student has acquired the necessary support. By avoiding such a premature termination, schools will eliminate the issue of having students “ping-pong” back and forth between tiers. For example, if a student discontinues Tier 2 intervention too soon and has not truly mastered the requisite skills, then he or she will begin to fall behind when receiving Tier 1 instruction only. This, in turn, will result in the student’s receiving Tier 2 intervention again. For some students, ending intervention too soon can result in a continuous cycle of bouncing between tiers.
To determine whether a student is ready to discontinue an intervention, school personnel need to establish whether the student has acquired and can maintain newly mastered concepts and skills. In order to verify the student’s readiness, school personnel should examine the student’s progress monitoring data.
This flowchart figure summarizes the decision-making process for discontinuing different Tiers of instruction. The flowchart is titled “Tier Discontinuation Process.” The first step is Tier 1 Instruction, with the following text written below “All students receive Tier 1 Instruction.” The second step is Assessing Tier 2 Response, where the following question is asked “Is this student responding adequately to targeted intervention?” There are two arrows coming off this question pointing to either Yes or No. Under the Yes is a small arrow pointing to the text “Receive Tier 1 Instruction only.” Under the No are two small arrows pointing to either to “Receive Tier 3 Intervention” or “Continue Tier 2 Intervention.” The third step is Assessing Tier 3 Response, in which the following question is asked “Does this student continue to need intensive individualized intervention?” There are two arrows coming off this question pointing to either Yes or No. Under the Yes is a small arrow pointing to the text “Continue Tier 3 intervention.” Under the No are two small arrows pointing to either “Receive Tier 2 Intervention” or “Receive Tier 1 instruction only.”
For Your Information
It is critical to continue monitoring the progress of a student after he or she discontinues an intervention. In this way, a teacher can catch a student who is beginning to fall behind before the next universal screening time, and a decision can be made about providing additional support for the student either in Tier 1 or by moving him or her back into Tier 2.
Though some schools may be required to adhere strictly to the tier initiation and discontinuation criteria, others might consider individual factors and may make the determination on a case-by-case basis. The information in the table below highlights the experiences of six of Mr. Brewster’s students in the RTI approach. To examine each tier decision more thoroughly, click on the student’s portrait below.
|Student||Tier Initiation Decision||Tier Discontinuation Decision|
||Receives Tier 1 only||Not applicable|
||Begin Tier 2||End Tier 2Tier 1 instruction only|
||Begin Tier 2||End Tier 2Tier 1 instruction only|
||Begin Tier 2||Continues to receive Tier 2|
||Begin Tier 2||End Tier 2Tier 3 intervention|
||Receives Tier 3
(beginning in first grade)
|Continues to receive Tier 3|