At i-LEADR, Inc., we often receive questions from teachers and district administrators about our MTSS professional development and what the process involves. Here are some of the questions we get asked most frequently and their answers.
Does MTSS have an impact on all students?
An essential component of every MTSS framework involves a universal screening of all students. One aspect of an effective MTSS framework is a core curriculum where every student receives high-quality, differentiated core instruction backed by evidence and engaging instructional strategies. As a result, a student’s need for intensive intervention or a special education evaluation is ideally not related to poor classroom instruction. In a properly implemented system, the strong differentiated core would provide students who are not struggling with extension opportunities to take their learning deeper. Students who need catch-up support also have access to differentiated core as well as appropriately designed intervention systems. In a recent meta-analysis study, John Hattie found that Response to Instruction has an effect rate of 1.29. “Hattie found that the average effect size of all the interventions he studied was 0.40. Therefore, he decided to judge the success of influences relative to this ‘hinge point’, in order to find an answer to the question ‘What works best in education?’”
What does a universal screening involve?
A universal screening should be a brief assessment that provides valid, reliable, and accurate results for determining which students may develop behavioral or learning problems. All students are screened to determine who is at risk of academic problems, so intervention strategies can be identified and enacted as early as possible.
How do teachers monitor student progress?
Progress monitoring is an important aspect of any RTI decision making process, as it measures the performance of all students, both in general and special education classrooms. The methods used must present reliable strategies for helping teachers cater their instruction to be more effective, and they should be enacted at least every month, or more frequently depending on the student need. Regular progress monitoring can also help educators identify students not exhibiting adequate progress, compare the effectiveness of different instruction forms, and design more individualized instruction forms.
As an educator or parent, you may have heard the trending buzzword in education, MTSS (Mult-tiered System of Support). While you may have some basic knowledge about what it is, you may not fully grasp its purpose. In its simplest form, an MTSS framework helps teachers, schools, and districts identify struggling students, so they can implement strong core instruction and an early intervention program. Despite its importance, many misconceptions still exist about the MTSS process today, including the following:
1. MTSS is a curriculum or program—The MTSS framework is a total school improvement process. It is not a curriculum that teachers adopt and follow in their classroom. Rather, it is a proactive process that involves several elements, such as screening students early on in the school year, using evidence-based strategies during core instruction and interventions, providing staff with professional development, involving families in student-level problem solving and more.
2. MTSS and special education are separate—The inclusive MTSS framework and special education programs are separate supports that feed into one another. All students who qualify for special education are still served a majority of the day in the general education classroom, where they also receive layered MTSS supports. Rate of progress is determined after students receive appropriate levels of support, including differentiated core instruction and strategic (tier 2) and intensive (tier 3) interventions. If implemented to fidelity and a student is still exhibiting academic or behavior gaps, the team may decide to pursue a Special Education evaluation. If the student is found eligible by the IEP team, data collected from the MTSS process is essential to determine student academic and behavioral goals and objectives while developing an IEP.
3. All students are placed into interventions—The MTSS framework uses three tiers (Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3), and every student is involved. More specifically, teachers use methods to teach their students that are backed by research, and every student undergoes screening to determine who is responding to these evidence-based strategies and who is not. At the earliest point, students may be divided into small groups to account for varying areas of need and strengths.
RTI training is meant to help educators and school administrators understand how to effectively implement intervention strategies to help all students experience growth and success on an academic level. Investing in RTI training for your staff is a valuable action because of the many benefits this approach to specialized learning provides not only for teachers, but for parents as well.
From a Teacher’s Perspective
RTI is extremely fluid, and intervention strategies can be applied at any point during the school year. These interventions can be systematically and extensively applied to the student’s situation, depending on their current and ongoing level of need.
RTI also provides individual interventions and is meant to take a student from where they are in terms of their skill level and help them get to grade-level expectations. This means adjustments can be made based on responses to specific interventions for the individual student– not the response of a small group or a whole class.
From a Parent’s Perspective
Many parents approve of RTI systems because their children continue to receive core instruction in their general education classroom. Additionally, parents often recommend RTI methods because if one intervention doesn’t work, there are other options to explore before special education. It also doesn’t use a “wait and see” approach, which can cause students to get so far behind they have to repeat a grade or take additional courses in the summer.
Our RTI training workshops give teachers the tools they need to identify intervention strategies and implement them with success. If you have any questions, please contact us!
With proper Response to Intervention (RTI) methods, students have access to tailored instructional strategies to help them catch up and progress as they continue with core instruction. Our teaching software simplifies tracking student progress and identifying which students are receiving different levels of support. Here are some hypothetical situations you can log and track with our teaching software:
- Samantha is a first grader who lacks standard math skills and cannot recognize numbers. She has not been evaluated for special education at this point, but her school provides an hour of small group instruction on a daily basis to help her catch up. Her teacher looks into her progress every week.
- Justin is a fifth grader with dyslexia. He has issues with phonological awareness and decoding, so his IEP team provides 30 minutes of reading instruction several times a week. On a monthly basis, his progress is tracked.
- Kacie is a third grader lagging behind the rest of her classmates in math. She still receives core instruction, but is part of a small group once a week that focuses on developing mathematical skills. Every week, her teacher evaluates and records her progress.
With our RTI teaching software, accelerating learning among high-risk students is easier, and fewer students become at risk as time passes. Making decisions about which students need Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention can also be made rapidly and reliably. For additional information about our teaching software and its capabilities, please reach out to us today!
Our RtI software, RtI Stored!, is a comprehensive system designed to help you implement and keep track of instructional and intervention strategies for students on an ongoing basis. With applications for teachers, schools, and school districts, it is the innovative tool you need to track the level of support being provided to each student.
- Comprehensive system—As students journey through the intervention process, our RTI software provides tools for date-stamping events, submitting data, and viewing historical documents. This allows educators to see the level of support for every student from differentiated core instruction through the various tiers of the Multi-Tiered System of Support.
- Leveled access—There are different levels of password-protected access available in our RtI software. For instance, states, districts administrators, building administrators, coaches, counselors, teachers, interventionists, psychologists, speech pathologists, and nurses can view all necessary components through a secure portal.
- Color-coded level of support—Within our software solution, students are color-coded depending on where they are in the intervention process. This allows viewers to clearly see an overall snapshot of who is receiving what type and level of support.
In addition to these components, our software solution provides a comprehensive suite of tools, such as Meeting Creation, Intervention Grouping Features, and the ability to easily run reports on a class, grade, or school level with additional filter options for ongoing continuous improvement.
We want to tell you more about our RtI software solution and how it can make difference for the students in your school, class, or district. For further information or to view a demonstration, please reach out to us today.