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How RTI can Serve English Language Learners Sylvia Linan-Thompson Alba A. Ortiz The University of Texas at Austin RTI Summit December 6, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "How RTI can Serve English Language Learners Sylvia Linan-Thompson Alba A. Ortiz The University of Texas at Austin RTI Summit December 6, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 How RTI can Serve English Language Learners Sylvia Linan-Thompson Alba A. Ortiz The University of Texas at Austin RTI Summit December 6, 2007

2 Low academic achievement Lower expectations for performance Low level ability groups/tracks High rates of social promotion and/or retention High drop out rates Disproportionate special education representation Issues Associated with the Education of ELLs

3 ELLs with Reading-related LD An IQ-achievement discrepancy was the basis for classifying ELLs as having learning disabilities, even when: –The discrepancy was barely significant in one area and all other scores were at/above grade level or consistent with IQ –Assessment results were inconsistent with the concerns reported by the referring teacher. (Wilkinson, Ortiz, Robertson, & Kushner, 2006)

4 ELLs with LD Multidisciplinary teams failed to provide assurances under the “exclusionary clause” that problems could not be attributed to such factors as lack of access to effective reading instruction. There was limited or no documentation of early intervention efforts to address reading difficulties or of the results of these efforts. Interventions reported were often not specific to identified difficulties.. (Wilkinson, Ortiz, Robertson, & Kushner, 2006)

5 ELLs with LD How can RTI help address these issues?

6 Overview-RTI Response to intervention (RTI) is the degree to which a student who has been identified as at-risk for academic or behavior problems by screening measures has benefited from intervention designed to reduce risk. Determining RTI requires: Assessing students to determine risk Providing intervention On-going progress monitoring to ascertain response

7 Multi-tiered Model Tier 1: High quality instructional and behavioral supports to prevent the development of difficulty Tier 2: Specialized intervention for students behind peers to minimize problems early Tier 3: Comprehensive evaluation and specialized services with intensive intervention to treat problems aggressively and constrain negative effects. NJCLD (2005); DLD (2007)

8 Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 A Model for Multi-tiered Academic Intervention Core Reading Instruction Supplemental Reading Instruction Intensive Reading Instruction

9 Multi-tier Model Uses instructional procedures that are responsive to students’ needs Collects data on student performance Establishes procedures and criteria for providing Tier 2 and Tier 3 instruction

10 Why are tiered models used for academic interventions? Allow for use of a range of programs Allow for integration of services (e.g., Title I, general education, special education) Allow for early intervention Allow for practices related to Response to Intervention

11 Prerequisites to the Success of RTI for ELLs

12 PREVENTION: Create an environment that reflects a philosophy that all students can learn and that educators are responsible for seeing to it that they do. Strong leadership by the principal High expectations for all students A safe and orderly school environment Collegiality among school personnel Shared decision-making A shared knowledge base related to the education of ELLs Linguistic and cultural pluralism Well-implemented bilingual education and/or English as a Second Language programs Ongoing, systematic evaluation of student progress Effective responses to student difficulty Collaborative school, home, and community relationships Mechanisms in place for mentoring new faculty

13 Leadership Principals have a total and unwavering commitment to their students’ achievement and to an excellent bilingual education and/or English as a second language program that is fully integrated into their school. (Montecel & Cortez, 2002)

14 A Program Model Teachers and community members participate in the selection and design of a bilingual/ESL program model The program model is grounded in sound theory and best practices associated with an enriched, not remedial, instructional models. (Montecel & Cortez, 2002)

15 Program Articulation The program of instruction is properly scoped, sequenced, and articulated across grade levels and aligned with developmentally appropriate practices and student language proficiency levels in the native language and/or in English. (Montecel & Cortez, 2002)

16 Teachers use instructional strategies known to be effective for ELLs. Academically rich programs Native language instruction English language development Meaningful language use across the curriculum Culturally relevant curriculum Build on prior knowledge Higher-order skills Direct, explicit skill instruction Thematic instruction Collaborative learning Scaffolding Individual guidance and support Continuous monitoring of student progress Meaningful, continuous family involvement

17 A Transition Plan Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that students have the skills to access to the same curriculum presented to native English speaking students. It is understood that transition is a process, not an event. Recognizing that, there is a clear plan and process for transitions: -from native language to English instruction -from ESL to English instruction

18 A Transition Plan For students receiving native language instruction, the plan reflects an understanding of: -the bi-directional influence of instruction in each language. -skills that transfer (positive and negative), and -skills that must be explicitly taught in each language

19 An Exit Plan Exit is distinguished from transition and refers to the termination of special language program supports for ELLs. The re-classification of an ELL as “English proficient” indicates that the student is able to participate successfully in mainstream, all-English instructional programs.

20 Both transition and exit decisions are based on students’ language proficiencies and achievement status, not simply on the basis of their age or grade.

21 Professional Development Fully credentialed bilingual education and ESL teachers are continuously acquiring new knowledge regarding best practices in bilingual education and ESL. General education teachers regularly participate in professional development focused on meeting the needs of ELLs (e.g., information about bilingual education, ESL strategies, and about the cultural and linguistic characteristics that serve as assets to the academic success of ELLs). (Montecel & Cortez, 2002)

22 A Shared Knowledge Base Philosophy, purpose, and rationale for bilingual education and ESL programs Language acquisition and development Assessment of conversational and academic language proficiency. Other influences on student learning -Culture (that of students and of educators) -Socioeconomic status

23 A Shared Knowledge Base Effective instructional approaches Linguistically and culturally responsive assessment and progress monitoring (within and across grades) Partnerships with ELL families and communities Recognizing and overcoming deficit perspectives toward ELLs and their families

24 Focus on Tier 1 Assessment Core curriculum Academic language Transition

25 Assessment Screening Progress monitoring Benchmark

26 Assessment Research on effective reading instruction for EL learners has documented the importance of assessing students’ progress in reading (Chamot & O’Malley, 1994). This includes not only teacher documentation of daily and periodic progress but also students’ self-evaluation of their own progress according to pre-determined goals and objectives (Chamot & O’Malley, 1994).

27 Screening Reading measures to identify first grade students who need intensive early intervention are valid Consistently strong measures of future reading growth are measures of phonemic awareness and fluency in naming letters of the alphabet True in both English and Spanish

28 Screening Students’ oral language proficiency alone is not a valid predictor of reading success or failure.

29 Screening Conduct screening assessments 2 times per year in kindergarten (middle and end of the year) Conduct screening assessments 3 times per year in first grade and above (beginning, middle, and end of the year) Assess all students on appropriate measures Examine students’ scores in relationship to established goals and language program Use results to inform both whole group and small group instruction

30 Language of Screening Measures English Immersion with ELD support –Use grade appropriate measures in English Kindergarten: phonemic awareness, letter naming, alphabetic principle First grade: phonemic awareness, letter naming, alphabetic principle, oral reading fluency Second grade: alphabetic principle, oral reading fluency Third grade: oral reading fluency

31 Language of Screening Measures Bilingual Education Program –Use grade appropriate measures That match the language of reading instruction, often native language, initially In both the native language and English during the transition process English when students are ready to exit and are no longer receiving reading instruction in the native language

32 Instructional Implications

33 Progress Monitoring Provide a means to –Monitor student learning –Determine efficacy of instruction Timeline will vary with level of students –In Tier 1, minimum 3 times a year but, may want to consider once a grading period Language will match language of instruction

34 Benchmarks Benchmarks are necessary to set a goals for students. ELLs can meet benchmarks when provided appropriate instruction that supports language and literacy development.

35 Tier 1 Components of effective Tier 1 instruction for ELLs –90 minutes –Comprehensive instruction Reading Math –Flexible grouping

36 A comprehensive approach to literacy development Reflects a balanced approach--a focus on both skills and meaning Provides for differentiated instruction based on student characteristics (Francis, 2005; Snow & Burns, 1998; Goldenberg, 1998)

37 A comprehensive approach to literacy development Incorporates components shown to be determinants of literacy achievement for both monolingual students and ELLs -Phonemic Awareness -Phonics -Fluency -Vocabulary -Comprehension Incorporates study skills and strategies (Francis, 2005; Snow & Burns, 1998; Goldenberg, 1998)

38 A comprehensive approach to literacy development Provides opportunities for students to develop full and productive proficiencies in the native language and/or English in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, consistent with high expectations for all students. (Center for Equity & Excellence in Education, 1996; August & Hakuta, 1997; Goldenberg, 1998).

39 Other Important Components Dedicated ELD block Focus on academic language in all content areas

40 ELD Dedicated block during the day Focus on instructional components of literacy and language Explicit and systematic instruction in the structure of English Preview and review

41 Academic Language Each content area has a particular way of using language that children need to learn to use. Students must use linguistic skills to interpret and infer meaning from oral and written language and discern precise meaning and information from text.

42 To develop higher level cognitive skills as well as mastering the language associated with it. Students need language models that are comprehensible, and opportunities to use language in the context of specific instructional activities.

43 Flexible Grouping Whole group –To introduce new information Small homogenous groups –For focused instruction Structured pairs –To provide additional practice –To provide language models

44 Benefits of RTI Preventive approach Assessment is used to inform instruction Instruction is focused on critical components Serves as a means for gauging efficacy of instruction

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