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Moving to RTI for SLD Eligibility: It’s the Right Thing and Now is the Right Time OrRTI Problem Solving and SLD Decision-Making January 15, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Moving to RTI for SLD Eligibility: It’s the Right Thing and Now is the Right Time OrRTI Problem Solving and SLD Decision-Making January 15, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Moving to RTI for SLD Eligibility: It’s the Right Thing and Now is the Right Time OrRTI Problem Solving and SLD Decision-Making January 15, 2013

2 Todays Targets Why RTI for SLD Identification? What does the process look like? Perceived Barriers to Implementation

3 Why RTI for SLD Identification? 1.An alternative to historical problems with SLD identification 2.A shifting focus on identifying and supporting instructional needs 3.More direct answers to evaluation questions (e.g. determining a lack of “appropriate instruction”, what is “instructional need?”, etc.) 4.Legally supported and legally defensible

4 1. Historical Problems Traditional Models of Identification – Technically inadequate SLD occurs on a continuum, but test scores used as a categorical marker Cognitive assessments do not reliably distinguish students with SLD (Fletcher et al, 2011)

5 1. Historical Problems Traditional Models of Identification – Applied inconsistently “For more than 25 years, accumulated evidence has strongly suggested that most students labeled SLD are those students with severe educational needs, regardless of the stated eligibility criterion” (Shinn, 2007)

6 Weak link to effective interventions Aptitude by Treatment Interactions (ATIs) “Empirical data have failed to support this popular and logically appealing idea.” Burns, et. al. (2007) Cognitive Profiles Effective Interventions Working Memory Deficit Working Memory training Auditory Processing Strength Focus on Auditory Information

7 Effective and Ineffective Practices Comprehension Strategies ** Math Interventions ** Direct Instruction ** Formative Evaluation * Feedback * Modality-Matched Instruction ** Aptitude by Treatment Interactions * * Hattie, 2009; ** Kavale, 2007

8 “Although some students with significant learning difficulties have underlying neurological or information-processing disorders, research does not support the notion that practitioners can identify these disorders and then treat them in isolation.” What improves academic outcomes is: “effective, systematic, and explicit instruction to identify and address weak or missing academic skills.” (Vaughn et al, 2012)

9 2. Focus on Instructional Need Traditional identification models focus on determining unalterable cognitive processes that impact learning

10 Reading and the Brain Children who struggle with reading have both functional and structural differences in their brains as compared to non-impaired students. Articulation/W ord Analysis Word Form Word Analysis

11 Reading and the Brain However… “…an intensive evidence-based (phonologic) reading intervention brings about significant and durable changes in brain organization, so that brain activation patterns resemble those of typical readers” (Shaywitz et al, 2004)

12 The Quest for “True” LD There will always be variability in identification—within and across methods Goals: – Minimize false positives & false negatives Rule out “Instructional Disabilities” – Maximize success Match supports to needs early and for all students – Identify students whose functional, real-time needs warrant SPED entitlements & SDI

13 2. Focus on Instructional Need Traditional identification models focus on determining unalterable cognitive processes that impact learning Knowing a disability exists does not provide specific information on effective intervention

14 Effect of SPED Placement Average effect size of traditional special education placement practices = (Kavale, 2007) What does this mean? SPED Identification and placement typically provides little educational benefit to students. Its what we DO in special education that can make a difference.

15 2. Focus on Instructional Need Traditional identification models focus on determining unalterable cognitive processes that impact learning Knowing a disability exists does not provide specific information on effective intervention Response to Intervention is focused on determining the conditions that enable learning, rather than on the disability that prevents learning

16 The Water… I C E Focus on “the water”- Instruction Curriculum Environment 16

17 Instruction:Curriculum: Environment:Learner: How you teach What you teach Where you teach Who you teach Student Learning 17

18 3. Evaluation Questions Appropriate instruction Progress monitoring Identifying instructional need

19 SLD Evaluation Requirements All SLD evaluations must include: “(A) Data that demonstrate that before, or as part of, the referral process, the child was provided appropriate instruction in regular education settings” “(B) Data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student progress that is directly linked to instruction.” OAR

20 Data documenting “appropriate instruction” and “formal assessment of student progress” Without the infrastructure of an RTI system, how will you answer these questions?

21 Instructional need You also must include “(i) A determination of whether, as a result of the disability, the child needs special education services” “Problem solving assessment typically takes a more direct approach to the measurement of need than has been the case in historical special education practice” - Reschly, Tilly, & Grimes (1999) OAR

22 4. Legally Supported Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004) allows (encourages!) the use of RTI for SLD eligibility Source: Zirkel & Thomas 2010

23 National Prevalence Rates SLD Rates vary by states from 2.0% to 8.4% Variability in how states identify SLD and report prevalence rates likely Decrease is likely related to RTI, early intervention, improvement in instruction, and growth in other disability categories (OHI and Autism) % of Students with Disabilities % of Students with SLD

24 4. …and Legally Defensible LORE: The response to intervention (RTI) approach for identifying students with specific learning disabilities will generate a spate of losing litigation concerning child find under the IDEA. (Betesh, Brown, Thompson, & Zirkel, 2012)

25 4. …and Legally Defensible LAW: Despite dire predictions in the special education literature of major problems of RTI in terms of child-find litigation and repeated warnings from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) not to use RTI to delay or deny IDEA evaluations, RTI has generated relatively negligible child find litigation under the IDEA, with the outcomes being notably deferential to districts (Betesh, Brown, Thompson, & Zirkel, 2012)

26 4. …and Legally Defensible LAW (Cont): …thus far no published court decision has specifically concerned RTI and child find, and the few pertinent hearing officer decisions have been deferential to school districts (e.g., Cobb County School District, 2012; Joshua Independent School District, 2010). (Betesh, Brown, Thompson, & Zirkel, 2012)

27 Where districts get into trouble Problem: Refusing a parental request for SPED evaluation because the school’s RTI process hasn’t been completed. (OSEP memo, 2011) Solution: Clearly communicate with parents throughout RTI process. Refer to collected data to determine if there is a reason to suspect the student may have a disability. Always directly address parental concerns and requests in a timely manner.

28 Where districts get into trouble Problem: Delaying a special education evaluation when there is reason (e.g. data) to suspect a student may have disability. Solution: Create and follow decision rules that guide decision-making process for when students do not make adequate progress in interventions. Rely on data/evidence to determine suspicion of disability.

29 Where districts get into trouble Problem: Keeping students in interventions beyond “reasonable” amounts of time (El Paso ISD v. Richard R, 2008) Solution: Create and follow decision rules that ensure students receive timely and appropriate support.

30 Where districts get into trouble Problem: Using only screening and progress monitoring data to determine eligibility (RTI alone?!?!?!) Solution: Ensure a comprehensive evaluation includes all the pieces outlined in state regulations.

31 Where districts get into trouble NONE of these problems are inherent to RTI applied even reasonably well. They are problems primarily with child find and negligent assessment practices

32 Comprehensive Evaluation (10) "Evaluation" means procedures used to determine whether the child has a disability, and the nature and extent of the special education and related services that the child needs. Oregon Administrative Rules, “Evaluation” ≠ “Testing”

33 Comprehensive SLD Eval: Regardless of Eval Model a)Academic assessment b)Review of records c)Observation (including regular education setting) d)Progress monitoring data g)Other: A.If needed, developmental history B.If needed, an assessment of cognition, etc. C.If needed, a medical statement D.Any other assessments to determine impact of disability Oregon Administrative Rules,

34 Is a Cognitive Test Required?

35 Comprehensive SLD Eval: RTI Model e)…documentation of: A.The type, intensity, and duration of scientific, research-based instructional intervention(s)… B.…rate of progress during the instructional intervention(s); C.A comparison of the student's rate of progress to expected rates of progress. D.Progress monitoring on a schedule that: i.Allows a comparison of the student's progress to… peers; ii.Is appropriate to the student's age and grade placement; iii.Is appropriate to the content monitored; and iv.Allows for interpretation of the effectiveness of intervention. Oregon Administrative Rules,

36 What does the process look like? Core Curric. Instruction Fidelity Intervene Gp. Intrvn. Prog. Mon. Ind. Prob. Solving SPED Referral Eval. Planning Eval. & Eligibility

37 Three key questions Slow Progress Low Skills Instructional Need SPED Entitlement Decision Is the student significantly different from peers? Does the student make less than adequate progress despite interventions? Does the student need specially designed instruction? =

38 Exploration Fear of litigation Belief that RTI does not identify the “right” students” Installation An ineffective core program Lack of research-based interventions No system to measure fidelity Lack of data systems Implementation What is “adequate” progress? How much of a discrepancy is “significant”? Determining if deficit is due to lack of appropriate instruction or English language proficiency Overcoming Perceived Barriers

39 Why RTI for SLD Identification? 1.An alternative to historical problems with SLD identification 2.A shifting focus on identifying and supporting instructional need 3.More direct answers to evaluation questions (e.g. determining a lack of “appropriate instruction”, what is “instructional need?”, etc.) 4.Legally supported and legally defensible

40 Why RTI… all Assessment is part of a comprehensive system of support that benefits all students Earlysustained Early and sustained instruction and interventions can change functioning

41 Why RTI? “If we don’t intervene early, substantially, and continuously when we know this can change a student’s neurological and educational functioning, prior to eligibility and placement into an isolated SPED program that we know may not help them, we are negligent and culpable”

42 Guidance from ODE Barriers SPED Process and Procedures Where We’re Going


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