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Response to Intervention applications for English language learners. Alejandro E. Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Associate Professor Secondary/ESOL University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Response to Intervention applications for English language learners. Alejandro E. Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Associate Professor Secondary/ESOL University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Response to Intervention applications for English language learners. Alejandro E. Brice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Associate Professor Secondary/ESOL University of South Florida St. Petersburg

2 Assessment Issues. Alternative measures vs. Traditional assessment. A. What is Performance Based Assessment (PBA)? PBA is an alternative to using standardized achievement or norm referenced tests. 1. Examples of PBA include student projects, portfolios, language samples in the form a class presentations, or other samples of work.

3 2. Attributes include allowing the student to demonstrate communication knowledge through a product. Frequently the product is assessed using a rubric (More on rubrics later). PBA allows a student’s strengths and weaknesses to be displayed.

4 3. Strengths include that PBA can be aligned with classroom instruction. PBA analyzes basic skills and higher level skills such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation. Assessment tends to be more authentic for culturally and linguistically diverse students. 4. Weaknesses include the risk of rater bias or rubric bias.

5 B. What is Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM)? CBM is another alternative to assessing students. 1. Examples include classroom assignments, such as, reading a loud from a basal reader, answering math problems in a 2 minute probe. 2. Attributes include are taken directly from the classroom curriculum employing common tasks, frequently those that may take one minute or less.

6 3. Strengths include that CBM is a direct sample of the student’s knowledge. CBM is a quick probe of abilities. The teacher can develop local caseload, classroom or school norms. 4. Weaknesses. If the curriculum is poor, then CBM is a reflection of the curriculum and subsequently poor. Sometimes only basic skills are assessed.

7 C.What is Dynamic Assessment (DA)? DA refers to assessing a student’s abilities over time involving (a) an initial assessment; (b) targeting of objectives to the student’s weaknesses; and (c) assessing the student’s growth over a period of time. 1.Attributes include allowing the assessment specialist and classroom teacher to draw conclusions on the student’s rate of learning. It is a test-teach-test process. 2. Strengths include focusing on learning where the school professional can interact with student.

8 3. Weaknesses include that it is time consuming and requires a teacher with highly developed assessment, teaching, intervention, and collaborative skills.

9 D. What is Response to Intervention/Instruction? RtI/I refers to a problem solving method to assessment (Mills, 2005). Attributes: 1. Learning difficulties are documented by a slow rate of learning over time when given specific strategic instruction. 2. Mills (2005) stated that RtI/I is “A graduated series of increasingly intense interventions guided by data-based decision making.” What is Response to Intervention/I nstruction

10 3. Define the communication and/or learning difficulties. Develop an assessment strategy. Implement the strategy. Evaluate outcomes. 4. Strengths: Focusing on the student’s learning compared to others in his/her classroom environment using Curriculum Based Assessment.

11 5. Weaknesses: Requires extensive collaboration and “letting go” of the psychometric model of assessment.

12 Specifically, What is Response to Intervention/ Instruction (RtI/I)? A multi-tiered approach for struggling learners. A problem-solving approach to serving students who struggle. An instructional consultation-team model for working with teachers who serve students who struggle.

13 RtI/I consists of: Screening Tiers/levels of instruction Progress monitoring Indicators of successful teaching and learning

14 IDEA states that LEAs must ensure that assessments “are provided and administered in the language and form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally….”

15 For teachers RtI/I is keeping the whole class on-track

16 All teachers face teaching/learning obstacles

17 And, no student should get left behind!

18 Adapted from: Beth Doll, University of Colorado Is it the student (Fish) or is it the teaching (the Water)?

19 80% of all able learners Possible tiers Primary Level (School-wide): The focus is on the core curriculum with accommodations and modifications made by general education classroom teachers. Secondary Intervention/Instruction: Provide evidence based instruction, small group instruction to students. Typically provided by a specialist (e.g., ESOL teacher, special education teacher). Tertiary Level of Intensive Intervention/Instruction: These students need the most intensive intervention. Instruction is tailored to remedial instruction for individual needs (e.g., longer and more frequent sessions). This level is not synonymous with special education. 15% 5% Adapted from: Dwyer, K. & Osher, D. (2000) Safeguarding Our Children: An Action Guide. Washington DC: U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, American Institutes for Research AND Mellard, D. (2008). What is RTI? Lawrence, KS: National Technical Assistance Center on Response to Intervention Evaluate Effects

20 In essence, RtI/IO consists of multiple levels or tiers of interventions. These tiers for ESOL endorsed and ESOL teachers may consist of (Ehren, 2009): 1. Enhanced content instruction 2. Embedded strategy instruction 3. Intensive Strategy Instruction 4. Intensive Basic Skill Instruction 5. Intensive Intervention in Language Skills

21 1. Enhanced content instruction. Be there in the general education classroom. Determine what language and cognitive issues may be preventing students from learning. Determine what accommodations are needed for students with language issues.

22 1. Enhanced content instruction (cont.) Identify those students who may need additional assistance. Assist the teacher in her/his use of language and content instruction. - For example, during teacher read aloud instruction- Teacher 1- “O.kay, everybody can read along while I read. - Teacher 2- “You can do it Mario. You can read along…”

23 2. Embedded Strategy Instruction Are the identified students able to successfully use the strategies? Determine what is thwarting the student's use of the strategies? Remember that just exposure to English is NOT enough for ELL students to learn (Harper & de Jong, 2004; Wong-Filmore, 1992).

24 Conditions for English language learning include: 1. Learning language in a social context in which L2 and L1 are valued equally and are used for a wide variety of purposes. 2. Bilingualism is promoted at both home and school. It is viewed as socially advantageous in the community. 3. A well developed L1 before learning English. 4. Opportunities for oral and written L1 and L2. 5. Ample opportunities to interact with native speakers of L2.

25 6. English speakers interact and know the language well enough to provide access to it, support learning it and show willingness. 7. Learners receive appropriate instruction in the language and provide ample corrective feedback from teachers as the learners use English (Wong-Fillmore, 1992).

26 Conditions under English is likely to become a subtractive process (Wong-Fillmore, 1992): 1. Great pressure to learn English. The learner senses that English is the language that is useful in the social worlds of school and beyond. 2. Family language (L1) has no function or place in the social world of the school or community. 3. Age of the child. The younger the learner, the greater the danger of English displacing the family language.

27 Language interaction in classrooms are typically short and do not provide language learning opportunities (Harper & de Jong, 2004). Cooperative activities among students also do not teach the language skills of asking questions, agreeing/disagreeing, commenting, asking for help (Harper & de Jong, 2004). Teachers must teach these pragmatic language skills.

28 In addition, teachers must not view bilingual language development as a universal process for all ELLs (Harper & de Jong, 2004). In fact, a bilingual student is NOT two monolinguals, i.e., bilingual language development is unique and different from monolingual language development (Grosjean, 1989).

29 The bilingual speaker is not two monolinguals in one person (Grosjean, 1989); therefore: Language skills should be appraised in terms of bilingual and NOT monolingual standards. Bilingualism is the norm worldwide. Contact between a bilingual speaker’s two languages is common and frequent (e.g., code switching and code mixing). Grosjean stated that, “The coexistence and constant interaction of the two languages in the bilingual has produced a different but complete linguistic entity” (p. 6). The bilingual develops competencies in both their languages to the extent that is required by his/her environment.

30 Errors are normal. Errors do not constitute a disorder or disability. Common writing errors for ELLs include problems with: (a) verb tenses; (b) plural and possessive noun forms; (c) subject/verb agreement; (d) use of articles (Harper & de Jong 2004).

31 Factors affecting an ELLs acquisition of English and learning in the classroom include: (a)years of exposure to English; (b) cognitive and academic development in L1; (c) the school program, i.e., greater amount of L1 instruction with balanced L2 support -> higher English academic achievement (Thomas & Collier, 1997); and

32 (d) the parent’s education level (Umek, Kranjc, Fekonja, & Bajc, 2006). However, preschool education can compensate for a child’s development if the parents have a low education level (Umek, Kranjc, Fekonja, & Bajc (2008).

33 3. Intensive strategy instruction. Provide learning strategy instruction for 6, 9, or 12 weeks. Provide strategy instruction for small group of students. Some strategies suggested by Chamot and O’Malley (1996) include: (a) advance organization; (b) imagery; (c) selective attention; (d) self-management; (e) monitoring comprehension & production; (f) making inferences; (g) self-assessment; (h) grouping; (i) note-taking; (j) summarizing.

34 Strategies suggested by Brice, Miller, and Brice (2006) include: (a) Building lessons on students’ background knowledge; (b) Providing written copies of instructions; (c) Asking prediction questions; (d) Teaching self-study skills; (e) Encouraging students to ask questions; (f) Modeling correct language forms; (g) Increasing student-teacher interactions; (h) using grammar drills AND direct instruction; (i) Having students practice

35 formalized, structured speaking situations; (j) Allowing code switching and code mixing to occur; (k) Using longer sentences with ELLs with higher language skills; (l) Expanding vocabulary use. In addition, in planning and communicating with other teachers: (a) Plan lessons beyond workbooks; (b) Plan lessons jointly with other teachers; (d) Plan lessons that allow for students to be successful; (e) Routinely communicate with students; and (f) Routinely communicate with other teachers.

36 4. Coordinating instruction with specialist. Provide “zoom in” lessons for students who need more intensive work. More intensive work on classroom lessons; specialized, direct, intensive instruction in differentiated instruction.

37 5. Work with students who have language difficulties in and outside the classroom. Determine what accommodations are needed for students with language issues. Observe the student (see Oral Language Grid by Collier, 2004). RtI/I will involve running records for progress monitoring; e.g., use of daily/weekly probes.


39 Developing your own Evidence Based Practice Probes and Rubrics A. Developing a performance based assessment rubric (Perlman 2003). 1. Use an existing rubric 2. Rewrite an existing rubric 3. Develop a new rubric

40 B. Guidelines for developing a new rubric: 1. Define the dimensions to be assessed. 2. Examine student work for aspects of the dimensions to be assessed 3. Cluster dimensions into a few categories. 4. Write a definition for each category. 5. Develop a continuum or scoring scale. 6. Pilot test the rubric with a few students.

41 7. Revise the rubric. 8. Share the rubric.

42 C. Example Rubric 1. Define dimensions: Reading in Kindergarten or 1st grade children 2. Examples of student work include phonemic awareness and phonics skills 3. Cluster dimensions into few categories. (a) identification of sounds; (b) phonics; (c ) rhyming; (d) segmenting; (e) blending.

43 4. Definition for each category: (a) distinguishing between beginning, middle and ending sounds in single syllable words; (b) recognizing that vowels and consonants can be represented by different letters; rhyming of words; (c ) adding or deleting sounds to change words; (e) blending 2-4 phonemes into recognizable words.

44 5. Develop a scoring scale: Criterion referenced (skill is present or absent). 6. Pilot test the rubric (We will use the probe developed by the Chicago Schools Office of Accountability Kindergarten-Assessment Tools for Phonemic Awareness).

45 Examples:






51 Steps to Success 1.Educate others why language is important for ELLs (listening, speaking, reading, writing). Observe one classroom; Work with small groups; Co-teach lessons; Talk with teachers about who may be at-risk and why they may be at-risk.

52 2. Volunteer your knowledge. Integrate your ESOL expertise into the classroom curriculum. 3. Have regular contact with other teachers and school administration, 4. Commit. Make it happen. Your ELL students depend upon it for classroom instruction and learning.


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