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Integrating Response to Intervention and Severe Discrepancy: Best Practices Assessment Model Richard D. Baer Utah LD Test Selection Committee Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "Integrating Response to Intervention and Severe Discrepancy: Best Practices Assessment Model Richard D. Baer Utah LD Test Selection Committee Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Integrating Response to Intervention and Severe Discrepancy: Best Practices Assessment Model Richard D. Baer Utah LD Test Selection Committee Learning Disabilities Association 46 th International Conference Salt Lake City UT February 28, 2009

2 LD Defined Term coined by Sam Kirk in 1963 Focus on children with normal intelligence who were having difficulty learning to read. Discrepancy between reading achievement predicted from intelligence and actual reading achievement Definition

3 LD Defined Biologically based – Minimal Brain Dysfunction Rare Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (ITPA) Inputs – vision, hearing, Processes Outputs – verbal, written

4 LD Defined Maze tracing Balance beam walking Didn’t work

5 LD Defined Public Law 92:142, The Education of All Handicapped Children Act (1975) (A) In general The term ‘specific learning disability’ means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. (B) Disorders included Such term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. (C) Disorders not included Such term does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

6 LD Defined Implementing Rules for PL 94:142 Sec.300.541 Criteria for determining the existence of a specific learning disability (a) A team may determine that a child has a specific learning disability if-- (1) The child does not achieve commensurate with his or her age and ability levels in one or more of the areas listed in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, when provided with learning experiences appropriate for the child’s age and ability levels [Close to RTI]; and

7 LD Defined (2) The team finds that a child has a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in one or more of the following areas-- (i) Oral expression; (ii) Listening comprehension; (iii) Written expression; (iv) Basic reading skill; (v) Reading comprehension; (vi) Mathematics calculation; or (vii) Mathematics reasoning. Reading Fluency

8 LD Defined (b) The team may not identify a child as having a specific learning disability if the severe discrepancy between ability and achievement is primarily the result of-- (1) A visual, hearing, or motor impairment; (2) Mental retardation; (3) Emotional disturbance; or (4) Environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage. (CFR 34, Part 300, Subpart E)

9 Severe Discrepancy Measurement No national formula States were left to decide Four approaches Deviation from grade level Expectancy formulas Standard score comparison Regression models - correct

10 Special Education Programs Work Group on Measurement Issues in Learning Disabilities Cecil Reynolds – 1984

11 Special Education Programs Work Group on Measurement Issues in Learning Disabilities When the rules and regulations for PL 94-142 were being developed, many experts testified in the Office of Education hearings, wrote numerous papers, and were convened for discussion and debate. When the results of these hearings, papers, and debates were examined, the reason for the discrepancy emphasis of the PL 94-142 definition becomes clear. The only consensus of this “thing” called learning disability, was that it resulted in a major discrepancy between what you expect academically of learning disabled children and the level at which they were actually achieving. (Reynolds, 1984-85, p. 452, bold added for emphasis)

12 IDEA Reauthorization 2004 School districts can choose: Severe discrepancy Response to [scientific, research-based] intervention Pattern of strengths & weaknesses Other Some combination

13 RTI Elements Tiered Instruction High quality regular classroom instruction Small group, different curriculum, etc. More intensive instruction, assessment & special education

14 RTI Upside Elevates pre-referral intervention Students succeed academically Students avoid special education stigma Special education resources saved for students with disabilities

15 RTI Difficulties Tiers > students with low achievement Traditionally LD = unexpected Low achievement Under RTI LD = unexpected & expected low achievement = severe discrepant students & slow learners More students in special education Change of definition Are children LD if they do respond or if they don’t?

16 RTI Difficulties Expected/unexpected low achievement distinction doesn’t matter – Both groups learn the same

17 RTI Difficulties National Reading Panel (2000) Both groups benefit from phonemic awareness and phonics training. We don’t know if there are differences in reading fluency and comprehension. Research is needed.

18 RTI Difficulties Joe Torgesen & Colleagues (1997) Group of students: Word reading skills improved by phonological awareness & phonics instruction Does not improve orthographic reading and reading comprehension 2-5% of population traditionally defined as LD who do not respond to phonological awareness and phonics instruction.

19 RTI Difficulties Other LD achievement areas Oral Expression Listening Comprehension Written Expression Mathematics Calculation Mathematics Reasoning Premature to conclude no difference in learning by expected & unexpected low achievers

20 RTI Difficulties Do we have scientific, research-based interventions? Practical considerations: Regular education initiative Training Treatment fidelity Levels, criteria, procedures

21 RTI Difficulties It makes no more sense to conclude, solely on the basis of low achievement, that students are LD than it would to conclude they are mentally retarded or deaf or autistic, etc. Low academic achievement is a given in special education qualification. Additional criteria are needed to determine disability category.

22 Severe Discrepancy Criticisms SD is a wait to fail model Some young children do show SD Administrators can adjust cutoff criteria Achievement measures can be improved Finding a student does not qualify for Sp. Ed. does not preclude helping

23 Severe Discrepancy Criticisms Not clear all students benefit from early intervention. Some may need compensatory education. Wait to fail is emotionally loaded. No more appropriate than labeling RTI rush to fail.

24 Severe Discrepancy Criticisms SD models are not reliable & valid. They are. SD model do not inform instruction They are not suppose to An audiological examination does not tell us how to teach Deaf children

25 Everything & Nothing LD is Severe discrepancy –many formulas RTI – many things Pattern of strengths & weaknesses – what pattern Other Combination If LD is defined in many ways it becomes many things and therefore not one thing.

26 Conclusion RTI is great for improving pre-referral intervention. It doesn’t tell you if a child has a learning disability.

27 Conclusion Pattern of strengths & weaknesses Didn’t work for Kirk No generally agreed upon pattern Team decision is chaos Research needed Premature as an assessment model

28 Conclusion Done correctly SD, in combination with exclusionary criteria (instruction, other disability, environmental, cultural, & economic disadvantage), is a psychometrically sound method for identifying LD that preserves historical definition and provides for consistence from state to state and district to district.

29 Estimator Software to assist with severe discrepancy calculation. 435 752-6305

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