Implementing a Response to Intervention (RTI) program in middle school can come with unique challenges. Screening, intervention, and progress monitoring are the main components of a successful program. However, often the progress monitoring tools available are not ideal for middle grades students with defined skill gaps who may be performing several grade levels behind their peers. Additionally, middle schools often don't have the much needed resources for students with skill gaps below grade level. A single middle school teacher might see over 100 students throughout one school day. Incorporating effective progress monitoring and intervention into your busy schedule may seem unrealistic. But, with the right tools it doesn’t have to be.
Instructional technology can be extremely useful in helping middle schools effectively implement RTI. How?
It’s important to select the right resource -- a solution that is comprehensive but not cumbersome. Even better, choose a program that combines the main components we mentioned earlier -- screening, intervention, and progress monitoring -- in one intuitive platform.
What should you look for?
When you have students in middle school who are performing two or more grade levels behind, it is important to have a screener that can identify where they are ready to learn. Classworks assessments are designed to identify students who may need intervention. Teachers immediately have a level to start intervention AND a level for progress monitoring.
Some RTI programs only offer single subject intervention, typically for reading only. However, we know that closing gaps in math at middle school can have a huge impact on success for the rest of a student’s school career. When your intervention solution includes both subjects in a single platform, students with language arts, reading, and math gaps don’t have to waste time learning a different program. Instead, they can focus on the intervention.
What about instruction to meet them where they are? Classworks uses each student’s assessment results to prescribe instruction at exactly the level they are ready to learn. Students are working on concepts in direct response to their needs. You can focus on teaching your grade-level standards with the peace of mind that your students are receiving the individualized intervention to help them grow.
Once a student has been selected for intervention, you need a system for tracking and documenting the impact of that intervention. In a middle school environment, the sheer volume of students makes this challenging.
Make sure your progress monitoring tool allows you to monitor students at their level as they work on intervention tailored for their unique learning needs. With Classworks, once a student takes an assessment, you know the appropriate progress monitoring level for them. You know exactly where to start.
This year, Classworks released a new Progress Monitoring tool as part of its comprehensive RTI suite. Ease of use for the teacher was at the top of our mind when developing this new resource. Classworks uses easy-to-administer Curriculum-based Measurement (CBM) probes to measure how students are responding to their intervention. There are two types of CBMs -- Robust Indicators and Curriculum Sampling. Classworks uses Curriculum Sampling, a preferred methodology, especially for middle and high school students. Curriculum Sampling uses items related to the grade-level curriculum and is appropriate for measuring content, concepts, and problem-solving skills – areas beyond basic fluency. A common challenge with the Robust Indicator methodology is that the measures of fluency appropriate for primary grades are not effective for middle or high school students.
Your progress monitoring tool should provide easy-to-read data to help you track the intervention and make instructional adjustments. With Classworks, you can view your students’ results in real time, including their current and target rate of improvement. Results can be easily printed for documentation.
It’s also important to keep track of behavioral changes, changes in environment, or any other factors that could be affecting the way the student is responding to the intervention. And, many states require detailed documentation of these findings. Classworks makes this process easy for teachers with areas built-in to record notes.
It’s important to determine when students will work on their intervention. In middle school, building dedicated time into the weekly bell schedule is the most common way to ensure consistency with your RTI program.
In one middle school, the principal built Classworks into the schedule as a connections or specials class. Students who require additional intervention have a 45-minute period per week to work on their Classworks Individualized Learning Path assignments. In other schools, homeroom time is used for intervention time. The important thing is to have dedicated time.
Be selective when looking for a comprehensive solution for RTI. Instead of implementing multiple programs to accomplish your goal, choose an all-in-one solution that will do the heavy lifting for you.
For more information about incorporating a successful RTI program download our whitepaper, Research Basis for the Classworks Tiered Instructional Model.