What is DBI, and Why Does it Matter?

July 27, 2023
What is DBI, and Why Does it Matter?

Yes, another set of initials in K-12

Data-based Individualization (DBI) is a process for ensuring early and often that interventions and specially designed instruction are working for students.

According to The National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII) it is a "research-based approach for individualizing and intensifying interventions through the use of assessment data, validated interventions, and adaptation strategies.” NCII and The Progress Center provide detailed guidance on implementing DBI.

It’s important to note that DBI is a process, not a specific program or product. Let’s break down the steps and discuss how to apply them.

DBI begins after identifying students for intensive interventions or specially designed instruction. It starts with two things simultaneously:

  1. An evidence-based intervention designed to accelerate student learning; this could be small group standard-protocol interventions, or evidence-based individualized interventions like Classworks
  2. Weekly, valid and reliable progress monitoring

The interventions and the progress monitoring are independent measures. Students’ scores on their interventions show the skills they are learning. Progress monitoring indicates whether or not learning those skills leads to overall growth across a grade-level curriculum.

Progress monitoring in the DBI process does not measure specific skills. Instead, it requires a valid and reliable curriculum-based measure that calculates growth overall. NCII lists valid and reliable progress monitoring options, including Classworks, on their Tools Chart.

Progress Monitoring data is graphed weekly and used to ascertain if the student is experiencing growth. For example, teachers using Classworks select a progress monitoring measure and click ‘start’. Students receive a new probe every week for 12 weeks. This data is automatically graphed making it easy for teachers to evaluate growth quickly. In as little as four weeks, teachers have the data to determine if the intervention is having an impact.

DBI in Action

Now the process of DBI begins! If the student is growing, everyone is happy and stays the course. If the student is not showing growth, the SST or IEP team regroups.

First, the team looks at diagnostic data. They should consider:

  • How the student has been performing in the intervention over the last four weeks;  are they mastering the skills being taught?
  • Anecdotal observations about struggles the student may be having
  • Daily grades from the classroom

Using the progress monitoring and instructional diagnostic data, develop a hypothesis about why the student isn't responding to the intervention or specially designed instruction.

Next, it’s time to make changes. Possible changes include the physical location where the student is working, frequency and duration of the intervention time, or the instructional approach. Consider NCII’s taxonomy of intensive interventions when determining possible changes. Teachers using Classworks, for example, can print lessons, modify the activities a student engages with, and increase the weekly time on the computer.

Throughout this process the progress monitoring continues to ensure adaptations to the interventions are working! Post Endrew F., there is more guidance than ever about what constitutes compliant, valid and reliable progress monitoring as well as why and how to use the data. Watch the recent webinar, Progress Monitoring: NCII's New Guidelines for Measuring Growth on IEPs, hosted by Classworks and The Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) to learn more.

When does the DBI process end for a student? When they are no longer receiving intensive interventions or specially designed instruction. Effectively and consistently implementing DBI is an important step towards ensuring all students receive their free appropriate public education (FAPE).

At Classworks, we offer one platform that includes both an evidence-based intervention and independent progress monitoring to track student growth. The two were developed and validated separately, but exist under one log-in for teacher convenience. Learn more about Classworks by chatting with us at classworks.com.

Related Posts