Changing Classroom PracticePreparing School Systems to UseFormative Assessment Dataand Research-Based Practices: ResourcesJim Wright, Presenter27 January 2009SETRC Statewide ConferenceAlbany, NYJim Wright364 Long RoadTully, NY 13159Email: [email protected]:

Jim WrightRTI: Top 10 List for Teachers, Administrators, and School Districts1Implementing RTI: Top 10 Expectations for Teachers, BuildingAdministrators, and School DistrictsThe Response-to-Intervention model is complex and requires buy-n, cooperation, and collaborationamong school and district staff at all levels. To ensure successful RTI implementation, teachers,administrators, and school districts must adopt new behaviors and procedures that may differ fromcurrent practices. The checklists below list the ‘top 10’ skills, attitudes, and practices that define the‘RTI-ready’ teacher, building administrator, and school district.In the RTI-ready school, teachers demonstrate these top 10 skills, attitudes, and practices:1. Routinely use an appropriate range of research-based Tier 1 whole-group andY Nindividual instructional and behavior management strategies independently in theclassroom to address the needs of all students.2. Are able to describe and document the research-based Tier 1 classroom strategies Y Nthat they use.3. Are willing to refer a student for more intensive intervention services (e.g., to anY NRTI Problem-Solving Team at Tier 2) if Tier 1 supports are not effective in meetingthe student’s needs.4. Collect and review relevant classroom data for any Tier 1 student being considered Y Nfor more intensive intervention services. Teachers use the data to judge theeffectiveness of Tier 1 interventions and to adjust or change them as necessary.5. Supply documentation of Tier 1 interventions attempted (e.g., start and end dates,Y Nfrequency, group size, length of session) for any student referred to the RTIProblem-Solving Team.6. Participate when needed in the implementation of students’ Tier 2 or Tier 3Y Nintervention plans, taking care to implement interventions as designed (interventionintegrity).7. Are willing to share ideas and expertise on effective student interventions with other Y Nteachers.8. Can speak knowledgably to parents about the school’s RTI process.Y N9. Understand that the RTI process provides timely and targeted student assistance in Y Nan unbroken continuum of support and is not simply a ‘roadblock’ to specialeducation services.10. Seek to expand their general understanding of RTI and build their RTI-relatedY Nclassroom skills as part of continuing professional development.Jim Wright, Presenterwww.interventioncentral.org2

Jim WrightRTI: Top 10 List for Teachers, Administrators, and School Districts2In the RTI-ready school, building administrators demonstrate these top 10 skills, attitudes,and practices:1. Demonstrate an understanding of the RTI model and how it can be implementedY Nwithin the school.2. Attend RTI staff trainings, demonstrating support of RTI through their attendance.Y N3. Find necessary building resources available to support RTI, such as staffY Ndevelopment time or funds, purchase of intervention or progress-monitoringmaterials, etc.4. Provide support (e.g., classroom coverage) to free up educators to attend RTIY NProblem-Solving Team meetings as needed.5. Hold teachers accountable for implementing Tier I (classroom) interventions and for Y Ndelivering—when needed-- more intensive student intervention (Tier 2) plans.6. Serve as ‘cheerleaders’, communicating the mission of RTI to school staff as aY Npowerful means to help struggling learners and supporting RTI in the face ofpotential staff resistance.7. Provide regular updates to staff (e.g., via faculty meetings) on the building-levelY Nimplementation of RTI.8. Communicate with parents about the RTI process and how it provides early andY Nfocused assistance for struggling learners without requiring a special educationreferral.9. Encourage teachers and support staff to expand continually their skills andY Nknowledge base relating to RTI (e.g., through annual job performance evaluations).10. Communicate with the district about the school’s implementation of RTI andY Nadvocates for needed RTI resources unavailable at the building level.Jim Wright, Presenterwww.interventioncentral.org3

Jim WrightRTI: Top 10 List for Teachers, Administrators, and School DistrictsThe RTI-ready school district demonstrates these top 10 practices and procedures:1. Establishes a district-wide RTI Steering Group to create a multi-year blueprint toimplement RTI in all schools. The RTI Steering Group is made up of key districtlevel leaders who oversee resources or policies important to RTI (e.g., staffdevelopment, curriculum, special education), as well as representatives fromschools.2. Communicates with school board members, parents, and other communitystakeholders about the RTI model, its potential to help struggling learners, anddistrict implementation plans.3. Adopts and strongly supports standard expectations for effective Tier 1 ‘coreinstructional’ teaching practices across grade levels and content areas.4. Identifies successful RTI implementation and support as a key annual jobperformance goal for building administrators at elementary, middle, and highschools.5. Maintains an ongoing program of staff development for teachers, support staff,paraprofessionals, and administrators to provide consistent training in the RTImodel and technical assistance support (e.g., intervention design and selection,methods of student progress-monitoring, etc.).6. Assesses candidates’ RTI knowledge and skills when hiring new teachers andsupport staff at all grade levels and in all schools.7. Solicits feedback regularly from administration, teachers, support staff, and parentsabout implementation of the RTI model, including suggestions for improvementsand stakeholder concerns.8. Takes into consideration the needs of the district’s RTI project when makingdecisions that impact instruction, student learning, and student behavior (e.g.,purchase of new instructional materials, adoption of major staff developmentinitiatives, changes to curriculum).9. Collects and evaluates program-evaluation data on an ongoing basis to evaluatethe effectiveness of the district’s implementation of the RTI model. Programevaluation data is routinely shared with relevant district administrators—and is alsobroken out by school to allow principals and other stakeholders to improve RTIperformance at the building level.10. Monitors changes in federal and state education department guidelines andregulations regarding RTI –as well as new developments reported in the RTIimplementation literature--that may require adjustments to the district RTI project.Jim Wright, Presenterwww.interventioncentral.org3Y NY NY NY NY NY NY NY NY NY N4

Tier I (Classroom) Intervention PlannerTeacher/Team: Date: Student:Student Concern #1:Student Concern #2:[Optional] Person(s) assisting with intervention planning process:Intervention DescriptionIntervention DeliveryProgress-Monitoring Data Check-Up DateDescribe each intervention that you plan to use to addressthe student’s concern(s).Jim Wright, PresenterList key details about delivery of the intervention,such as:; (1) where & when the intervention will beused; (2) the adult-to-student ratio; (3) how frequentlythe intervention will take place; (4) the length of timeeach session of the intervention will last;.www.interventioncentral.orgNote what classroom data will beused to demonstrate the student’sprogress during this intervention.Select a date whenthe data will bereviewed to evaluatethe intervention.5

Introducing Academic Strategiesto Students: A Direct-InstructionApproachTeachers know how difficult it often is to get students to understand and use a newacademic strategy. A number of roadblocks can prevent students from successfullyapplying strategies. For example, students may initially learn the steps of a strategyincorrectly and become discouraged when they discover that it does not help them withtheir work. Even if students become proficient in using a strategy, they may fail torecognize those academic situations when the strategy should be applied. (An unusedstrategy is equal to no strategy at all!) Or students may know full well when they aresupposed to use a strategy (e.g., proofreading a homework assignment) but simply beunmotivated to do so.Fortunately, you can follow a direct-instruction sequence to increase the probability thatyour students will both correctly master and actually use effective academic strategies.This framework includes four major stages: (1) you explicitly show students how to usethe skill or strategy, (2) students practice the skill under your supervision--and you givefrequent corrective feedback and praise, (3) students use the skill independently in realacademic situations, and (4) students use the skill in a variety of other settings orsituations (“generalization”). To avoid overloading your students with more newinformation than they can absorb, teach only one strategy at a time and make sure thatyour students have thoroughly mastered each strategy before teaching them another.1. “Show them!”: The teacher demonstrates to students how to use theskill. The goal in this introductory step is to demonstrate the strategy so clearlythat students will have a firm understanding and foundation for their later masteryof the skill. In most cases, you should devote at least a full session todemonstrating the strategy. (More complex strategies may require additionaltime.) During the lesson, students should be actively engaged and responding,rather than passively listening. If possible, make the session fast-paced,interactive, and fun!Introduce the skill. To build a rationale for using the skill, discuss the problem ordifficulty that it can resolve. You might, for example, introduce the use of keywords (a strategy formemorizing factual information) by holding up a classroom science text andsaying, “You will need to remember hundreds of important facts from yourscience reading. Today we are going to learn a strategy that can help you todo this.”Jim Wright, Presenterwww.interventioncentral.org6

You can also stimulate student interest and motivation and activate the class’sprior knowledge of the topic by having the group briefly share their ownfavorite techniques for accomplishing the same academic goal (e.g., “Whatare some of your favorite ways to memorize lots of facts?”).Describe & demonstrate the skill. Present the main steps of the strategy in simpleterms. List the same main steps on a wall poster or in a handout so that studentscan refer back to them as needed. Use overhead transparencies or other visualaids to display examples of text, academic worksheets, or other materials that youwill use to demonstrate the strategy. Consider handing out student copies of thesame materials so that your class can work along with you. Take students throughseveral demonstrations in which you walk through the steps of the strategy. Use a“think-aloud” procedure to share your reasoning with students as you apply thestrategy. Start with simple examples that most students should be able tounderstand without difficulty. Introduce increasingly complex examples until youare demonstrating the strategy using grade-appropriate content.Elicit student participation. Run through several more demonstrations of thestrategy, inviting student volunteers to come to the front of the room to walk theclass through the strategy. Or call on different students to share how they wouldapply each step. Give gentle, corrective feedback as needed. Praise studentsfrequently and give them specific positive feedback whenever they correctly use astep in the strategy.Assess student understanding. The class is ready the move to the next stage ofinstruction when most students appear to have a general understanding of thesteps in the strategy, and guidelines for when to use it. You should be able to tellthrough the quality of student responses whether the class grasps the strategy.2. “Watch them & praise them!”: Students practice the skill underteacher supervision. At this stage, students have begun to acquire thestrategy but need opportunities to practice it under teacher supervision. Teacheroversight and feedback is especially important to prevent students new to the skillfrom practicing it incorrectly.Start by giving students simple examples. As students become more skilled inusing the strategy, give them more advanced academic materials, until theexamples are equal to grade-level work.For this stage, you may want to pair students and have them alternate roles: onestudent applies the strategy to an example, while the other acts as the observerwho checks the posted strategy steps to be sure that all steps were correctlyfollowed. As students work, you can walk around the room to monitor the dialog,and provide feedback, praise, and assistance as needed. Alternatively, you maywant to have students work independently and then ‘report out’ on their strategiesto the larger group.Jim Wright, Presenterwww.interventioncentral.org7

Many students, particularly those who need more practice and support to learn anew skill, do best at this stage if they are encouraged initially to “think aloud” asthey move through the strategy—i.e., stating each step of the skill as theyimplement it and giving reasons for the decisions that they make. As studentsshow that they can use the strategy dependably, you can ‘fade’ students’ use of“think aloud”. First, demonstrate to them how lower their tone of voice during“think-aloud” until students are whispering softly the steps of the strategy. Thenmodel to students how to mouth the steps silently or simply to think through thesteps without actually stating them.While most of your students are likely to progress at a similar rate, you willprobably find that several students are advanced in their understanding of the skilland others lag behind. You may want to assign advanced students as peer“strategy” coaches to work with their classmates. Students who struggle inacquiring the strategy may require scaffolding support (individual modificationsto help them to master the concepts or tasks), such as additional teacher feedbackand praise, simplified practice materials, or more opportunities to try out the skill.Assess student acquisition. Your class is ready to advance to the next stage whenthe majority appears to understand and to be able to use the strategy reliably—atleast with simple materials.3. “Make them use it!”: Students employ the skill independently in realacademic situations. After learning a strategy and practicing it under yoursupervision, students are now ready to use it to complete classwork andhomework assignments.Again, you should start off with students applying the strategy to simplerassignments. Gradually increase the length and complexity of assignments asstudents become more confident and skilled with the strategy. Be prepared at thestart of this stage to monitor students’ follow-through and care in using thestrategy. Give ongoing feedback and encouragement as needed.4. “Expand their horizons!”: Students use the strategy in allappropriate settings or situations. The ideal outcome of strategy trainingis that the student generalizes the training (e.g., is able and willing to use thestrategy in any academic situation in which it would benefit him or her).Although it is every teacher’s fervent wish that students generalize good academicstrategies, most children need direct training and reinforcement to help them toapply a skill across settings (e.g., at school and at home) or in different activities.Here are some ideas to assist students to generalize skills: Jim Wright, PresenterWhen you first train students to use the strategy, give them variedmaterials. If you are training them to use a reading strategy, for example,you might use excerpts from an encyclopedia, a news magazine, and ahistory textbook.www.interventioncentral.org8

Use a clear, simple verbal prompt or other reminder whenever you wantstudents to employ a specific strategy. Let other teachers know that you have taught your students a specificstrategy. Share copies of the strategy steps with these instructors and urgethem to require students to apply the strategy in their classrooms. Send a note home to parents outlining the steps of the strategy that theirchild has been taught. If appropriate, encourage parents to help the childto use the strategy on a homework assignment. Enlist students who are proficient in using the strategy to serve as peertutors, available to train other students (or even adults!) to use the skill. Have students share creative ideas for extending, improving, or enhancingthe strategy. Type up these ideas to share with other students andinstructors.References:Baumann, J.F. (1984). The effectiveness of a direct instruction paradigm for teachingmain idea comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 93-108.Carnine, D. (1994). Diverse learners and prevailing, emerging and research-basededucational approaches and their tools. School Psychology Review, 23, 341-350.Pressley, M., Johnson, C.J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J.A., & Kurita, J.A. (1989).Strategies that improve children’s memory and comprehension of text. The ElementarySchool Journal, 90(1), 3-32.Schunk, D.H. & Rice, J.M. (1993). Strategy fading and progress feedback: Effects onself-efficacy and comprehension among students receiving remedial reading services.Journal of Special Education, 27, 257-276.Jim Wright, Presenterwww.interventioncentral.org9

Research-Based Elements of Effective InterventionsTeachers can have confidence in any classroom intervention by checking to see that it containsthese key evidence-based elements: ‘Correctly targeted’: The intervention is appropriately matched to the student’s academic orbehavioral needs. ‘Explicit instruction’: Student skills have been broken down “into manageable anddeliberately sequenced steps and providing overt strategies for students to learn and practicenew skills” p.1153 ‘Appropriate level of challenge’: The student experiences adequate success with theinstructional task. ‘High opportunity to respond’: The student actively responds at a rate frequent enough topromote effective learning. ‘Feedback’: The student receives prompt performance feedback about the work completed.Source: Burns, M. K., VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Boice, C. H. (2008). Best practices in intensiveacademic interventions. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology V(pp.1151-1162). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.Jim Wright, Presenterwww.interventioncentral.org10

Content-Area Vocabulary Instruction:Selected Intervention Ideas & GraphicDisplaysJim Wright, Presenterwww.interventioncentral.org11

Classroom Literacy Strategies: Academic & Content-AreaVocabularyWhy This Instructional Goal is ImportantThe explicit teaching of instructional vocabulary is a central literacy-building goal in secondaryclassrooms. As vocabulary terms become more specialized in content area courses, students areless able to derive the meaning of unfamiliar words incidentally simply by relying on the context inwhich they appear. Students must instead learn vocabulary through more direct means, includinghaving opportunities to explicitly memorize words and their definitions. On average, studentsexpand their reading vocabularies by 2000 to 3000 new words per year (Texas Reading Initiative,2002).While the typical student can master a new word after about 12 meaningful exposures to the term;some students may require as many as 17 exposures to learn a word. (Kamil, et al., 2008). Insecondary courses with a substantial numbe