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Education

Published on January 10, 2008

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Considerations When Using RTI Models with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students :  Considerations When Using RTI Models with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students Janette Klingner University of Colorado at Boulder National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems Slide2:  What does federal law say about Response to Intervention and Early Intervening Services? Response to Intervention Models:  Response to Intervention Models In the newly reauthorized IDEA, eligibility and identification criteria for LD have changed [614(b)(6)(A)-(B)]: When determining whether a child has a specific learning disability The LEA is not required to consider a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability. The LEA may use a process that determines if a child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as part of the evaluation. Early Intervening Services :  Early Intervening Services LEAs can use up to 15% of their federal IDEA funds to provide academic and behavioral services to support prevention and early identification for struggling learners in K-12 (with a particular emphasis on K-3 students) who are not currently identified as needing special education or related services, but who need additional academic and behavioral support to succeed in general education [P.L. 108-446, §613(f) (l)]. Early Intervening Services :  Early Intervening Services LEAs can also use up to 50% of any increases in Title I funds for early intervening services. Funds may be used for professional development of non-special education staff as well as for RTI-related activities. EIS and Disproportionality:  EIS and Disproportionality Any LEA identified as having significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity must reserve the maximum amount of funds under section 613(f) of the Act to provide comprehensive coordinated early intervening services to serve children in the LEA, particularly, but not exclusively, children in those groups that were significantly over-identified [300.646(b)(2)]. Overview of RTI as Commonly Conceptualized:  Overview of RTI as Commonly Conceptualized Response to Intervention: A Three-tiered Model:  Response to Intervention: A Three-tiered Model Research-based instruction in general education classroom Intensive assistance, as part of general education support system Special Education RTI Models:  RTI Models The 2 most common RTI models are: Standard Treatment Protocol Problem-Solving What model is best for culturally and linguistically diverse students? Standard Treatment Protocol Model:  Standard Treatment Protocol Model The same empirically validated treatment is used for all children with similar problems and achievement is measured against benchmarks (NASDSE, 2006). The interventions are chosen from an approved list. How appropriate is the standard protocol model with CLD students?:  How appropriate is the standard protocol model with CLD students? Proponents argue that this is the most research-based of the RTI approaches, and leaves less room for error in professional judgment (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006). Yet the standard protocol model requires research-based interventions and there are only a few programs that have been researched specifically with CLD students and/or students in low SES communities. For example, a program may not provide enough focus on oracy and vocabulary for English language learners. Problem-Solving Model:  Problem-Solving Model The problem-solving is a more individualized or personalized approach. Interventions are planned specifically for the targeted student and are provided over a reasonable period of time. This approach maximizes problem-solving opportunities by allowing team to be flexible. Professional expertise is valued. Problem-Solving Model (NASDSE, 2005):  Problem-Solving Model (NASDSE, 2005) How appropriate is the problem-solving model with CLD students?:  How appropriate is the problem-solving model with CLD students? The problem-solving model appears to be more appropriate for use with CLD students IF the focus is on understanding external or environmental factors that affect the child’s opportunity to learn in addition to within child factors. For this model to work, team members must have expertise in cultural and linguistic diversity and be knowledgeable about interventions that have been effective with CLD students with different needs. Slide15:  “Some… have suggested that multi-tier systems might use either a problem-solving method … or a standard treatment protocol approach. This is an artificial distinction. All RTI systems must consider implementing the best features of both approaches” (NASDSE, 2005). Changing Roles…:  Changing Roles… “These roles (with RTI) will require some fundamental changes in the way general education and special education engage in assessment and intervention activities” (NASP, 2006). RTI is Fundamentally Different…:  RTI is Fundamentally Different… “High above the hushed crowd, Rex tried to remain focused. Still, he couldn’t shake one nagging thought: He was an old dog and this was a new trick.” The Far Side Reflection:  Reflection At what stage is your school and/or district in implementing RTI? What are the greatest challenges you are facing? What is needed for RTI to be effective, appropriate and equitable for all students, including CLD students? Reflection and Discussion Assumptions Underlying RTI that May Be Problematic with ELLs:  Assumptions Underlying RTI that May Be Problematic with ELLs Assumption 1: “Evidence-based instruction” is good instruction for everyone. English language learners who have been taught with generic evidence-based interventions have been provided with sufficient opportunities to learn.:  Assumption 1: “Evidence-based instruction” is good instruction for everyone. English language learners who have been taught with generic evidence-based interventions have been provided with sufficient opportunities to learn. What Do We Mean by “Evidence-based”?:  What Do We Mean by “Evidence-based”? The RTI model is based on the principle that instructional practices or interventions at each level should be based on scientific research evidence about “what works.” However, it is essential to find out what works with whom, by whom, and in what contexts— Slide22:  Many approaches recommended as being evidence-based have not been validated with ELLS or in school contexts similar to those in which many ELLs are educated. The National Reading Panel report “did not address issues relevant to second language learning” (2000, p. 3). Research can only help us make an educated guess about which practice is most likely to be effective with the majority of students, not which practice will work with everyone. School personnel should make every effort to select evidence-based interventions that have been found to be effective with students similar to those with whom they will be used. Assumption 2: Learning to read in one’s second language is similar to learning to read in one’s first language; therefore instructional approaches that have been found through research to be effective with mainstream English-speaking students are appropriate for serving ELLs.:  Assumption 2: Learning to read in one’s second language is similar to learning to read in one’s first language; therefore instructional approaches that have been found through research to be effective with mainstream English-speaking students are appropriate for serving ELLs. Slide24:  Although the developmental processes are similar when learning to read in a first or second language, there are important differences that must be taken into account when planning for instruction and assessing student progress. Most teachers are not adequately prepared to teach ELLs. Districts and schools should provide professional development in teaching reading to ELLs, and teachers should do all they can to learn about working with ELLs. Assumption 3: Students who fail to respond to research-based instruction have some sort of learning problem or internal deficit, and perhaps even a learning disability. :  Assumption 3: Students who fail to respond to research-based instruction have some sort of learning problem or internal deficit, and perhaps even a learning disability. Slide26:  There are many reasons a child may not respond to instruction. The method is not an effective one with this child, and a different approach would yield better results. The level of instruction might not be a good match for the child. The environment might not be conducive to learning. It is important to look in classrooms and observe instruction, and also to try different approaches, before determining that a child may have a disability. It may be more appropriate to provide ELLs with extra support at the 2nd tier of an RTI model while they are acquiring English rather than placing them in special ed. RTI at Marble Mountain Elementary:  RTI at Marble Mountain Elementary Marble Mountain Elementary School has just begun to implement RTI. Their student population is 92% Latino (of whom 53% are ELLs). North County School District selected Marble Mountain as a pilot school for RTI because of concerns about the high percentages of ELLs receiving special education services (31%) and the school’s low performance on state tests. The district carefully collected research about RTI and felt confident that they were recommending the most effective RTI model. They provided 3 days of professional development on how to implement RTI. Yet no sooner had the year begun than the educators at Marble Mountain began to experience challenges… Challenge 1: According to progress-monitoring data, more than half of the ELLs in each first-grade class are not reaching benchmarks. It is not feasible to provide Tier 2 instruction to all of these students. :  Challenge 1: According to progress-monitoring data, more than half of the ELLs in each first-grade class are not reaching benchmarks. It is not feasible to provide Tier 2 instruction to all of these students. Slide29:  When many students are not progressing, the first step should be to look for ways to make instruction more appropriate: Examine the program to determine if it has been validated with students like those in the class; Determine whether instruction is at an appropriate level for students and the program is well-implemented; and Establish whether teachers are sufficiently differentiating instruction to meet diverse student needs. Determining whether a program is well-implemented necessitates observing in classrooms. The program might be an appropriate one, but the teacher may not be using it with fidelity. Perhaps the teacher is struggling with classroom management. Perhaps the teacher has not been trained in how to differentiate instruction for ELLs. Challenge 2: Teachers and other school personnel are not clear how the RTI process is similar to and different from the Pre-Referral Process they used in previous years. Their RTI meetings look very much like the Child Study Team Meetings of old.:  Challenge 2: Teachers and other school personnel are not clear how the RTI process is similar to and different from the Pre-Referral Process they used in previous years. Their RTI meetings look very much like the Child Study Team Meetings of old. Slide31:  Teachers’ concerns, and their mindset, have changed very little—they are still frustrated that students are not learning more quickly. Discussions still center on possible reasons for a child’s struggles from a deficit perspective. There still seems to be a push to place students in special education so that they can receive more intensive support. It is natural that it will take time for school personnel to shift their thinking from one of figuring out what is wrong with a student to one of looking more broadly at the instructional context and at how to provide support for all students who need help, regardless of label. During this transition period, try focusing on ways to improve Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction and interventions to be more appropriate for ELLs, and for all students. Make sure someone on the team has had training and experience in working with ELLs and in distinguishing between language acquisition and a learning disability. Challenge 3: The school has limited resources. School personnel are struggling to figure out ways to make RTI feasible. They lack full sets of books; they are being asked to pay for and implement progress monitoring in addition to the other high stakes testing they have already been administering; they have one resource teacher (a reading specialist) providing Tier 2 support, but she does not have time to help teachers with their instruction and also provide intensive instruction for all students who need it.:  Challenge 3: The school has limited resources. School personnel are struggling to figure out ways to make RTI feasible. They lack full sets of books; they are being asked to pay for and implement progress monitoring in addition to the other high stakes testing they have already been administering; they have one resource teacher (a reading specialist) providing Tier 2 support, but she does not have time to help teachers with their instruction and also provide intensive instruction for all students who need it. Slide33:  Schools are part of larger systems. Unless funding structures are changed to provide more support for struggling schools, they are going to find it very hard to implement RTI. Marble Mountain’s principal has taken several steps: She has allocated 15% of her special education funding to help pay for the Reading Specialist’s salary and is looking to see if Title 1 funds can be used to help pay for additional Tier 2 intensive instruction, as well as more materials. She has heard that in some districts a traveling team helps with progress-monitoring and is asking her district to do this. Her classroom teachers are implementing the DIBELS but are frustrated that it takes time away from instruction and tells them “little they don’t already know.” She is lobbying for additional professional development. She has started an after-school study group on teaching reading to ELLs, but knows her teachers need more. RTI Models in Diverse Schools:  RTI Models in Diverse Schools What would RTI models look like that foreground language and culture and are responsive and appropriate for all students? Slide35:  A Culturally & Linguistically Appropriate RTI Model Culturally and linguistically appropriate instruction in GE, with progress monitoring Intensive assistance as part of general education support system, ongoing monitoring Special Education Ongoing problem-solving by a collaborative team with relevant expertise An RTI Framework for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students:  An RTI Framework for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students RTI models for CLD students should include: culturally and linguistically appropriate quality instruction at each level a systematic process for examining the classroom context a systematic process for examining the background variables of CLD students that impact academic achievement (i.e., first and second language proficiency, educational history including bilingual models, immigration pattern, socioeconomic status, and culture) information through progress monitoring and informal and formal assessments to guide instructional and intervention planning Slide37:  RTI requires a “shift from a within-child deficit paradigm to an eco-behavioral perspective” (NASP, 2006). Slide38:  The foundation of the first tier should be culturally and linguistically responsive, quality instruction with on-going progress monitoring (using authentic assessments) within the general education classroom. Tier 1 includes these essential components: a supportive, motivating learning environment; research-based, appropriate core instruction (validated with similar students, in similar contexts); knowledgeable, skilled, caring, culturally responsive teachers; and differentiation to meet students’ needs. 1st Tier Tier 1 Guiding Questions:  Tier 1 Guiding Questions When a child shows signs of struggling, the first step should be to observe in her classroom. Is instruction targeted to and appropriate for the student’s level of English proficiency and learning needs? Is the teacher implementing appropriate research-based practices with fidelity? Does the classroom environment seem conducive to learning? Are the student’s true peers succeeding? Slide40:  The next step should be to collect student data: Has consideration been given to the child’s cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic, and experiential background? Have authentic assessments been used in addition to progress monitoring? What tasks can the student perform and in what contexts? Does the student differ from true peers in rate and level of learning? Have the child’s parent(s) been asked for their input? Slide41:  When students have not made adequate progress when taught using appropriate methods at the 1st tier, a second tier of intervention is warranted. This tier is characterized as providing a level of intensive support that supplements the core curriculum and is based on student needs as identified through progress monitoring and other means. 2nd Tier The Collaborative Team:  The Collaborative Team The collaborative (i.e., problem-solving) team may become involved during Tier 1 or Tier 2. The make-up of the team should be diverse and include members with expertise in culturally responsive instruction, and, if appropriate, expertise in English language acquisition and bilingual education. Slide43:  This tier is special education. The hallmark of instruction at this level is that it is tailored to the individual needs of the student; it is even more intensive than at previous tiers. Parental consent is needed to move a child to Tier 3. 3rd Tier RTI Models Represent a New Beginning :  RTI Models Represent a New Beginning RTI models represent a new beginning and a novel way of conceptualizing how we support student learning: along a continuum rather than categorically. Need for Ongoing Dialogue about Critical Issues :  Need for Ongoing Dialogue about Critical Issues At the same time, we are concerned that if we do not engage in dialogue about critical issues, RTI models will simply be like old wine in a new bottle, in other words, just another deficit-based approach to sorting children. It is our responsibility to make sure this does NOT happen. Reflection and Discussion:  Reflection and Discussion How will we know when we have succeeded? Facilitators and supports: What is helping you address the challenges you are facing? What systems of support do you already have in place that can help? What advice do you have for others who are starting to implement RTI? Slide47:  “Stop asking me if we’re almost there; we’re Nomads, for crying out loud.” Resources:  Resources National Association of School Psychologists (2006). The role of the school psychologist in the RTI process. Available at www.nasponline.org National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) (2005). Response to intervention: Policy considerations and implementation. Available from NASDSE Publications at www.nasdse.org National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (2005). Responsiveness to intervention and learning disabilities. Available at www.ldonline.org/njcld National Staff Development Council. Available at www.nsdc.org Related Readings:  Klingner, J. K., Artiles, A. J., Baca, L., & Hoover, J. (Eds.) (in revision). English Language Learners who struggle with reading: Language acquisition or learning disabilities? Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Klingner, J. K., & Bianco, M. (2006). What is special about special education for culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities? In B. Cook & B. Schirmer (Eds.), What is special about special education? Austin, TX: PRO-ED. Klingner, J. K., & Edwards, P. (2006). Cultural considerations with response to intervention models. Reading Research Quarterly, 41, 108-117. Klingner, J. K., Sorrells, A., & Barrera, M. (2007). Three-tiered models with culturally and linguistically diverse students. In D. Haager, J. Klingner, & S. Vaughn (Eds.), Validated reading practices for three tiers of intervention. Baltimore, MD: Brookes. Klingner, J. K., Vaughn, S., & Hoover, J. (in preparation). How to implement response to intervention models. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Related Readings For more information…:  For more information… Janette Klingner University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education 249 UCB Boulder, CO 80309-0249 E-mail: Janette.Klingner@Colorado.EDU

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