What is RTI for mathematics?
Page 8: Fidelity of Implementation
Throughout the RTI process, it’s important that schools and districts collect and analyze data to determine how effectively staff are implementing RTI. Specifically, schools must monitor the fidelity of implementation for RTI’s main components: universal screening, high-quality instruction, progress monitoring, and data-based decision making. Although school personnel might be implementing one or more of these components correctly, they might well be implementing others without fidelity. This monitoring should take place at each level of support.
For a number of reasons, monitoring fidelity in middle and high schools is often more difficult than in elementary schools. This is often due to a lack of appropriate fidelity tools and materials, the need for assessors to be knowledgeable across multiple domains (e.g., geometry, algebra), and the complexity of implementation given the realities of staffing and scheduling.
To maximize teachers’ fidelity of implementation, schools can use RTI manuals to document their established procedures. Click the links below to view sample RTI manuals.
Any changes to the established implementation procedures could negatively affect the effectiveness of a school’s RTI efforts. By conducting fidelity checks regularly (e.g., three times per year), administrators or RTI coordinators can identify whether staff have altered or strayed from the established procedures. As is outlined in the table below, fidelity checks consist of three variables:
- The data collection method
- The frequency of data collection
- The support system to maintain and improve the implementation of the intervention
(Johnson, Mellard, Fuchs, & McKnight, 2006)
For more information about how to implement RTI with fidelity, please visit the IRIS Module:
David Chard, PhD
President, Wheelock College
School personnel should conduct fidelity observations and evaluations of teachers in a supportive, non-blaming manner that emphasizes problem solving. When a coach, principal, or fellow teacher observes instruction, he or she should not provide critical feedback. Rather, he or she should be supportive and provide feedback that informs the teacher about the observed lesson or instructional technique. To better illustrate the variables associated with fidelity, the examples below describe fidelity issues that could arise.
Issue: progress monitoring procedures
Ms. Wilkes administers progress monitoring computation probes on a weekly basis as mandated by her school. The manual states that the students have three minutes to complete the probe.
|Method||Teacher observation; conversation with teacher; teacher self-report|
|Findings||Ms. Wilkes is not following the correct procedures for administrating progress monitoring probes. She usually gives her students five to six minutes to complete them. When the observer asks her why she gives her students extra time, Ms. Wilkes states that she feels that a number of her students experience anxiety when she only gives them three minutes to complete the probes.|
Issue: graphing progress monitoring data
Ms. Sutton has recommended that an inordinate number of her students would benefit from secondary intervention based on their graphed scores.
|Method||Review of students’ progress monitoring probes and graphs by the decision-making team; conversation with the teacher about how and by whom the data is graphed|
|Findings||Ms. Sutton is incorrectly graphing students’ progress monitoring scores.|
Issue: providing high-quality instruction
When Mr. Chandler’s school adopted RTI for mathematics, it was decided that the instructional period should last 45 minutes.
|Method||Teacher observation by lead teacher and follow-up conversation|
|Findings||Mr. Chandler only provided 30 minutes of mathematics instruction. He is not providing high-quality instruction for the designated amount of time.|