How can teachers effectively implement RTI for mathematics?
Page 10: Implementation at East High School
Did You Know?
Principals and all school staff must keep in mind that the adoption and complete implementation of RTI requires a change in existing school processes and is a long-term commitment, usually three to five years.
In the Challenge, you learned that for the past two years, the teachers at East High School have been implementing high-quality mathematics instruction in the general education classroom. Although they did see an improvement in student performance, they noted that many students continue to struggle. The staff at East High School have decided to adopt the RTI framework to address the needs of struggling students. Read on to discover how they implement the features of RTI, which aligns with the procedures outlined in the East High School RTI Guidelines. To review these procedures, click the link below.
To identify students who need intervention, the RTI team at East High School review the students’ scores on last year’s standardized tests, as well as their recent academic records. Based on these data, twenty-percent were identified as in need of academic support in mathematics. Additionally, at the beginning of the school year the teachers administered a universal screening measure to determine whether students are meeting grade-level benchmarks, to verify whether those identified by the standardized test scores actually need intervention, and to identify other struggling students. Through this process, they found numerous additional students—many of them new to the district—who might benefit from support. They administer the universal screening two more times throughout the year: mid-year and again at the end of the year. Two of the students identified among those needing additional academic support were Grayson, who will receive supplemental support at Tier 2, and Imani, who will receive intensive, individualized support through special education services.
Grayson and Imani are both taking Algebra 1. During the 50-minute course, the teachers use a standards-based mathematics curriculum as well as evidence-based practices such as explicit, systematic instruction; visual representations; schema instruction; and metacognitive strategies. The teachers also employ effective classroom practices like encouraging student discussion.
In addition to Algebra I core instruction, Grayson receives supplemental intervention in a Tier 2 intervention classroom. The students in this classroom are divided into three groups based on their needs and instruction is led by a highly trained interventionist. This instruction aligns with the core instruction and targets the algebra skills with which he is struggling. Providing Tier 2 intervention that aligns with his core instruction and targets his algebra skill deficits— rather than simply providing remedial instruction on unrelated foundational mathematics skills—will help him master Algebra I content.
In addition to Algebra I core instruction, Imani receives Tier 3 intervention. The special education teacher provides intensive, individualized support to Imani and two other students during this intervention time. This individualized instruction targets the algebra skills with which Imani is struggling, rather than foundational skills that she has not mastered.
Brad Witzel discusses the benefits of creating a flextime during the school day to provide instructional interventions. Next, David Allsopp discusses the advantages of scheduling by first taking into account the needs of students who need additional instructional support.
Brad Witzel, PhD
Professor of Special Education
David Allsopp, PhD
Assistant Dean for Education and Partnerships
University of South Florida
The Tier 2 instructors conduct progress monitoring with their students every two weeks. The special education teachers conduct progress monitoring more frequently, typically once per week. Following are the results for Grayson and Imani after 10 weeks into the semester.
At the end of 10 weeks of progress monitoring, the RTI team (which includes the interventionist) meet to review the data for the students receiving additional support. As they do so, they consider both slope and performance level.
Benchmark: 34 Slope: 1.15
Performance Level = 29.5
Slope = 1.78
Performance Level = 22.5
Slope = 0.67
The table below displays the data-based decisions the team made in regard to Grayson and Imani.
|Student||Does Performance Level Meet Criteria?||Does Slope Meet Criteria?||Data-Based Decision|
|Grayson||No||Yes||Based on the slope of his data, Grayson is making progress. However, his performance level data indicate that he has not yet performing at the expected level. For this reason, the RTI team decides that Grayson should continue to receive Tier 2 intervention.|
|Imani||No||No||Imani’s data indicate that she is not responding adequately to intervention. Therefore, the RTI team suggests that the teacher needs to increase the intensity of the intervention.|
Fidelity of Implementation
East High School has gradually been implementing fidelity checks as they slowly implement RTI. At this point, they are focused on two key areas in regard to implementation fidelity: high-quality instruction at each level of instruction and the administration of progress monitoring measures. This monitoring consists of the RTI coordinator observing the teachers’ instruction and their progress monitoring procedures a minimum of two times per semester.
During the fidelity checks, the RTI coordinator observes that, for the most part, teachers are implementing the standards-based curriculum and evidence-based practices. Fidelity checks of progress monitoring procedures revealed that most Tier 3 teachers are administering progress monitoring probes correctly and at the specified times, but many of the Tier 2 interventionists are inconsistent with their administration procedures. These interventionists will receive ongoing coaching and support to address these issues.
If you would like to learn more about fidelity of implementation, we encourage you to take a look at the following IRIS Module: