Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An Effective Response to Intervention System Requires Highly Effective Teachers

Using a crosswalk between the correlates of Effective Schools Research and tenets of an effective Response to Intervention (RTI) program will allow a multidimensional team of stakeholders that includes parents or guardians, to create an efficient and effective RTI system.  Such a system promotes equity in quality within schools committed to the pursuit of learning for all.  Subsequent alignment of the district's non-negotiable goals with individual school needs and experiences (Marzano & Waters, 2009) should expand rather than limit the district's clearinghouse of research-based and success-proven strategies and interventions.  

While there is a danger to prescribing interventions in a limiting fashion, collecting and archiving RTI anthologies have the potential for providing a clearinghouse of research-based and success-proven strategies and interventions.  Promoting such a clearinghouse of identified successes ensures professional development is available to optimize access, review, and implementation of a range of interventions.  Thus, RTI can actually enrich the highly effective  teacher’s professional practice through defined autonomy.

A core competency required for effective implementation of RTI interventions is the ability to correctly collect, analyze, and utilize data.  Frequent monitoring of student progress, and adjusting as indicated by results, is a correlate of continuous school improvement within Effective Schools.  This correlate requires teacher competency in collecting data, evaluating results, and being an honest consumer of the resulting data.  

Both pre-service and in-service teachers openly admit to the difficulty of monitoring student progress to inform instructional decisions.  The inter-relationship between the identified core principles makes the pursuit of a hierarchy subjective at best and futile at worst.  The correlate of frequent monitoring and subsequent adjustment drives the core principles for implementing RTI.  The ability to collect data, evaluate results, and be an honest consumer of the resulting data promotes the correlate of frequent monitoring and subsequent adjustment.  Teacher proficiency with data must therefore become a professional competency. 

When teachers identify and prescribe an intervention, they often have difficulty accepting the need to change (adjust) if the prescribed intervention proves ineffective.  Too often the failure of the intervention is perceived a personal failure of the initial prescription, which can then delay the necessary adjustment.  For this reason, a district and school is well-advised to consider the following six ideas for successful development of an effective RTI system
  • Encourage participation by key stakeholders during planning and implementation.
  • Elicit strong administrative support in staff development, instructional integrity, and data collection.
  • Provide in-depth staff development with mentoring, modeling, and coaching.
  • Begin follow-up trainings at the beginning of each school year.
  •  Distribute a manual outlining procedures and materials.
  •  Build Problem Solving Models including RTI into school schedules and the student improvement process (Lau, Sieler, Muyskens, et al, 2006).

Additionally, Schools of Education and Alternate Route Teacher Preparation Programs need to ensure graduates are able to collect data, evaluate results, and be an honest consumer of the resulting data.  There needs to be an expectations for utilizing statistics and data analysis during coursework for prospective teachers.  Effective districts also need to complement this evolution through in-service professional development on collecting data, evaluating results, and being an honest consumer of the resulting data.

To cite:
Anderson, C.J. (August 31, 2016) aA effective response to intervention system requires highly effective
teachers.  [Web log post] Retrieved from
Edmonds, R. (1979). Effective Schools for the urban poor. Educational Leadership, 37,
Lau, Sieler, Muyskens, Canter, VanKeuren, & Marston (2006).  Perspectives on the use of the
            Problem-Solving Model from the viewpoint of school psychologist, administrator, and
            teacher. Psychology in the Schools, 43 (1), 117-127.
Marzano, R. & Waters, T.(2009).  District leadership that works. Bloomington, In: Solution
                Tree Press

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