Guest post by Dr. Shelly Vohra in collaboration with @ClassComposer
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a strategy geared towards students who face learning challenges. Students struggle for a variety of reasons and it’s important to understand why these students are struggling and the best way to create a learning path so that they are successful and feel good about themselves. The premise behind “interventions” is to ensure that students receive the supports they need so that the gaps in learning are not exacerbated. It is important to note, however, that “gaps” should not be seen as deficits; rather gaps are areas of growth for students and each student has their own areas of growth based on a wide range of assessments. I, personally, have an issue with the term “gaps” but that is a topic of discussion for another time. It is also important to know that RTI is not a program; it is an approach that identifies student needs based on collecting data from various sources and in a variety of ways and then identifies and applies relevant instructional strategies to develop those skills in students.
Gathering and accessing data
When it comes to data, there are many sources available for educators to learn about the needs of individual students. Being able to gather all of this information, sort through it, share it with other teachers, and develop a plan can take time. Not having a streamlined space for this makes it challenging. With Class Composer, educators have everything they need to be able to monitor student progress. The information is readily accessible to anyone, at any time. It enables all teachers to access the information they need about each individual student when they need it.
With Class Composer, it is easy to track and record student growth toward individualized goals and share this information within your PLC to best provide for all students. Simplify how you manage all the assessment data collected!
Supporting teachers to support students
As it is, one of the most important parts of the RTI process is to build a team to effectively support students who are struggling. The team should include classroom teachers, administrators, teachers who support special education students and those students who are learning English, the school psychologist, speech-language therapist, and parents. Teachers provide targeted teaching and then use formative assessment practices to determine if the intervention strategies are working.
With Class Composer, it makes it easier for teachers to have access to all this information in one space. It enables teachers to create a supportive learning community for students. These teacher-student connections lead to the development of the essential relationships that need to exist for all students to be successful. The simplified space creates a better way for teams to collaborate and access the information they need when they need it.
If they are not working, the team must decide how they will adapt and modify their instructional practices to ensure that students are indeed learning and growing. A significant aspect to keep in mind is that formative assessments inform us of what we must do to ensure student success, not what the student needs to do. In other words, how are we adjusting our practice to best support students? Assessment informs instruction; it is our responsibility to continuously revise what we are doing so that students meet the learning goals related to curriculum standards and expectations.
Even though there is no one correct way to implement RTI, it is a three-tiered approach and you can think of it as a pyramid in which each tier increases in the intensity of support. They are:
(1) whole class
(2) small group, and
(3) intensive interventions.
Some school boards call this a multi-tiered system of supports or MTSS. Although there are many benefits to this approach, I also see several problems and issues arising from the basic foundation upon which RTI and MTSS were built.
I will be discussing these issues in future blog posts as well as digging deeper into this system of support and how to best implement this framework so that all students succeed, grow, and have positive self-worth.
About the Author
Dr. Shelly Vohra is an educator, coach, and consultant. Dr. Vohra teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in Technology and Mathematics as well as working with students who are learning English. She holds an M.Ed in Adult Education & Distant Learning and a Ph.D. in Educational Technology. Dr. Vohra has over 20 years of experience in education (K-12) teaching various subject areas. Dr. Vohra has written several courses related to Indigenous Education, Multilingual Learners, and Mathematics.
Most recently, she was on a writing team that revised the Science Curriculum (K-8) for Ontario. She has presented at various conferences in Canada and the U.S.A. Dr. Vohra’s work includes designing learning experiences for students through an integrated curriculum lens that combines inquiry with equity. Her research interests include social media in education and blended learning, Dr. Vohra is currently writing a book on her journey. You can find her blog at https://techdiva29.wordpress.com/. Her website will also be launching in late Fall. You can also follow her on Twitter @raspberryberet3 and on Instagram @elevate_ed_21.
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