After realizing our RtI model wasn't really working for us or our students, the teachers in my building decided to analyze the different components of our RtI model. This blog series will go in depth with how we scrutinized each of the following parts of the model:
High Quality Instruction
Research Based Interventions
Continuous Progress Monitoring
It is a critical part of the RtI model because it allows you to analyze whether your core teaching and interventions are making a positive impact on student learning. The trick...making sure you have a tool that measures what you are really trying to analyze and learn about your student.
This was one of the biggest conversations that we had to have around the topic of progress monitoring as we analyzed our RtI model. Did we have the necessary tools to measure what we were actually teaching and intervening on.
The answer...not exactly.
Our main progress monitoring tools at the time were Aimsweb. So this means we were measuring fluency, nonsense word fluency, and computation. We could also use the letter naming and sound probes. None of these are bad, but they really didn't match all the interventions that we starting to incorporate into our instruction. We were missing tools to look at phonological awareness, number sense (or pre-computation skills), phonics skills other than short vowels (within nonsense words), and comprehension.
So the search began. And we found some resources to help fill our gaps. One important file that we found came from the Southwest Plains Regional Service Center (I think...please don't hold me to it!) This resource has some quick phonological awareness and phonics progress monitoring tools. I retyped some of them so that the directions were very specific to our student needs. (Okay fine...it was also because I wanted all the PM to look the same because I am super weird like that!) But it was a great starting point for me.
We keep the progress monitoring in the binders with the interventions. This helps to keep it all together in one place.
These tools are great for the week to week data that lets us know what is working for a student when it comes to very specific skills that they need to work on such as blending sounds or reading fluently. But one area that we found we were lacking in was "the big picture." (I realized this when reading Conversations in Literacy blog--so good!!) Were these interventions actually impacting their ability to read on grade level?
To answer this question, we added a new component to our progress monitoring this year. After our RtI cycle, my team will be completing DRA progress monitoring assessments on our Tier II and Tier III students. These are shorter passages with fewer comprehension questions. This will allow us to look at how our interventions are impacting a child's reading, as a whole. I am really excited to see how this helps us to make decisions about interventions and individualized instruction.
With universal screenings complete, interventions in place, progress monitoring prepared...we are ready to begin. But another question remains...how do we maintain fidelity in our RtI model? This is our next topic!