The "EXTRAS: RTI" manual illustrates ways in which the Illuminate system can unlock the potential of Response to Intervention (RTI) at your own site(s). Illuminate DnA is used to do this, though Illuminate Student Information can also be used to implement an RTI behavior component, and Illuminate Special Education is a natural tie-in for any students RTI helps to identify for special education programs.
What Is RTI?
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a research-based approach to helping struggling learners that requires closely monitoring students and their academic progress and using performance data to make and track intervention decisions processes that Illuminate helps makes simple and efficient. While RTI can help determine which students require help through a special education program, RTI is appropriate for all learners (not just those in special education).
What RTI Components Will Illuminate Help Tackle?
RTI components are as follows, and there are multitudes of ways in which Illuminate helps make each of these possible (subsequent lessons in this manual will provide all the details).
A key RTI foundation is that all students receive good instruction from the onset in their general education classrooms. Use Illuminate DnA data to determine what is working and what isn’t, then easily share what’s working so other teachers can use it. Before now, differentiated instruction and use of formative feedback has never been so fast, so easy, and a daily reality in classrooms. With fast, in-class “scanning” good instruction just got better and easier.
See the "Good Instruction" lesson in this manual for details, though reading all lessons in this manual consecutively is recommended.
Regularly Assess Students
At the crux of RTI is the need to regularly asses students to understand their learning rates, standards-based achievement levels, and progress in relation to peers. Any assessment can be added to Illuminate DnA (multiple choice, open response, rubric, true/false, etc., or a combination of formats), and sharing it (even collaborating on it, if desired) with colleagues is simple. RTI testing and intervention calendars can be housed along with them, as can any other related components (virtually any file format is accepted).
Students “scan” their own plain paper sheets in their own classrooms via the teacher’s inexpensive (e.g., $8) webcam or document camera, so results for student, teacher, and system (including gradebook) are instantaneous. Since the process is so simple and sheets can be laminated and used over and over again, there is no hassle in garnering formative feedback mid-lesson or prior to homework distribution.
See the "Regularly Assess Students" lesson in this manual for details, though reading all lessons in this manual consecutively is recommended.
Analyze Assessment Results to Determine Student Needs
In addition to using formative feedback to inform instruction occurring every day in the classroom, RTI involves analysis of established assessments at regular intervals to examine students’ learning rates, critical thinking skills, standards-based achievement levels, and progress in relation to peers. Instructional adjustments are made to meet identified needs, and placement decisions are made for tiered interventions.
Illuminate DnA’s rich assessment reports highlight needs by state standard and other groupings (e.g., content cluster, Bloom’s Taxonomy level, etc.) so you can see not only their performance levels, but can also pinpoint students’ specific needs and exactly where they are struggling. Reporting tools are easy to use (you can even add multiple and varied graphs to custom reports) prebuilt assessment reports even highlight students’ performance in relation to peers.
See the "Analyze Assessment Results to Determine Student Needs" lesson in this manual for details, though reading all lessons in this manual consecutively is recommended.
Tiered Instruction and Intervention
As individual student needs are determined, students are assigned to RTI tiers. Note that these are flexible assignments, meaning that students should not be automatically locked into a tier for the remainder of the school year. Because of the ongoing assessments DnA facilitates, students’ progress and needs are regularly assessed and they are reassigned to different tiers (and/or their goals are modified) as needed.
Basically, Tier 1 constitutes the good general education instruction all students receive from the onset (as covered in the “Good Instruction” section, above). While there is differentiation within Tier I (flexible grouping, targeting specific skills, etc.), the main change in Tier II is that it includes supplemental instruction. The added instruction and support in Tier II (targeted to the student’s needs) takes place in addition to solid standards-based instruction the student continues to receive in Tier I. If a student continues to struggle despite Tier II, he or she can be moved to Tier III, where he or she receives even more explicit instruction for a particular skill (noting that it is usually remedial but can also be accelerated).
While students are in Tiers II and III, progress on their goals in continually monitored, and adjustments in their goals and programs are made as necessary. DnA makes tracking progress and goals easy, allowing multiple stakeholders to view and contribute to the data and promoting dialogue between stakeholders.
See the "Tiered Instruction and Intervention" lesson in this manual for details, though reading all lessons in this manual consecutively is recommended.
Evaluate RTI Outcomes
In addition to monitoring and assessing students’ individual progress, a good RTI program requires that you monitor and assess the program as a whole, as well as its individual components. For example, are some teachers struggling more than others in their delivery of interventions, in what ways and areas, and who is well equipped to help them? Is Tier II supplemental instruction having a noticeable impact on helping students to meet their goals? Are students in Tier II or Tier III making as much progress or more than students relegated to Tier I? DnA can provide you with answers to these questions and more. Just as students are regularly trying to improve, RTI staff should demonstrate the same willingness to grow and to improve the program.
See the "Evaluate RTI Outcomes" lesson in this manual for details, though reading all lessons in this manual consecutively is recommended.
Regular communication and collaboration with parents can do wonders to support success throughout the RTI process. Illuminate offers parent letters that give parents a clear, jargon-free picture of their children’s struggles, strengths, and performance. Illuminate also allows teachers to easily and quickly post information (such as assessment scores, grades, notes, etc.) to the parent portal where any parent with assigned access can monitor his or her child’s progress.
See the "Parent Involvement" lesson in this manual for details, though reading all lessons in this manual consecutively is recommended.
Proponents of RTI sometimes forget the importance of sharing goals and progress with students. DnA includes student letters, small slips, and more to facilitate this communication.
See the "Student Involvement" lesson in this manual for details, though reading all lessons in this manual consecutively is recommended.
You might also be interested in other chapters and lessons within the Illuminate Help system for assistance performing the actions described in the "RTI" manual for more help with your RTI implementation. For example, lessons in the "Assessments," "Reports" "Summary Assessments," and "Illuminate U!" manuals might prove especially helpful, depending on the actions you wish to perform.