Mathematics as a Civil Right

“Mathematics rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty.” – Bertrand Russell A Civil Right Mastery of mathematics is evading many of our students; an appreciation for mathematics is evading many more. Students and many educators have experienced anxiety or frustration with mathematics. Comfort and confidence with mathematics have been compromised by experiences dependent … More Mathematics as a Civil Right

RTI, Assessment, and Grading – Part 1

Educators may have become jaundiced about a critical but complicated topic in the teaching-learning process—assessment. RTI-based practices require evidence, but we face a paradox—many educators believe that we assess too much, and yet we do not possess the information required to inform our work. Educators also feel that they do not have time for assessments. … More RTI, Assessment, and Grading – Part 1

Ideologies, Manufactured Dichotomies, and “The Genius of And” – RTI for All

Too frequently, dichotomies have polarized and paralyzed educational practice. Examples of manufactured, unproductive, and even harmful dichotomies abound (the table below summarizes three such debates). While these dichotomies, debates, and disagreements may be based on sound independent opinions, research, and evidence, the ideologically rigid positions of adults are not productive for students. Students deserve, demand, … More Ideologies, Manufactured Dichotomies, and “The Genius of And” – RTI for All

Common Formative Assessments & RTI

Common formative assessments or CFAs, well designed and unwrapped so they are designed to measure the types of understanding that we want students to master, are an invaluable contributor to RTI data. When collaboratively created or curated, collaboratively administered, and collaboratively analyzed to inform instruction, they can be among the most powerful initiatives a school … More Common Formative Assessments & RTI

Communicating needs, strategies, and results (without mind-numbing documentation requirements)

Please! Do not make a lack of documentation prevent a student from receiving Tier 3 supports. We get it – we need documentation to justify a referral for a formal evaluation to determine special education eligibility. But, that’s not what we’re talking about. We hope and expect that the student will not need a referral. … More Communicating needs, strategies, and results (without mind-numbing documentation requirements)

Tier 3 Reading Made Easy: When can we provide support? Who can provide supports?

First, if a student has a significant deficit in reading -if they are functionally illiterate or on the road to being so – there is nothing that occurs within their day that is more important than intensively intervention in reading. Are we afraid of hurting their feelings? Not being able to find a job will … More Tier 3 Reading Made Easy: When can we provide support? Who can provide supports?

RTI is Verb – Progress monitor using efficient, effective, and low-cost (or free) tools

There is no RTI if we cannot measure the extent to which students are responding to instruction and intervention. We must, every 2-3 weeks, gather numerical data that answers the question, “To what extent are students responding to supplemental supports? We call this progress monitoring and use various methods to gather feedback.” Furthermore, progress monitoring … More RTI is Verb – Progress monitor using efficient, effective, and low-cost (or free) tools

The Best Intervention is a Targeted Intervention: Targeting Students’ Diagnosed Needs

  There are only a few areas in which to target reading interventions – but we must TARGET reading interventions: Phonological awareness / Phonemic awareness Multi-sensory approaches Simple phonics Advanced phonics Fluency Comprehension And they each have resources and/or programs. The Florida Center for Reading Research is a goldmine. Headed by Joseph Torgeson, an expert … More The Best Intervention is a Targeted Intervention: Targeting Students’ Diagnosed Needs

What about diagnosing?

  We’ve made diagnosing student needs way too complicated. Or equally troubling, we have not attempted to diagnose student needs, instead providing a one size fits all set of supports when intervening. The best intervention is a targeted intervention. We’re focusing on reading. Please do not provide a “reading” intervention when students are identified as … More What about diagnosing?

What’s ACTUALLY the Purpose of Screening?

  Universal screening is a popular RTI term. What does it mean? Screeners filter those students who are at desperate risk of failure unless they receive immediate, intensive supports. If it’s predictable, it’s preventable. We can predict who these students are—they scored in the lowest performance band on the state test; they scored in the … More What’s ACTUALLY the Purpose of Screening?