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    « Breakafull, like my heart | Main | R-E-S-P-E-C-T »

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    Steve Benfield

    Interestingly enough Stacy, proponents of RtI actually look at the old way of evaluating students as haphazard and subjective. Teacher notices student isn't doing well, tries a few things, and then wants the kid out of the classroom because he/she can't have them in the class room. Also, the old way uses something called the deficiency model--in many cases an IQ test to make determinations. RtI tries to take a systematic approach so that any problems are addressed early and that scientifically proven 'interventions' are tried before moving to special ed. 12% of the student population is in special ed now and most people think that the # should really be 6%--6% of the population with at true learning disability instead of bad instruction. So RtI, if followed properly, should ensure that everything possible was tried BEFORE a referral to special ed. And that the history of interventions can be used to help determine what the real problem is. Now, if a child is really really not responding and is making no progress, having a 22-week minimum isn't really the right way to go. However, if there is progress, then we should at least try intensive interventions before shuffling the child off to special ed. I have tons and tons of information on how RtI *should* work if you are interested since I'm in the process of building software to help schools implement RtI. RtI, in its well implemented form, should begin ensuring that every student get some sort of personalized instruction--even the well scoring ones.

    Its easy to throw stones at a system when there are single cases involved, but with almost 50,000,000 students in public schools, any single approach, while logical in the small, tends to break down when applied in the large because as you are seeing firsthand in schools, any system can be implemented with varying degrees of fidelity and accuracy.

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