Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Response to Intervention: Examining Classroom Behavior Support in Second Grade

Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Response to Intervention: Examining Classroom Behavior Support in Second Grade

Article excerpt

Schools are increasingly held accountable for their efforts to improve the academic and social behavior of their students, despite diminishing resources to support those efforts (Eber, Sugai, Smith, & Scott, 2002; Sugai et al., 2000). In addition, many schools lack the expertise to define and use practices and systems that meet the needs of their students with both efficiency and effectiveness (Sugai et al., 2000; U.S. General Accounting Of rice, 2001). Further, with the advent of legislation requiring more proactive strategies to identify and serve students with academic and social behavior concerns, schools may be unprepared and ill-advised as to how to best implement such practices.


Language in the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) about special education eligibility and assessment procedures indicates that a local education agency "may use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as a part of the evaluation procedures" (Pub. L. No. 108-446 [section] 614, 118 Stat. 2706, 2004). This statement represents a considerable departure and alternative to the traditional IQ achievement discrepancy model used to determine special education eligibility under the learning disabilities (LD) category. The IQ achievement discrepancy model has been criticized for both its lack of treatment utility (Gresham et al., 2005) and inability to accurately differentiate low achieving students from students with learning disabilities (Fletcher et al., 1998). The response-to-intervention (RTI) process, in contrast, incorporates low-inference and functional assessment procedures that can link directly to group and individual intervention planning (Christ, Burns, & Ysseldyke, 2005).

RTI models typically are composed of a minimum of the following components: (a) a continuum of evidence-based services available to all students, from universal interventions and procedures to highly intensive and individualized interventions (Marston, Muyskens, Lau, & Canter, 2003); (b) decision points to determine if students are performing significantly below the level of their peers in academic (Vaughn, Linan-Thompson, & Hickman, 2003) and social behavior domains; (c) ongoing monitoring of student progress (Gresham, et al., 2005); (d) employment of more intensive or different interventions when students do not improve in response to other interventions; and (e) evaluation for special education services if students do not respond to intervention instruction (Fuchs, Mock, Morgan, & Young, 2003).

Traditionally, RTI has focused on academic concerns as a means to identify students under the LD category for special education services (Gresham et al., 2005). Research, generally, has evaluated either universal and/or targeted group interventions, often referred to as RTI-Standard Protocol (SP; Fuchs et al., 2003) or evaluated tertiary level individualized intervention, sometimes referred to as RTI-Problem Analysis (PA; Christ et al., 2005). Research evaluating components of either RTI-SP or RTI-PA has been conducted with elementary students with reading problems (Daly, Martens, Hamler, Dool, & Eckert, 1999; Vaughn et al., 2003). In addition, multi-component and multiple baseline research designs and the conceptual logic of applying interventions of increasing intensity, as indicated by the needs of the student, have been used effectively to identify the most appropriate tertiary level academic or social behavior interventions for children (Barnett, Daly, Jones, & Lentz, 2004).


RTI logic has intuitive appeal as a means to serve and identify students with emotional and/or behavior disorders. Despite the lack of specific empirical support for RTI in the social behavior domain, similar models of behavior support have been implemented in schools. Such models have been based on principles of wraparound behavior support (Eber et al. …

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