Academic journal article New Waves

Elementary Pre-Service Teacher Knowledge and Transfer of Mathematics Intervention Practices

Academic journal article New Waves

Elementary Pre-Service Teacher Knowledge and Transfer of Mathematics Intervention Practices

Article excerpt


Response to Intervention (RTI) is a general education intervention system used by classroom teachers to assist at-risk learners and provide individualized academic support to help all students succeed (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006). It has been widely studied as an evidence-based intervention process to assist struggling learners or to identify a student with a learning disability in either reading or math (Fuchs, Compton, Fuchs, Paulsen, Bryant & Hamlet, 2005; Gersten, Chard, Jayanthi, Baker, Morphy & Flojo, 2009; Scammacca, Roberts, Vaughn, Edmonds, Wexler, & Reutebuch, 2007; Wanzek & Vaughn, 2007), especially in a post-No Child Left Behind 2001 legislation era.

Research has indicated that general education pre-service elementary teachers experience greater anxiety and lower levels of self-efficacy toward teaching mathematics in future settings than in reading, although participation in mathematics methods courses has shown to increase selfefficacy and lower anxiety toward teaching math (Philippou & Christou, 1998; Rule & Harrell, 2006; Sloan, 2010; Swars, 2005; Vinson, 2001). The National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008) reported an overwhelming need for more research in teacher preparation and professional development, stating a lack of strong evidence for the impact of teacher education on teachers' knowledge or on their students' learning related to the teaching of mathematics. These factors, coupled with a general trend that favors reading-based intervention research over mathematics research in a classroom environment (Crawford & Ketterlin-Geller, 2008; Fletcher & Vaughn, 2009), studies in mathematics instruction and intervention in teacher preparation programs are certainly warranted.

There are several widely accepted components that are heralded to promote a successful RTI program in math including universal screening, continuous progress monitoring, and research- based instruction (National Research Center on Learning Disabilities, 2007; National Center on Response to Intervention [NCRTI], 2010; Gersten, Chard, et al., 2009). This is vital within the context of a pre-service teacher (PST) preparation program since implementation should begin within the context of a general education program.

Universal Screening

Universal screening is the first step in identifying students who are at-risk for learning difficulties in math (NCRTI, 2010; Lembke, Hampton, & Beyers, 2012). Screening is a form of a quick assessment given to a class or school-wide group of students, typically within the first month after a school year has started and follows again in the middle and end of the year. The purpose is to identify students who perform moderately to severely below a set standard or criterion on a math measure in order to identify learning needs and to select children needing a higher level of targeted instruction or intervention. There are a variety of mathematics screening measures available and research has demonstrated many of them as effective measures to identify at-risk learners (Fletcher & Vaughn, 2009). Many of these include components of Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM), in which screeners are given in the areas of early numeracy, computation, algebraic equations, and measurement (Lembke, Hampton & Beyers, 2012).

Progress Monitoring

Once universal screening has occurred, teachers must continually monitor student performance response in relation to the academic instruction and intervention being provided. This phenomenon has become known as progress monitoring. Using progress monitoring measures, teachers can monitor academic progress of students to compare target or expected rates of learning to that of the actual rate of learning (Stecker, Fuchs, & Fuchs, 2008). Progress monitoring occurs on a regular basis, typically on a weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly basis depending on the assessment measure being used. Teachers can then use the information gained about a student's progress or lack of response to an intervention to make decisions and problem-solve next steps for a student's educational programming. …

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