samedi 16 août 2014

Rationale for RtI in Quebec

The current model of intervention in Quebec is the "Wait to Fail" model.  This model stipulates that a student will not receive extra assistance (or intervention) until they are two years behind the current grade level.  The problem with this model is that the first three years of school (Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2) are the most critical for students to learn literacy and numeracy skills.  If students do not have these basic skills by the time they are in Grade 3, they will continue to fall further behind as they are no longer being taught literacy and numeracy, but are expected to know them already. This intervention in this model occurs too late for students as it is too difficult to catch up.
Response to Intervention (RtI), however, offers immediate, real-time response to students who are struggling in reading, in writing, and in math.  The RtI model does not wait for a student to fall two years behind grade level, but through Universal Screening and subsequent Progress Monitoring, it gathers data regarding the current achievement level of the students, rather than relying on "gut feelings" or other emotionally based decisions. 
In addition, RtI requires Educational support teams comprised of teachers, resource staff, and administration, to use data based evidence to make decisions regarding the interventions needed for the student. All selected Interventions should be research based and curriculum based. In fact, the curriculum itself should be supported by research. Once the student has been identified as needing intervention, a Multi-Tiered delivery system will structure the intervention plan.  Lastly, RtI implies that all selected interventions and measures should be used with fidelity and integrity in the same way as defined in the research.
Challenges inherent in supporting students with special needs are numerous: teachers are not adequately trained to deal with students with special needs; costs associated with extra resource help can quickly over run a school budget; students with special needs get labelled, be it as problem children or other, and quickly fall into a trap of self-fulfilling prophecy; support outside the school is sometimes lacking (eg - lack of food, sleep, security) causing student to struggle in school; education students with special needs are not always relevant, like a stairway leading to nowhere; etc..

According to the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL, 2010)48% of Canadians have low literacy skills and more than 15 million adult Canadians will be part of this group by 2031 (a 25% increase from 2001). According to NICHD, 10% of US citizens have Learning Disabilities-80% of them in reading; every dollar spent on literacy programming results in a 241% return; a 1% increase in literacy rate would generate 18 million dollars in economic growth; if students are not reading at grade level by the third grade, the odds that they will ever read at grade level are only 1 in 17; by the 4th grade, 2 hours of specialized daily instruction is required to make the same gain that would have resulted from only 30 minutes of daily instruction if begun when the child was in Kindergarten.
CCL. (2010). The Future of Literacy in Canada’s Largest Cities: Canadian Council on Learning.

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