6 Components of RtI - Assessment/Progress Monitoring
Why: A major feature of the RtI Model is its use of data to drive the decision-making processóat the individual student, classroom, and school levels.
Assessment/Progress Monitoring Across the Tiers: To support RtIís fluid approach, reliable and ongoing information must be available to:
- Identify academic and behavioral needs of individual students
- Inform the problem-solving process
- Design and modify instruction to meet student needs
- Evaluate the effectiveness of instruction at different levels, of the system (e.g., classroom, school, district)
An efficient system that streamlines increasingly limited resources, however, is still paramount. Therefore, RtI uses a tiered system of assessments that increase in frequency and intensity as greater needs are revealed. Timely, reliable assessments indicate which students are falling behind in critical skills or which students need their learning accelerated, as well as allow teachers to design instruction that responds to the learning needs. By regularly assessing studentsí progress in learning and behavior, teachers can identify which students need more help, which are likely to make good progress without extra help, and which students need their learning accelerated.
An effective assessment plan has four main objectives:
- To identify students at the beginning of the year who are at-risk or who are experiencing difficulties and who may need extra instruction or intensive interventions if they are to progress toward grade-level standards by the end of the year, as well as students who have reached benchmarks and who need to be challenged.
- To monitor studentsí progress during the year to determine whether at-risk students are making adequate progress in critical skills and to identify any students who may be falling behind or need to be challenged.
- To inform instructional planning in order to meet the most critical needs of individual students.
- To evaluate whether the instruction or intervention provided is powerful enough to help all students achieve grade-level standards by the end of each year.
The four objectives outlined above can be achieved through four types of assessments during the school year: 1) screening, 2) progress monitoring, 3) diagnostic, and 4) outcome. They correspond roughly to the four objectives above, but all can contribute in helping plan effective instruction and interventions.
Screening Assessments: Screening assessments are quick and efficient measures of overall ability and critical skills known to be strong indicators that predict student performance. Administered to all students as an initial baseline, these assessments help to identify students who do not meet or who exceed grade level expectations. Results can be used as a starting point for instruction or to indicate a need for further evaluation.
Progress Monitoring Assessments: Progress monitoring assessments are also brief, but are given periodically to determine whether students are making adequate progress. Progress monitoring assessment data should be collected, evaluated, and used on an ongoing basis for the following purposes:
- Determine rate of a studentís progress
- Provide information on the effectiveness of instruction and to modify the intervention if necessary
- Identify the need for additional information
- Analyze and interpret gaps between benchmarks and achievement.
Diagnostic Assessments: While relatively lengthy,
diagnostic assessments provide an in-depth, reliable assessment of
targeted skills. Their major purpose is to provide information for
planning more effective instruction and interventions. Diagnostic
assessments should be given when there is a clear
expectation that they will offer new or more reliable information about a childís academic or behavioral needs that can be used to help plan more powerful instruction or interventions.
If schools are implementing screening, progress monitoring, and outcome assessments in a reliable and valid way, the need for additional testing, using formal diagnostic instruments, should be reduced. Because they are time-consuming and expensive, complete diagnostic tests should be administered far less frequently than the other assessments. However, specific subtests from diagnostic instruments might be used to provide information in areas not assessed by screening, progress monitoring, or outcome assessments. School leaders should continually ask if the value of the information to teachers from formal diagnostic tests in planning instruction merits the time spent administering such tests.
Outcome Assessments: Given at the end of the school year, outcome tests are frequently group-administered tests of important outcomes (e.g., CSAP). Outcome assessments are often used for school, district and or state reporting purposes. These tests are important because they give school leaders and teachers feedback about the overall effectiveness of their instructional program. As part of an effective assessment plan, outcome assessments should be administered at the end of every year.