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January 15, 2009


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Charles Johns

Good post.

As a secondary principal, I suggest looking for the assessments that are used in the junior highs or middle schools and see how they can fit as a universal screener. From this data, a school can dial in on the students' needs by more specific measures such as the Maze. In Illinois, which uses the ACT as its AYP Assessment for high schools, the Explore (also an ACT product) is a natural fit for a universal screener. The results from the Explore can inform students and school staff of student skill weaknesses and can provide information toward a projected ACT score. We've been using it for years and it has been quite useful. I do caution about using it alone. It is important to have additional data points to focus in on the specifics of the skill deficit.


Gene G.

These are very pertinent posts and valuable information for schools that are initiating RTI. I am a school psychologist who was fortunate to be trained in RTI as it was emerging into a national trend. As such, I feel that I have been well versed in helping to design and implement the process, but it seems, only in the elementary level.
I have been working at a K-12 charter school and have initiated the change to RTI over two years ago, and am finding many problematic design and implementation issues at the high school level. I have been looking for supportive research articles, but have not found any. I'm saddened to read, from a few sources, that there still is no adequate research for the secondary level, but am a little relieved to know that I am not alone in this dilemma.
The secondary issue I am faced with is trying to implement the process as a stand-alone school. We do not have district resources or support, nor do we have common schools to help us in this process. I am glad to hear that a school is using the ACT data in conjunction with other data to move forward. That may be helpful to our school as we use their products, including the Explorer.
Primarily, our school uses the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress assessments as our school-wide screener. It is very useful and provides much information for each student. Even the high school students can be examined for skill deficits and interventions looked into.
The areas that we are having issues most, at the secondary level, involve the students whose skills are at the appropriate level, but their classroom grades are failing. Our school is utilizing the Positive Behavior Support system also, but the difficulty in linking the two to address these students with failing grades has not helped these individuals progress. We may need specific interventions in reaching these students with a different strategy.
I look forward to reading more on other school’s experiences and any new research in this area.
Gene G.

Daryl Mellard

Screening at a secondary level is going to be problematic for several reasons.
Most of the measures mentioned like the MAP and ACT battery provide indications of current status as opposed to predicting an outcome. Explore might do well predicting ACT scores so that's a place to begin.
We likely want to predict HS dropout or completion.
Also, regarding the quality of the prediction, we have to be in a position to respond to students' needs with more intense interventions. So again, the screening test provides results that should point us in a direction for next steps.

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