Project 2. Response to Early Reading Intervention and the Identification of Learning Disabilities The 2004 reauthorization of IDEA brings the use of student response to instruction (RTI) as an element in the identification of learning disabilities (IDs) into practice in American schools. In Project 2, we seek to address gaps in knowledge that must be filled as RTI models are implemented, particularly questions pertaining to (a) the precise nature of the instruction to which response should be measured and (b) the long-term implications of response to this instruction in terms of IDs in word-level reading, reading fluency, and comprehension. Our objective is to systematically study variables related to RTI and student outcomes in multi-tiered reading intervention provided in Grades 1-2. We propose 3 specific aims.
Specific Aim 1 will determine differences in outcomes and long-range consequences of RTI within 2 competing intervention models for students in Grade 1: (a) a problem-solving model derived from behavioral consultation in which classroom teachers provide individualized prereferral interventions and (b) a standard protocol supplemental intervention provided outside the classroom and based on reading intervention research.
Specific Aim 2 will determine the effectiveness of RTI in (a) individualized intervention (the standard in special education) and (b) standardized intervention with a comprehensive, sequential reading program, both provided to students with inadequate response to Grade 1 intervention.
Specific Aim 3 will determine the impact of various student characteristics, teacher characteristics, and intervention implementation characteristics on student response to this intervention. To address these aims, we propose a longitudinal study (with 1-2 years of follow-up) of three Grade 1 cohorts (176 students per year, 528 total) across two sites (Houston, Austin). First graders at-risk for reading difficulty will be randomly assigned to receive 20 weeks of either problemsolving or standardized protocol intervention. Students whose RTI fails to meet multiple criteria will participate in 30 weeks of highly intensive Tier III intervention in Grade 2, comparing the effectiveness of (a) individualized and (b) standardized intensive intervention. The proposed research will enhance our understanding of the practices related to classification, definition, and treatment of reading and readingrelated IDs and enable the implementation of practical, valid RTI models in our schools. It will significantly inform both processes related to identification of IDs and instructional decisions for students with IDs identified within a RTI model.
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