School Psychology Review

Rethinking Response to Intervention at Middle and High School

Lynn S. Fuchs, Douglas Fuchs, Donald L. Compton

pp. 22-28

General Issue

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In “Response to Intervention for Middle School Students With Reading Difficulties: Effects of a Primary and Secondary Intervention,” Sharon Vaughn and colleagues (2010) described a study in which they provided professional development to content area teachers, with the goal of integrating vocabulary and reading comprehension instruction throughout the school day in Tier 1 (i.e., in the general education classrooms). Against this enhanced instructional backdrop, the researchers randomly assigned at-risk students whom they identified based on inadequate performance on the previous year’s high-stakes state reading assessment, to two conditions: business-as-usual school services or a researcher- designed, 32- to 36-week Tier 2 reading intervention focused on decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The researchers delivered this Tier 2 intervention in large groups (i.e., 10–15 students per group) to reflect a logistically feasible model for implementation in real schools. The instruction was conducted for nearly 100 hr per student (SD = 23.1) at one site and 111 hr (SD = 11.6) at a second site. With this ambitious randomized control trial, they examined the efficacy of a response to intervention (RTI) Tier 2 intervention at sixth grade.