Volume 36, Issue 4 (2007)
Identifying Students at Risk, Monitoring Performance, and Determining Eligibility Within Response to Intervention: Research on Educational Need and Benefit From Academic Intervention
Mark R. Shinn
Abstract. The new Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act(2004) offers local education agencies the choice of using a student’s response to intervention (RTI) as a major component to determine eligibility for special education under the category of specific learning disabilities (SLD). Using a RTI model, it is not expected that different students will be identified as SLD than those identified historically. For more than 25 years, accumulated evidence has strongly suggested that most students labeled SLD have been those students with severe educational needs (i.e., have performance discrepancies compared to students in their own communities), regardless of the stated eligibility criterion(e.g., ability–achievement discrepancies). What is unique about RTI is that educational need is a necessary but not sufficient requirement for SLD identification.Students also must not be responding to high-quality general education instruction (i.e., receiving educational benefit). This article first explores the scientific evidence for operationalizing the educational need component using curriculum-based measurement. Second, the use of curriculum-based measurement to assess RTI is presented not only within a special education eligibility process, but also for universal screening and progress monitoring for all students within a three-tier problem-solving model. The article concludes with important research questions within RTI.
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