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help please

help please

Hello, I am new to this board.  I am a Title 1 reading specialist at a 6-8 middle school and am now in charge of teaching tier 2 and 3 classes for our kids.  I was just wondering if any of you were aware of any interventions that you found successful at your schools that you could pass on to me.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

Jodi
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Re: help please

Welcome to the discussion board.

I think the first thing to do is figure out what type of reading difficulties your students have.  Ideally, your general screening assessment will point you into a direction or two.  Usually, you'll want to then follow up with more specific diagnostic assessments.  Some experts disagree with me on this.  For some reason, they don't believe that there is as much value in figuring out what the problem is and believe its more important to just start applying interventions.  (They may be exaggerating to make a point of difference between excessive diagnostic testing and the need to intervene.)  I believe that the types of reading difficulties are different enough that you want to use interventions that are designed for the problems your students are having.  Once you have that data and analysis, you can begin the next stop of applying interventions. 

There's a lot of very knowledgeable people out there.  Once they know the specifics of the problems your students are having, you'll find a lot of support.

Take care,
Charles

Charles Johns
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Re: help please

I would like to stretch the discussion by someone qualifying exactly what off the shelf cbm's that people are using to monitoring progress. Also, what diagnostict assessments are being used on the secondary levels?

6-8 and 9-12

Joe
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Re: help please

Joe:

Thank you for "stretching" the conversation. 

At the secondary level, particularly 9-12 there are fewer CBMs that we see at the elementary and middle school levels.  There are a few solutions, but they are not perfect fits.  Aimsweb is a highly touted solution.  The quality of graphing and the relative ease of use makes it a nice solution.  In terms of reading, it tops out at the 9th grade reading level.  NWEA MAP assessments are also popular.  Since these assessments don't offer something for the entire school, high schools are understandably reluctant to use them.  More and more high schools are using them at the freshman level, or for ELL, SPED and some at-risk populations. 

As an alternative, that meets the needs of high schools, is to design a tight system of formative and summative assessments and use Professional Learning Teams to develop the necessary validity and reliability to make the assessments viable as data instruments.  A colleague of mine at Empowered High Schools has just written a piece on this.  You can find it at http://www.empoweredhighschools.com/blog/?p=42

Charles Johns
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Re: help please

Hello all,
Our district used to utilize NWEA, and we have been a reading first district. We changed this testing and have over the last three years been using Acuity and Progress Pro, which is now going to be replaced back to NWEA. Locally the majority of districts use NWEA, there is a plus to this with the transfer of students and transfer of data. Our secondary also conducts TOSCRF, TOSWRF, and TOWRE testing as a placement tool for interventions.

Many of our students have the “fluent reader without the comprehension” complex…..ie. 
Student: “The huge red fire engine careened down the road at great speeds”
Teacher: What color is the truck?
Student: “What truck?”

Interventions are mostly conducted in the middle school and intervention materials we have employed have been SRA (comprehension and decoding), reading with phonemes, and six minute solutions.

Philosophy is split within the secondary. If a student is reading three to four grades behind, should the intervention go to, or closer to, that students grade level of reading determined from assessment (most of these interventions review basic skills) in order to review and reassess what was missed; or should we approach it with a format closer the students present grade level. Staff does not like to use SRA because it seems, to them, to be beneath the students in intervention. Our data with Tier 3 SRA students has shown improvement, but present leadership also does not like the program; so we will change again. Next school year we plan to use reading plus as our primary intervention. Our problem here has created fidelity issues with the conduct of these interventions.

The bottom line is, unless management frequently monitors the conduct and fidelity of the interventions being employed, the program itself it will lose effectiveness.

Hope this helped.

Richard Campbell
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