Field Studies of RTI Effectiveness Exit Group Model (EGM)

Study Citation


Vaughn, S., Linan-Thompson, S., & Hickman, P. (2003). Response to intervention as a means of identifying students with reading/learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 69, 391–409.


Program Description


The exit group model (EGM) is a standard-protocol model focusing on reading outcomes. It is a tiered model wherein students who do not achieve desired results in response to universal, evidence-based instruction receive up to 30 weeks of intensive supplemental instruction before being referred for special education evaluation. Vaughn, Linan-Thompson, and Hickman (2003) identified some key aspects of the EGM process:


  1. Evidence-based instruction (Tier 1);
  2. Up to 30 weeks of supplemental instruction (Tiers 2–4, 10 weeks per tier) until "exit criteria" are met;
  3. Special education evaluation if “no exit.”

Within this model, general education teachers are responsible for implementing the Tier 1 evidence-based instruction in the classroom. Specially trained tutors were responsible for implementing the intensive supplemental interventions based on the findings of the National Reading Panel. Instruction in the next three tiers lasted 35 minutes and was held daily for up to 30 weeks. Each tutor received more than 20 hours of training before the study began and met with the university-based research team leader once a week to obtain further information on how to address specific issues related to teaching and intervention.

Purpose of Study


The research study was designed to determine a) the number of students at risk for learning disabilities (LD) who would not meet exit criteria after each 10-week segment of supplemental reading instruction, b) the extent to which students who were provided treatment and responded positively (released from supplemental treatment) would "thrive" without supplemental instruction in the general education classroom, and c) the feasibility of using a Response-to-Intervention model to identify, by school or by district, students with LD.


Study Method


The study included 45 second-grade students identified as being at risk for reading disabilities based on teacher nomination and scores on a screening measure in three schools. Supplemental instruction was provided for 10 weeks, at which time students were assessed to determine if they met exit criteria. The supplemental instruction provided a fast-paced lesson that included correction and feedback as well as opportunities to practice. Students who met exit criteria were no longer given supplemental instruction, and students who didn’t meet criteria were provided another 10-week segment of supplemental instruction, at the end of which assessment occurred to identify who met exit criteria and who did not.


Study Results


Of the 45 students selected for intervention, 10 exited after Tier 2, 14 exited after Tier 3, 10 exited after Tier 4, and 11 never exited. Twenty-two of the 24 students who exited after Tier 2 and Tier 3 maintained adequate progress in the general education classroom (i.e., they “thrived”). Overall, reading scores improved for all students, including those who did not exit from the supplemental intervention.

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