Field Studies of RTI Effectiveness Midwest Intervention Intensity (MII) Model

Study Citation


Duhon, G. J., Mesmer, E. M., Atkins, M. E., Greguson, L. A., & Olinger, E. S. (2009). Quantifying intervention intensity: A systematic approach to evaluating student response to increasing intervention frequency. Journal of Behavioral Education, 18, 101–118.


Program Description


The Midwest Intervention Intensity (MII) model is a multi-tiered early mathematics program focused on rural students. Its focus is to compare the effects of differing levels of intervention intensity on mathematics outcomes. Duhon et al. (2009) identified two critical areas of the MII model:

1. The student’s level of response.
2. The intensity of the intervention required to produce that level of response.
Student response is evaluated in an attempt to gauge the degree of response, while intervention intensity is evaluated to provide a context for understanding that response.

 Within the MII model, both Tier 1 instruction and Tier 2 interventions are the responsibility of specially trained university researchers. Tier 1 instruction is conducted in the general education classroom under normal conditions, while Tier 2 interventions are conducted one-on-one in a secluded room.


Purpose of Study


The purpose of the study was to determine if the application of an increased frequency of a fluency-based intervention package on the mathematics performance of poor-responding students would result in performance levels similar to that of typically responding peers.


Study Method


Data were collected on 35 second-grade students from a small, rural midwestern elementary school. Progress-monitoring data were used in the initial responsiveness evaluation phase to identify nonresponders for participation in the intensity analysis phase. During the intensity analysis phase (Tier 2), student response to increasing intensity of the fluency intervention was evaluated within a multiple baseline design across subjects.


Study Results


Results of the study indicate that the application of a multi-level intervention model involving increased frequency intervals resulted in quantitatively more intense treatment for individual students as well as improved functioning of the entire group. The use of a benchmark criterion allowed for the evaluation of math performance against an anchor that is consistent with successful future outcomes. The intervention utilized during the responsiveness evaluation (Tier 1) produced satisfactory response for fluency (benchmark level or higher) in all but three students. Non responsive students (those not reaching benchmark) were included in the intensity analysis phase (Tier 2). Two of the participants responded to the intervention when it was increased to five times that of the original intensity. Each was able to meet benchmark criterion quickly after the intervention increased. One student, however, showed insufficient response until he was exposed to intervention intensity 10 times the original intervention. Once the intervention intensity increased, that student’s performance also increased to the benchmark level. At the conclusion of the intervention phases, all participants had made progress with the fluency intervention and were considered to be functioning in the mastery range with the skill. However, the authors report that when maintenance data were collected, the three initial nonresponders had dropped back to baseline levels on mathematics outcome measures.

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