Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Teaching Tips - Tackling RTI

I've heard rumors about some schools having staff members that have the specific duty of helping teachers take data and do progress monitoring.  If those rumors are true and you're one of those lucky teachers who get help with their data and progress monitoring, then let me say that I am so jealous!

Every year you'll get a handful of students who need to be taken through the RTI process.  It's inevitable, so you might as well embrace it and find a way that works for you!  Now if you're like me you really appreciate the data to analyze and confirm your personal observations, but you don't necessarily enjoy the process of collecting all those numbers.  The best tip I can give is to take the time to organize your data collection materials ahead of time.

Two of the biggest assessments we use for RTI at my school are DIBELS for Reading and CBMs (Curriculum Based Measurement) for Math.  Here's how I organized it:

  • I kept the hard copies of these assessments in a huge 3 inch binder I labeled for Data Collection.  In the front of the binder I kept the benchmark levels by grade for the assessments we used so I had easy access to them.  
  • Then placed the DIBELS manual, teacher scripts/assessment pages, and other assessment pieces behind these reference pages separated with labeled dividers.  (For example: a section for DIBELS Nonsense Words, DIBELS DORF pages, hard copies of CBM computation pages, etc.) 
  • In the back of my binder I kept hard copies of the DIBELS student recording books.  (Take a highlighter and mark the cover page with "Master Copy" so that you don't lose your hard copy.  When you run the book through the copy machine to record individual student progress, the writing done with your highlighter does not show up on your copy!)  This way your original copy doesn't go missing.
If there are any other assessments you use on a regular basis for RTI, add more dividers and give them their own section.  Setting this up ahead of time makes it easier and quicker to get started and keep going.  If it's all in one place and ready to go, you waste less time!  

I try to set aside one day a week to sweep through all the data collection with my RTI kids.  That way I'm on a routine and less likely to forget to assess.  The other perk is that my data is more consistent.  I just grab my folder, run through my assessments, and then it's back to business as usual.  No searching for forms - they're all right there!

(Oh, and I also keep individual student booklets in an accordion folder/plastic envelope tucked into the back of the binder, so I don't lose any of that precious data or forget to assess a student!)

Happy Data Collecting!

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