Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RTI and Math Instruction


RTI and Math Instruction
by Amanda VanDerHeyden, Ph.D., Education Research and Consulting, Inc., Fairhope, AL

Using RTI to Improve Learning in Mathematics

Response to Intervention (RTI) has become a vehicle for system reform because it provides a framework in which data can be relied on as the basis for making relative judgments (e.g., determining who needs help the most and how much they need) and for distributing instructional resources to promote the greatest good for the greatest number of students.
Much of the writing and research on RTI has occurred in the area of reading, but RTI is not limited to reading. Rather, it is a science of decision making that can be applied to a variety of “problem” behaviors. RTI, properly understood and used, is focused on improving student learning. Ensuring the development of mathematics competence during the primary grades is essential to later learning success. Key findings in the literature highlight the need to focus on early mathematics instruction:

1.... Children who have had less experience or exposure to mathematical concepts and numeracy are at high risk for mathematics failure (Griffin & Case, 1997).

2.... Most students fail to meet minimal mathematics proficiency standards by the end of their formal schooling (U.S. Department of Education, 2003).

3.... Students identified with specific learning disabilities perform lower and grow at a slower pace relative to their peers in learning mathematics.

4.... Existing instructional tools and textbooks often do a poor job of adhering to important instructional principles for learning in mathematics (National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008).

5.... Math is highly proceduralized and continually builds on previous knowledge for successful learning. Hence, early deficits have enduring and devastating effects on later learning, as indicated in The Head Start Path to Positive Child Outcomes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001) and elsewhere (e.g., National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM], 2000; U.S. Department of Education, 2003).

6.... Early mathematics intervention can repair deficits and prevent future deficits (Clements & Sarama, 2007; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Karns, 2001; Fuchs, Fuchs, Yazdian, & Powell, 2002; Griffin & Case, 1997; Sophian, 2004).

In mathematics, a reform process similar to what occurred in reading in the 1990s appears to be underway. ... ... ....

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