"Third Grade Case Studies"
Third Grade Case Studies SL Smiley May 2007 Educating Students with Reading Disabilities: Issues in Policy and Practice RE 5537 Dr. Devery Mock Appalachian State University My case studies will compare two third grade boys who are currently assigned to my special two week “Blitz” test preparation class. One boy is certified Learning Disabled and the other is performing well below grade level, but is not receiving Special Education services. I will refer to these boys as “Christian” and “Melik”. I will discuss each of their family and home environments, known school history from pre-school to third grade, and their report cards and standardized test scores. Finally, I will compare their current stage of reading development and their current classroom performance. Christian was born on June 14, 1998. He resides with both parents and an older sister. His mother and father are both from Mexico, but moved to the United States before he was born. His older sister is in the fifth grade and is performing on grade level. The family has lived in the same house for at least four years according to records. Both mother and father work outside of the home, but are very supportive of Christian’s academic needs. Christian’s mother attends parent conferences by herself, because his father speaks very little English. His mother’s highest level of education completed is the eleventh grade, while his father stopped at the sixth grade. Christian has grown up hearing Spanish spoken in his home, although he cannot speak it. In fact, his mother reports that when he was four years old, he could say very few words. Christian attended Bright Beginnings Pre-K program and then transferred to his present school where he began kindergarten. Christian qualifies for “free” breakfast and lunch. Melik was born on October 17, 1997, about eight months prior to Christian. Melik lives with his mother, his older brother who is twelve, and his younger sister who is five. His older brother has been in and out of juvenile detention centers for several years. I am not aware of his academic status. His younger sister goes to daycare and will be a kindergartner at H.N.E.S. next year. All three children have different fathers. Melik’s biological father died when he was just two years old. Melik’s mother was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the United States when she was sixteen. Her highest level of education is the twelfth grade. She attends conferences and states that she is concerned about his academic progress. However; at this time she works evenings, so she relies on Melik’s aunt (her sister) to help him with his homework. Melik was born in Brooklyn, NY where he attended kindergarten and first grade. He was retained in first grade. The family then moved to Charlotte, NC in time for Melik to start second grade. Once they were able to obtain their own residence, (they were staying with an aunt), Melik transferred to H.N.E.S., his current and third school. Melik is in the “free” breakfast and lunch program. Christian began his school career in the Bright Beginnings Pre-K program in the fall of 2002 at A.J.E.S. At the end of that year, he only knew the letter O and the number 1. He could not write his name independently. It was noted that he had some difficulty focusing on lessons. His family did meet the reading requirement goal for the year, and attended school functions. He had 5 absences for that school year. He transferred to his present school, H.N.E.S., to begin his kindergarten year in August of 2003. Medical records indicate that his vision and hearing screenings were normal. He was not eligible for Speech/Language services. Many academic records are missing from his file, but those that are included indicate a discrepancy between literacy skills and mathematical ability. Throughout the year Christian continued to struggle with phonological development, only recognizing a few letters of the alphabet. He achieved mastery level for math skills (“3”) and below grade level for literacy skills (“1”). He was absent 5 days. Christian entered first grade in 2004. His teacher immediately recognized that he was extremely far behind. Since there were no behavioral issues other than focusing, she suspected a learning disability and began the referral process. Due to his family history, administration placed him in the ESL program, and the Special Ed referral process was halted. His classroom teacher and the ESL teacher both stated that Christian could not remember skills taught from day to day and still did not know all of the letters in his name, even though they were both working with him individually and in a small group setting. Christian earned “1’s” in Literacy Skills and “3’s” in Math for the year. He was not retained because he was in the ESL program. He accrued 6 absences that year. Melik began his school career by attending a Pre-Kindergarten Daycare where he completed the program without any noted difficulty. He then started kindergarten in September 2002. His vision and hearing screenings were normal and no Speech/Language services were needed. There is one set of grades for the entire kindergarten year and no other work samples or assessment indicators. His overall Intellectual Development was marked as “Needs Improvement”. He was marked poorly on maintaining self control and obeying class rules. Attendance records were not recorded in the file. Melik entered first grade in the fall of 2003 and it was noted that he needed glasses. Again, the only report states that he received “1’s” for all academic subjects. Physical Education was the only exception, where he earned a “3”. He missed 24 days of school and was retained for the following school year. In January of 2004, Melik’s mother requested that he be referred for academic evaluation. His teacher believed that he could benefit from support services, and so the screening process began. In February, he was placed in a Special Ed setting all day and instructed in all subjects. The ratio in this setting was 12:1. The information given does not define the learning disability area(s). No IEP could be located. In 2004 when he repeated first grade, he began in the Special Ed setting. However, his mother chose to completely pull him out of the program in October. During this second year of first grade, Melik performed on grade level in math and received all “3’s”. (Again, this is according to the single report.) In Literacy, he was still working below grade level and received “2’s”. His attendance had improved, as he was absent only 5 times. There are no work samples or assessment results included in the file for either first grade year. After completing first grade, both boys had consistently shown learning difficulties in all areas of literacy. Unfortunately, there were obstacles from home and within the school setting that stood in the way of the boys getting services that they needed. Their mathematical ability seemed to be on track for their grade. Moving forward, the boys are now in the same grade and soon to be in the same school. When Christian entered second grade, he began seeing the school’s Reading Specialist for two 30 minute sessions each week. He was pulled out of the regular classroom for these individual reading lessons. He was still in the ESL program. Working together, the Reading Specialist, the ESL teacher, and his regular classroom teacher began the Special Ed referral process again, insisting that this child be screened because the interventions were simply not helping Christian make necessary progress. Testing validated that he was eligible to receive Special Ed services commencing in January 2005 for his Specific Learning Disabilities in Basic Reading, Reading Comprehension, and Written Expression. It was reported that his working memory was a significant area of weakness for him which hindered his acquisition of new knowledge. (See Tables 1, 2, & 3 for Testing Information) He missed 8 days of school. Melik started second grade at a new school in North Carolina. The teachers at his school recognized that Melik was struggling, and since he had been retained in first grade, started the paperwork for additional testing. Before all of the testing could take place, (which his mother was now open to), the family moved, so he had to attend yet another school in his new neighborhood. Testing results showed that Melik was not eligible for Special Ed services based on his test scores. He was still performing well below grade level in reading. Math was becoming harder for him because he had poor reading fluency skills, and couldn’t process word problems. He missed 5 days of second grade. (See Table 4 for Testing Information) In second grade, both boys were assessed using the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) program. These results show that Melik is making progress at a higher rate than Christian, even though his scores are still falling below grade level range. (See Table 5 for DIBELS) At this point, Christian is receiving Special Ed services while Melik remains in the regular classroom setting, but receiving Reading Mastery as an intervention. At present, Christian is in the third grade and continues to be pulled out for Special Ed services daily for 1 hour. He takes the NC EXTEND 2 Reading Test, so he does not have Quarterly Reading or Math Test results. The EXTEND 2 Tests are not scored or reported. He did take the Math Pretest. (See Table 6) The upcoming End-of-Grade tests (NC EXTEND 2 in Reading), will be given to him with the following accommodations: multiple test sessions, marks in book, separate setting, extended time, and read aloud. His current report card grades consist of “D’s” and “1’s” in all subjects. There was a notation about not completing daily homework assignments. Two absences are reported so far this year. (See Tables 8 & 9) At the beginning of third grade, Melik began seeing the Reading Specialist for three 45 minute sessions in a small group setting. He is pulled out of the regular classroom for this intervention. He receives no accommodations for any of the Quarterly Tests (See Tables 6 & 7) or the upcoming End-of-Grade Test. His most recent progress report shows he has earned a “C” in both Reading and Writing. He has dropped to a “D” in Math. He has had 4 absences this year. (See Tables 8 & 9) Presently, Christian is a happy and eager learner who rarely gets in trouble. He still has difficulty focusing, and can only perform two-step directions with accuracy. His working memory deficit is quite apparent when he encounters a new word. When corrected, he doesn’t have the ability to remember the same word when he sees it again within the same text. He has learned all of the letters of the alphabet now, but only has a limited amount of words on the pre- primer to primer level stored in memory (his sight words). He can correctly make the initial sound of an unknown word, but cannot correctly decode the rest of the word and quickly gives up. He is still working on writing complete simple sentences. His writing is limited to the same few words used over and over. He rarely takes a risk to write a new word. His handwriting is very deliberate and slow and looks much like that of a first grader. (See Writing Samples) When asked about reading, he will tell you that his favorite book is The Cat in the Hat, but he is unable to read it correctly. He says that he likes how the words “sound” to him (the rhyming and alliteration) and has been working on segmenting the onset and rime for one syllable words (-at) this year. He is a Compensatory Reader and is performing at a beginning – mid first grade level. His Listening Comprehension is much better than his Reading Comprehension. Christian truly enjoys being read to and listens intently, but will not choose to read on his own because it’s simply too laborious for him to get any pleasure out of the experience. He aims to please his teachers and I worry that he will become more discouraged as he goes through the upper grades. He knows he is behind his peers, but doesn’t understand to what extent. He is a very sweet and affectionate boy who still needs much nurturing. I fear that parent support is dwindling as evidence of his low grade on his report card for completed homework. At this time, Melik is a Non-Automatic Reader. He has acquired accurate word recognition skills but this requires much effort as it is not yet automatic for him. He reads word by word and often uses context to help speed him along, but he lacks in the area of comprehension. This year he has worked diligently to learn more difficult spelling patterns and units within words (word families) and sight words, but still confuses some of them and has not yet committed all of them to memory. He enjoys being read to, but will not choose to read on his own. When asked to write, he will do so, but misspells many words and his sentences have little to no correct punctuation. The physical act of writing appears to be effortless for him, as he has neat handwriting skills. (See Writing Samples) In his pull out sessions with the Reading Specialist, he has been instructed on his reading level. She has focused on repeated readings with him to boost word recognition, fluency, comprehension, and overall reading confidence. He has made progress, albeit slow. Melik tells me that he receives little to no supported literature experiences at home, because his mom works until very late at night. Instead, he spends his free time watching television and playing video games, which certainly doesn’t help to boost the orthographic knowledge needed to be a better reader! He is a very sensitive and affectionate boy who is acutely aware that he is behind his classmates in reading. When he struggles, he often becomes discouraged and shuts down academically. It is at these times that his behavior sometimes plummets as well. Both Christian and Melik have challenging academic roads ahead of them. They both require very knowledgeable and compassionate teachers to not only boost their self confidence but to understand their learning difficulties/disabilities as well. Parental involvement (or lack there of) will become an even greater factor in school performance as they move through the upper grades. Both boys sincerely want to learn and succeed in school. I hope they are given the chance and support needed to do so. (See Table 10 for Overall Comparisons) TABLE 1 - Christian 12.02.05 Test of Early Reading Achievement 3 (TERA-3) Alphabetic Raw Score 19 Age Equivalent 6y 4m Grade Equivalent 1.2 SS 7 16%tile Conventions Raw Score 11 Age Equivalent 5y 10m Grade Equivalent K.7 SS 6 9%tile Meaning Raw Score 9 Age Equivalent 5y 4m Grade Equivalent K.2 SS 3 1%tile Reading Quotient 70, Total SS 16, 2%tile 12.09.05 Test of Early Written Language 2 (TEWL-2) Basic Raw Score 21 Age Equivalent 6y 1m 10%tile Quotient 81 Global Raw Score 21 Age Equivalent 5y 2m <1%tile Total SS <65 12.09.05 Test of Math Achievement 3 (TEMA-3) Raw Score 43 Age Equivalent 6y 9m Grade Equivalent 1.7 35%tile SS 94 TABLE 2 – Christian 1.13.06 WISC-IV Standard Score Verbal Comprehension Index 87 Processing Speed Index 88 Perceptual Reasoning Index 94 Full Scale Score (IQ) 81 Working Memory Index 65 TABLE 3 - Christian Ability Standard Achievement Standard Discrepancy Points Score Score Basic Reading 81 70 -11 Reading Comp. 81 70 -11 Written Expression 81 65 -16 Math Calculation 81 94 +13 Math Reasoning 81 94 +13 TABLE 4 – Melik Woodcock Johnson III Ability Standard Achievement Standard Discrepancy Points Score Score Basic Reading 77 78 +1 Reading Comp. 77 78 +1 Written Expression 77 88 +11 Math Calculation 77 96 +19 Math Reasoning 77 96 +19 TABLE 5 – 2nd Grade DIBELS Comparison, 2005-2006 Nonsense Word Oral Reading Fluency Oral Reading Fluency Oral Reading Fluency Fluency (Fall only) (Benchmark 1 -Fall) (Benchmark 2 – Winter) (Benchmark 3 – Spring) Christian - 11 Christian - 2 Christian - 6 Christian - 5 Melik - 18 Melik - 11 Melik - 27 Melik - 32 NWF <30 = Deficit (end of 1st grade) Fall: ORF <26 = At Risk, Intensive, Needs Substantial Intervention (>=44 Benchmark, At Grade Level) Winter: DORF <52 = At Risk, Intensive, Needs Substantial Intervention (>=68 Benchmark, At Grade Level) Spring DORF <70= At Risk, Intensive, Needs Substantial Intervention (>=90 Benchmark, At Grade Level) TABLE 6 – 3rd Grade Pretest Scores, fall 2006 Reading Pretest Christian Melik Scaled Score NC EXTEND 2 (no scores) 216 %tile 1 Achievement Level 1 Math Pretest Christian Melik Scaled Score 312 315 %tile 6 11 Achievement Level 1 2 TABLE 7 – Melik’s Quarterly Test Scores for Third Grade Reading, 2006-2007 Quarter Points Points Objectives Points Percent Achievement Obtained Attempted Mastery Possible Obtained Level 1 8 40 17 No report 20 1 2 10 49 17 49 20 1 3 14 50 10 50 28 1 3rd Grade Achievement Level 3: (percent needed) Qtr. 1 – 59%, Qtr. 2 – 59%, Qtr. 3 – 57% TABLE 8 – Attendance Year and Absences by Grade Christian Melik Pre-K 5 absences (2002-2003) Not reported (2001-2002) Kindergarten 5 absences (2003-2004) Not reported (2002-2003) First Grade 6 absences (2004-2005) 24 absences (2003-2004) First Grade (RETAINED) N/A 5 absences (2004-2005) Second Grade 8 absences (2005-2006) 5 absences (2005-2006) Third Grade (to date) 2 absences (2006-2007) 4 absences (2006-2007) TABLE 9 – Grades Achievement Levels By Grade Christian Melik Pre-K Knows only letter O, number Not reported 1 Kindergarten Reading 1, Math 3 Overall – Needs Improvement First Grade Reading 1, Math 3 Overall - 1 First Grade (RETAINED) N/A Reading 2, Math 3 Second Grade Reading 1, Math 2 Reading 1, Math 2 Third Grade Overall D’s Reading C, Math D TABLE 10 – Overall Comparisons (At a glance) Christian (DOB 6-14-98) Melik (DOB 2-17-97) Parents Mom and Dad Mom (Dad is deceased) Highest Education Level Mom – 11th grade Mom – 12th grade Completed Dad – 6th grade Language Spoken at Home Spanish English (with heavy accent) Parents’ Nationality Hispanic Jamaican Siblings 1 older sister, on grade level 1 older brother, in/out of detention centers, 1 younger sister not yet in school Residency Same house for at least 4 years 3 known homes, 2 moves within same year “Free” Breakfast & Lunch Yes Yes Current Support at Home Yes, but limited due to Little to none, due to work language proficiency schedule Special Ed Testing Grade 1 – refused due to ESL Grade 1 – Retained Grade 2 – yes, qualified for Grade 2 – no, denied certification certification for services Current Services Special Ed Reading Specialist Current Grades Overall D’s Reading C, Math D Current Behavior Good Good Poorer when frustrated Current Stage of Reading Compensatory Reader Non-Automatic Reader Development (Off-Track) Current Age 8 years 11 months 9 years 7 months The Cat in the Hat Page 1 The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house All that cold, cold, wet day. Page 2 I sat there with Sally. We sat there, we two. And I said, “How I wish We had something to do!” Too wet to go out And too cold to play ball. So we sat in the house. We did nothing at all. Page 3 So all we could do was to Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! And we did not like it. Not one little bit. Christian - about 91% accuracy (with self-corrections) Melik - 100% accuracy A Reflection: RTI and Problem Solving SL Smiley Summer 2007 Educating Students with Reading Disabilities: Issues in Policy and Practice RE 5537 Dr. Devery Mock Appalachian State University In this reflection, I intend to discuss Response to Intervention and the Problem Solving method. I will define them and describe their role as it relates to new legislation. A comparison will be made between Problem Solving and Standard Treatment Protocol, and another one between Problem Solving and the current IQ-achievement discrepancy method, in order to clearly address the advantages and disadvantages of using only the Problem Solving approach. In closing, I will state my opinion as an educator, and voice my concerns of North Carolina’s decision to implement this procedure. What is RTI? RTI, Response to Intervention, simply stated is a research based systematic method used to identify/assess students early with difficulties/disabilities in reading, with a primary focus on those children who are not responding to instruction. It is a practice consisting of three essential components. First, RTI provides high-quality instruction/intervention that is appropriately matched to individual student needs. This instruction or intervention is one that has proven through research to be effective and produce high growth rates for most students. Second, the student’s growth/responsiveness is measured over time and compared to that of peer growth rates of expected performance. Third, the data provided by this type of instruction aids educators in making decisions about a student’s entitlement for special education services, the need for other types of services, or exit from any of these services. (Response to Intervention: Policy Considerations and Implementation, NASDSE) The degree of intensity and duration of interventions are also determined by the student’s response to such instruction/intervention across a two, three, or four tiered system. These tiers provide for more intense interventions by using teacher-centered, systematic, and explicit instruction, increase of frequency and duration of instruction, smaller and more homogenous student groupings, and instruction by educators who are experts in their field. (Fuchs & Fuchs 2006) A typical three tier model in RTI begins in the first tier. The instruction taking place in Tier 1 is provided by the general education (classroom) teacher in the regular classroom setting. A good curriculum in addition to effective instruction is provided to all students. Valid, standardized testing takes place to measure the students’ level of mastery and proficiency. STAR testing and DIBELS are two assessments that allow teachers to analyze data and set goals or change instructional procedures based on the results. At this tier, the teacher is looking to see that the majority of her students meet grade level expectations. The students who do not meet an acceptable achievement level are then identified as needing another intervention and are moved into Tier 2. In Tier 2, a more intense intervention takes place and is adjunct to core instruction. Tier 2 instruction can and may occur outside of the regular classroom setting. Students who make satisfactory improvements in performance skills at the end of Tier 2, are reintegrated back into the regular classroom setting. Those who do not make satisfactory progress are moved into Tier 3 which typically occurs outside of the regular education setting and can involve a Title I teacher, a Reading Specialist, special education teachers, or other remediation programs available at the school. At this level of intense instruction, if a student continues to be unresponsive, individual diagnostic assessments may take place to determine if a child does indeed meet entitlement criteria for special education services. (Response to Intervention: Policy Considerations and Implementation, NASDSE) What is Problem Solving? Problem Solving is an approach that differs from child to child, because assessment and intervention are personalized based on the child’s needs. (Fuchs & Fuchs 2006) This approach requires the discussion of an individual student’s needs, development of interventions, and analysis of student response. It is favored by practitioners in the Heartland Educational Agency, who have developed a four level model to “provide educational assistance in a timely manner”. (Grimes 2002) At each problem solving level the same procedures are followed: determine the magnitude of the problem, (If there is a problem, what is it?), analyze its cause, (Why is it happening?) design a goal-directed intervention and carry it out, monitor student progress, make modifications as necessary, (What should be done about it?), and evaluate the effectiveness of the plan to decide the future course of action, (Did the plan work?). (Fuchs & Fuchs 2006) The four levels in the Problem Solving model developed by Heartland are as follows: Level 1 - The regular education teacher meets with the student’s parents to try to resolve the academic area of concern. Level 2 - The regular education teacher meets with the school’s Assistance Team to identify the problem and make a plan for implementing and monitoring an intervention. Level 3 – The Heartland staff delivers a redesigned/refined intervention. Level 4 – The child is considered for special education. (Ikeda & Gustafson 2002) IDEA 2004 The revised Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act which was signed into law in 2004, states that educators may now use RTI when determining the educational needs of a student. This is different from the past when entitlement was based solely using the IQ- achievement discrepancy formula. The new law contains provisions for RTI to be used in the same areas as the former method: oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation, and mathematical reasoning. IDEA 2004 also allocates 15% of special education funds to be spent on early intervention programs for all students within the general education setting. This is intended to reduce the high number of students who may be misdiagnosed as Learning Disabled and provide assistance to those students who need substantial intervention but do not meet the LD criteria before they reach academic failure and frustration. (Response to Intervention: Policy Considerations and Implementation, NASDSE) Obviously, much discussion between special educators, general educators, and administrators must occur to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the RTI procedures and the early identification of academic concerns. Standard Treatment Protocol To discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of using the Problem Solving model, I must first state and define an alternate method in RTI, the one which is preferred by reading researchers: Standard Treatment Protocol. Standard Treatment Protocol provides for intervention using a standard treatment that is scientific in nature, predetermined, and specific for a particular area of concern. It is a systematic method of delivery, often scripted, and occurs over a fixed period of time. It usually takes place within a small group setting. Progress is monitored closely, data is collected, and evaluations and decisions for future instruction are based on the results of the student’s performance. Advantages and Disadvantages RTI (with Problem Solving and Standard Treatment Protocol) and the antiquated IQ- achievement discrepancy method, both exhibit advantages and disadvantages in identifying students with Learning Disabilities. There are also pros and cons to both when it comes to providing appropriate interventions for students with Learning Disabilities and those students who are the struggling, “garden variety” poor readers. (Scruggs & Mastropieri 2002) Historically, the IQ-achievement discrepancy formula has been used to identify children as Learning Disabled. The main problem with the discrepancy formula is that the “formula” varies from state to state, and even district to district. This inconsistency could (and does) show a child to be identified as LD in one school and then transfer to a school where he/she doesn’t meet the criteria. Also, with the discrepancy formula, some children may not be deemed eligible, and ultimately “slip through the cracks”, simply because their “score” may be off by a few points. Contrary to this, RTI has specific, unvarying tiers that a child must move through during the intervention process. Here, entitlement is based on a significant difference in student performance compared to his/her peers. However; this “tiered system” takes much time (several weeks at each tier), whereby the testing modules used in the discrepancy method take one or two sittings and then a “score” is calculated. In this area of assessment, RTI could be viewed as having the advantage over discrepancy due to the amount of data collected over a period of extended time, rather than a test administered over one or two sittings. Discrepancy does use a standardized and globally accepted test, whereby in RTI and Problem Solving, the interventions are developed at each tier and are child specific. If RTI and Standard Treatment Protocol are used, then a “standard” and evidence based intervention occurs, which doesn’t play victim to teacher inexperience or error. In addition, RTI (with either PS or STP) provides interventions and assessments that are directly related to the area(s) of concern. That is to say, precise skills and performance are measured through interventions. Contrary to RTI, the discrepancy method entertains assessment that is often times intrinsic to the student. Also with discrepancy, there is little to no connection between the assessments and the interventions taking place. However, to identify Mental Retardation/Mentally Disabled, standardized testing must take place. In this situation, the IQ-ability score must be regarded as extremely valuable to place these students in a setting beneficial to them. RTI cannot identify MR/MD. RTI/Problem Solving Comes to NC For years educators have been concerned with appropriate and ethical identification of Learning Disabilities. These problems include: over identification, variability, specificity, conceptual considerations, discrepancy issues, early identification, and local implementation. (Scruggs & Mastropieri 2002) Therefore, states like North Carolina are trying to find resolve to these issues and are implementing change to current procedure. With the state’s adoption of this new RTI/Problem Solving model, it brings to my mind several questions and concerns. I am pleased to see change happening, however it is with baby steps that I believe we should proceed. I agree with Fuchs and Fuchs in that the RTI framework has “strong potential”, but I believe there are many questions and problems that still need to be worked out before it is implemented. Unfortunately, educators and policy makers at the state level do not think so. Here are my questions, concerns, and opinions: I am concerned with the appropriations of funding – where are the monies to fund this going to come from? Special education budgets keep getting cut even though the number of children being served continues to rise. Where and how is staff training going to take place? The four level process is very alarming due to the extensive amount of time a child can potentially be “stuck and stagnant” within a level. Moreover, a student could easily get caught in a cyclical pattern of moving back and forth from one level to another because the lack of policies and procedures to address such situations. It could easily take an entire year to place a student in an appropriate educational setting! Do we have that kind of time to waste? Also, within the Problem Solving model, who will be responsible for developing an appropriate and effective intervention? How can these interventions be created and measured for effectiveness at the same time? They can’t! Are our regular education teachers expected to be “experts” in all academic areas as well as behaviors? It worries me that inexperienced teachers will have to make critical decisions regarding a student’s instruction/intervention without the proper knowledge to do so. I believe that a combination of RTI (with PS and STP) and the discrepancy formula should be used to identify both children with learning disabilities and those “garden variety” poor readers. RTI is a useful screening tool, but not an “end-all” solution to the over, under, and misidentification problem of LD. Although it spans over a long period of time, I like the fact that RTI will “catch” students, like my Melik, who does not qualify for special education services, but needs intensive intervention. Without RTI, many of our children will continue to “slip through the cracks”. It is my hopes that with RTI and Problem Solving, that our children will receive necessary and appropriate instruction and be given the chance to succeed that they deserve. Fuchs and Fuchs summed it up quite nicely when talking about RTI’s possibility of “preventing chronic school failure that corrodes children’s spirits and diminishes all of us who work on behalf of the public schools.” (Fuchs and Fuchs 2006) We all must work together for our children.