In earlier blogs we discussed RTI and its importance to early learning and the value of universal screening and progress monitoring. In fact, as Telzrow, McNamara, and Hollinger (2000) observed, universal screening and progress monitoring within the context of RTI contribute substantially to improving student performance and reducing special education referral rates.
However, implementing RTI is often very time consuming and resource‐intensive. In many cases implementation relies on a one‐on‐one classroom assessment performed by teachers with all students. Approximately 80 percent of students will not require any more intensive monitoring and will simply continue to be screened across the year. Unfortunately, this process not only consumes instructional time, but often does not contribute meaningful data beyond the sorting function of determining who is at-risk. As critical as this information is, it is preferable to screen using methods that also provide instructionally informative data that can be put to immediate use.
The growing use of computers to assist in this process is enabling schools to regain instructional time and act on classroom assessment results more quickly. While educators will always need to put in time and effort to implement RTI, technology can ease the burden on teachers and administrators and reduce the resources necessary to support the process. Proactive and efficient computer adaptive testing and screening tools help make follow‐up interventions and one‐on‐one evaluations with at‐risk students timelier and more targeted.
Computer adaptive testing, screening and progress monitoring tools offer several advantages over individually administered and paper‐and‐pencil assessments, including:
+ Engaging computer format for students;
+ Instant scoring, reporting, and data analysis;
+ Greater breadth of content in less time through the use of adaptive technology;
+ Multiple applications of the data, such as interim growth measurement in addition to screening.
Computer adaptive testing can accomplish reliable universal screening with other benefits. Our MAP® for Primary Grades (MPG) test screens students for risk of academic difficulties while providing achievement scores along a grade-independent scale. This allows educators to accomplish two important objectives with one tool. Rather than merely showing who is at risk with each screening, MPG supports interim measurement of academic growth from kindergarten onward.
Other computer-based assessments,, such as our Children’s Progress Academic Assessment (CPAA), provide instructionally diagnostic information. CPAA directly links student performance to recommended activities that teachers can use to differentiate instruction. For many schools and districts, the use of computer‐based assessments has removed barriers to effective RTI implementation and contributed substantially to improving student performance.
We’d love to hear how your schools are leveraging technology as part of your RTI implementation, so drop a comment below.