Profiles in Partnership: An Illinois school finds success in early intervention using MAP

Profiles in Partnership: An Illinois school finds success in early intervention using MAP George Oslovich has worked in Illinois schools for 30 years as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent. He now serves as assistant superintendent of the Woodstock School District 200, serving 6,500 students in pre-K through high school, in a 44% low-income community about an hour northwest of Chicago. He is justifiably proud of the results of the district’s Response to Intervention (RTI) program, where the Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) assessment is a core component.

The 3 Tiers of the RTI Framework

As defined by the National Center for Learning Disabilities, RTI is “a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs.” The model provides three tiers of interventional:

  • Tier 1: Students are identified as at risk through regular screenings, and are given additional instruction and support through proven instructional strategies.
  • Tier 2: More intensive and targeted interventions are available for students who do not make progress through Tier 1 measures.
  • Tier 3: Students who do not make significant progress in Tier 2 are given individualized instruction focused on specific areas for growth. At this point, students who fail to improve are evaluated for eligibility for special education services.

IMAGE: RTI tiered support is balanced by assessment to identify student needs and collaborative problem-solving processes to ensure success. (source: ASCD)

Identifying Struggling Students Early with MAP

Woodstock uses MAP, a computer adaptive assessment that precisely identifies student achievement and growth over time, as a fundamental component of its RTI program for students in grades 2-8. The results of MAP assessments administered in the fall are used as a universal screener, the first step to identify students who qualify for intervention. MAP is approved by RTI4Success for this purpose.

“Using MAP data to substantiate our RTI framework helped staff understand the value of early interventions for student learning,” said Oslovich, describing the success of RTI in one Woodstock elementary school with a 60% free and reduced lunch student population. “It gave them a stable scale of reference about student learning and progress. Not only have their students made tremendous growth, teachers are able to be specific with parents about what that means and how parents can support learning that is happening in school at home.”

Checking Progress Mid-Year and Preparing for the Future

Woodstock administers MAP three times each school year. The first administration serves as the universal screener, and helps all teachers understand where each student is on his or her learning journey. The later administrations play a key role as well. In fact, he learned just how important mid-year testing is to Woodstock teachers when Oslovich proposed that the district forgo MAP winter testing to streamline testing. Woodstock teachers refused to give up the mid-year MAP results. They rely on those results to identify which instructional strategies were helping students make progress in their learning. For Woodstock, mid-year testing provides a vital indicator of student progress while there is still plenty of time to adjust interventions.

Looking further ahead, Oslovich sees additional value in MAP as the district prepares for changes in the state summative accountability test. Since MAP is aligned to standards and measures achievement regardless of whether a student is performing at, above, or below grade level, Woodstock’s educators have a stable scale for information about student learning. It will enable them to continue driving results through early intervention, and ultimately prepare each student for success in high school and beyond.