9. RTI Success

Donyelle Kesler, writing for the Las Cruces Sun-News (2010) in New Mexico, features a cooperative program between New Mexico State University and Hatch Middle School using RTI. The focus of the reading program developed is struggling English-language learners, pupils who speak Spanish as their first language.

“When working with a struggling student whose first language is not English, it is always difficult to determine whether the student is struggling because of an innate language-learning disability or whether the struggle is due to the language difference…When students still learning English do not test at the levels expected for their grade rank, they may be placed into special education programs instead of getting the help they really need.”

The RTI three tier approach is used. Tier 3 pupils receive the special education curriculum. Emphasis is given to reading, phonological awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Teachers and Title 1 teachers must develop schedule flexibility.

“We have seen the schoolwide average reading scores go up one level and English language learners increased more within six months of using the program,[Pauline] Staski said. When we look at a bell curve of the data, we see fewer students lost ground and more students gained ground under this program.”

COMMENT

English language learners across the U. S. tend to be over-identified for special education.

http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_15052779

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