Categories for Monitoring

Are Tier 1 Interventions Being Implemented with Integrity?

December 17, 2021

At the core of any multi-tiered system of support (MTSS; e.g., School-wide positive behavior intervention or Response to Intervention) is the requirement Tier 1 or universal intervention is implemented with adequate fidelity to benefit most students.  If Tier 1 interventions are not implemented with fidelity, too many students will receive more intensive Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions.  The increased intensity of intervention will also unnecessarily strain school resources.  It is important to remember that MTSS are frameworks, and ultimately the benefit to students depends on adopting empirically-supported interventions and then implementing them well.  Without fidelity measures, it is not possible to know if failing to respond to an intervention is a problem with the intervention or poor implementation.  Often interventions are abandoned for apparent lack of effectiveness when, in fact, the intervention was not implemented with fidelity.

Fidelity is a complex construct that can be measured at different levels and different frequencies.  Each measure yields different types of information.  Until now, we have not known how researchers measured fidelity.  This situation has been partially resolved in a recent review by Bruckman et al. (2021).  Their review measured how researchers assessed treatment integrity, the frequency it was evaluated, and the level (school or individual implementer). 

Bruckman and colleagues reported that measures at the school level were reported about twice as often as at the individual level and assessed once or twice per year.  Treatment integrity measured at this level tells us how well the overall system is functioning with respect to the implementation of the intervention.  Data at this level does not indicate if all students are receiving a well-implemented intervention or if some students are not receiving the intervention as planned.  Measuring treatment integrity at the level of an individual teacher will inform if students in a particular teacher’s classroom are receiving a well-implemented intervention.  Individual-level measures are essential for data-based decision-making when determining if a student should receive more intensive services at Tier 2.  Low levels of fidelity would suggest that rather than increase the intensity of service for a student, it would be wise to invest in improving the individual teacher’s implementation of the intervention. 

Finally, Bruckman and colleagues discussed the limitations of assessing treatment integrity once or twice a year.  Such infrequent measurement does not tell us if implantation with integrity is occurring consistently or not.  The challenge of assessing more frequently is that it places a high demand on resources.  Considerably more research is required to develop effective and efficient methods for evaluating treatment integrity.


Citation for Article:

Buckman, M. M., Lane, K. L., Common, E. A., Royer, D. J., Oakes, W. P., Allen, G. E., … & Brunsting, N. C. (2021). Treatment Integrity of Primary (Tier 1) Prevention Efforts in Tiered Systems: Mapping the Literature. Education and Treatment of Children, 44(3), 145-168.



What are common criticisms expressed against data-based decision making?

July 7, 2021

Misconceptions about data-based decision making in education: An exploration of the literature. Research on data-based decision making has proliferated around the world, fueled by policy recommendations and the diverse data that are now available to educators to inform their practice. Yet, many misconceptions and concerns have been raised by researchers and practitioners. This paper surveys and synthesizes the landscape of the data-based decision-making literature to address the identified misconceptions and then to serve as a stimulus to changes in policy and practice as well as a roadmap for a research agenda.

Citation: Mandinach, E. B., & Schildkamp, K. (2021). Misconceptions about data-based decision making in education: An exploration of the literature. Studies in Educational Evaluation69, 100842.




What decision-making frameworks can enhance evidence-based decision making?

June 17, 2021

Evidence-based decision-making: A team effort toward achieving goals. Implementing evidence-based practices requires not only knowledge of various interventions and practices but also professional judgment in selecting and applying an intervention that best meets the needs of the child and the family. Previous work on decision-making in evidence-based practices has focused on describing evidence-based practices, how the identification of evidence-based practices has affected the field of education (and, specifically, special education), and strategies for implementing evidence-based practices. The next logical step is in addressing how practitioners might make decisions about how to select evidence-based practices that match strengths and needs as well as contexts for children.

Citation: McCollow, M. M., & Hoffman, H. H. (2020). Evidence-based decision-making: A team effort toward achieving goals. Young Exceptional Children23(1), 15-23.




What do we know about standardized testing?

May 19, 2021

Standardized Testing and the Controversy Surrounding It. The purpose of this paper is to provide a general understanding of standardized testing as well as the current controversy surrounding it, particularly in the context of performance-based accountability systems. The overview addresses the following questions related to standardized testing:

  • What do stakeholders need to understand about standardized testing?
  • What is the history of standardized tests and how have the tests been used?
  • What are the reasons for the current controversy over standardized testing?

Citation: Polster, P.P., Detrich, R., & States, J., (2021). Standardized Testing: The Controversy Surrounding It. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.




How can I use formative assessment to plan instruction and help students drive their own learning?

May 18, 2021

Teachers’ Essential Guide to Formative Assessment. This article offers information on how to implement formative assessments that will enhance student performance. The author defines formative assessment and highlights the benefits a teacher can expect when effectively implementing ongoing progress monitoring in the classroom. Formative assessment is defined, tips summarized to guide teachers in selecting the proper assessment tool for the task, and practical techniques for educators to consider are included for how to maximize the effectiveness of formative assessments.

Citation: Knowles, J. (2020). Teachers’ Essential Guide to Formative Assessment.




How do I effectively use formative and summative assessments in the classroom?

May 18, 2021

Playing like you practice: Formative and Summative Techniques to Assess Student Learning. This chapter offers a practical review of formative and summative assessment techniques, the evidence for their effectiveness in the classroom, and provides concrete strategies and resources for a range of classroom contexts and formats. The formative assessment techniques can be incorporated into virtually any class, in-person or online. Each of these strategies are adaptable to many different course contexts and virtually any topic. The most common form of summative assessment is the multiple-choice exam. Beyond examinations, summative assessment can involve a wide range of projects and other written assignments. At the most complex and challenging end of the spectrum of summative assessment techniques, the portfolio involves a collection of artifacts of student learning organized around a particular learning outcome.

Citation: Beers, M. J. (2020). Formative and Summative Techniques to Assess Student Learning. High impact teaching for sport and exercise psychology educators.




What Does the Research Say About Testing?

May 17, 2021

For many teachers, the image of students sitting in silence filling out bubbles, computing mathematical equations, or writing timed essays causes an intensely negative reaction. Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2002 and its 2015 update, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), every third through eighth grader in U.S. public schools now takes tests calibrated to state standards, with the aggregate results made public. In a study of the nation’s largest urban school districts, students took an average of 112 standardized tests between pre-K and grade 12. The pushback on high-stakes testing has also accelerated a national conversation about how students truly learn and retain information. This paper acknowledges the validity of teachers concerns, but discusses the need for well-designed classroom tests and quizzes and standardized exams.

Citation: Berwick, C. (2019). What Does the Research Say About Testing? Marin County, CA: Edutopia.




How can teachers effectively assess students skills when returning to school after Covid-19?

May 12, 2021

Back-to-school metrics: How to assess conditions for teaching and learning and to measure student progress during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest is featuring a blog series addressing the many challenges that educators, caregivers, and students are facing. In this post, Susan Bowles Therriault, Ed.D., a managing researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), describes school- and classroom-level metrics that administrators and teachers can use to assess teaching and learning conditions and measure student progress and engagement in a remote or hybrid learning setting. 

Citation: Therriault, S. B. (2020). Back-to-school metrics: How to assess conditions for teaching and learning and to measure student progress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regional Education Laboratory Program (REL).




What teacher prerequisites need to be in place for using formative assessment in their classroom practice?

May 12, 2021

Formative assessment: A systematic review of critical teacher prerequisites for classroom practice. Formative assessment has the potential to support teaching and learning in the classroom. This study reviewed the literature on formative assessment to identify prerequisites for effective use of formative assessment by teachers. The results show that (1) knowledge and skills (e.g., data literacy), (2), psychological factors (e.g., social pressure), and (3) social factors (e.g., collaboration) influence the use of formative assessment. The prerequisites identified can inform professional development initiatives regarding formative assessment, as well as teacher education programs.

Citation: Schildkamp, K., van der Kleij, F. M., Heitink, M. C., Kippers, W. B., & Veldkamp, B. P. (2020). Formative assessment: A systematic review of critical teacher prerequisites for classroom practice. International Journal of Educational Research, 103, 101602.




What impact does formative assessment have on inquiry skills in science instruction?

May 12, 2021

Formative Assessment As A Tool To Enhance The Development Of Inquiry Skills In Science Education. Formative assessment (FA) is considered a powerful tool to enhance learning. However, there have been few studies addressing how the implementa- tion of FA influences the development of inquiry skills so far. This research intends to determine the efficacy of teaching using FA in the development of students’ inquiry skills. 

Citation: Ganajová, M., Sotáková, I., Lukáč, S., Ješková, Z., Jurková, V., & Orosová, R. (2021). Formative Assessment As A Tool To Enhance The Development Of Inquiry Skills In Science Education. Journal of Baltic Science Education, 20(2), 204.