The Response to Intervention (RTI) framework is helping change the way schools approach intervention and remediation. Guided reading instructional programs and assessments such as Leveled Literacy Intervention and the Benchmark Assessment System have embedded features to enable their use in the RTI framework. Below are answers to some typical questions about using the LLI and BAS guided reading programs in RTI systems. For more information about using guided reading instruction to support the Response to Intervention framework, please see the following:
Questions about using guided reading instructional programs for Response to Intervention:
Question: How does the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System address RTI compliance?
Answer: With the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System, you can monitor reading level three times each year. This assessment will yield level (with equivalent grade levels), accuracy, fluency, and detailed information and scores on comprehension. This system has been extensively field tested. You can have students complete a writing prompt to further assess comprehension. You can use optional assessments to monitor progress in phonemic awareness, phonics, letter learning, and high frequency word knowledge. You can establish expectations in each of these areas based on your own district's requirements. A grid is currently in development to establish criteria for each grade level, beginning, middle, and end.
Question: We are looking very seriously at purchasing the Benchmark Assessment System for our K - 8 grade teachers (198 total), however, I was curious as to how/if other school districts are using these materials for bi-weekly progress monitoring. (RTI Tier 3) Since the materials are limited in regards to repetitive assessment, would the results gleaned from using these assessments 2x/month be valid? I look forward to your response.
Answer: You would not want to use the Benchmark Assessment System as often as every two weeks. You can, however, select Optional Assessments included in BAS which can provide valuable diagnostic information. On this website, you will find Instructional Level Expectation Charts that will be useful for RtI progress monitoring. Another strategy is to take regular reading records using leveled books. You can take these records as a regular, integral part of small group instruction or intervention groups.
The schedule below indicates the way one school district has made this practice operational. Optional assessments could vary by grade level. For example, K and Grade 1 students could use Phonemic Awareness, Letter Knowledge, Word Writing, and High Frequency Word Recognition. Older readers could use assessments like the Word Features Assessment.
Week 1 -- Full Benchmark Assessment system, including text-reading level and selected optional assessments (four selected)
Week 2 -- Text reading level using any leveled book
Week 3 -- BAS Optional Assessments #1 and #2
Week 4 -- Text reading level using any leveled book
Week 5 -- BAS Optional Assessments #3 and #4
Week 6 -- Text reading level using any leveled book
Week 7 -- BAS Optional Assessments #1 and #2
Week 8 -- Text reading level using any leveled book
Week 9 -- BAS Optional Assessments #3 and #4
Week 10 -- Text reading level using any leveled book
Week 11 -- BAS Optional Assessments #1 and #2
Week 12 -- Text Reading Level using any leveled book
Week 13 -- BAS Optional Assessments #3 and #4
Week 14 -- Benchmark Assessment Text Reading Level
Question: We are already implementing LLI. Some of our teachers are questioning the idea of doing the informal running records on children after they have read the book previously. They are used to doing the DRA with children on a cold read. Could you share the philosophy behind doing the assessments after children have read the book?
Answer: Tools like our Benchmark Assessment System and ongoing progress monitoring (running records) are similar procedures with two different purposes.
Benchmark Assessment is conducted at specific intervals throughout the school year (e.g., beginning, middle, end of year). It is always conducted in a highly standardized way and the results are recorded. These results provide a starting point for instruction and also measure achievement over time. Reading records are taken on a first reading of a previously unseen text, with a highly standardized introduction. This reading provides a very conservative estimate of what a child can do without teaching.
Ongoing running records (or reading records as we use them in LLI) are taken at regular intervals as an integral part of instruction. They provide an assessment of a child’s performance on the second reading of a text. We would expect a child to demonstrate more effective reading on a level after he has experienced teaching and a first reading. This gives us an ongoing check on what we are teaching him to do as a reader. It informs ongoing teaching as well. So, the teacher is getting immediate feedback on the effectiveness of her teaching. She is always working for greater and greater independence so that the student will ultimately demonstrate those effective behaviors on higher levels during Benchmark Assessment.
Both are standardized, and both provide information about reading behaviors and the appropriateness of the level. Ongoing running records have the additional value of showing us what the reader can do with teaching. Often, the teacher is working on the child`s benchmark tested instructional level and finds that on the second reading, the child is demonstrating accuracy and comprehension as if this is the independent level. That, in fact, is what we want. The teaching has made the difference--making it possible for the child to be an extremely proficient reader on a level that would be a little harder without the teaching.
Question: We are looking to successfully implement RTI while philosophically maintaining the balanced literacy approach--being sure to continue to place value on all areas of reading. Will the new LLI system allow for intervention as well as weekly progress monitoring that can be shown as data?
Answer: LLI is an intervention system. It is designed to be used with readers who need extra help to learn to read up to level N (first part of grade 3). It can be used with any kind of literacy curriculum, but it is certainly compatible with a balanced approach since each 30-minute lesson includes a great deal of reading continuous texts (really good books!), phonics/word study, and writing about reading. There is an intensive focus on teaching comprehension, but you will also find daily phonics lessons. In the guide you will find plans for implementing LLI within a layered, comprehensive literacy curriculum. Teachers use lesson guides with 300 specifically designed lessons to guide teaching. The system has a Data Management CD that makes it easy to track progress. Students` scores on text reading would be taken and record every 6 days (for a group of 3). You will also be advised on "check up" assessment of phonics skills and word knowledge. Please take a look at the RTI Charts we’ve developed for further information on this subject.
Question: It seems like this system fits best as a Tier I intervention. In the field study districts that implement an RtI model, at which tier(s) did they implement the program? Are there different implementation guidelines/suggestions for different tiers?
Answer: LLI can be implemented as a Tier 1, 2, or 3 intervention and various school districts have made their plans in different ways. A classroom teacher can provide more intensive small group instruction with LLI. The most common use is as a supplementary tier two or three intervention as it involves close diagnostic work for the short term. You will find many RTI documents on this website so you can review various options.
Question: I have a question about the grade-level specific Expectations for reading charts for the Benchmark Assessment System. The charts show, for each grade level, in the Fall, Winter and Spring, which Tier (1, 2 or 3) students would fall under based on their scores on several assessments (leveled text, Word Features tests, etc.). What information were these levels based on? Is there any data available about what percentage of students in a grade are likely to fall in Tier 1, 2 or 3? More information on the development of these charts would be useful, as we would like to use this data to implement RTI in our schools.
Answer: Beginning and ending grade level expectations are based on typical levels at each time period. They are consistent with state standards. If they are met, then student should be assured of making adequate progress across grades. (Note, that text levels are based not only on accuracy but on satisfactory comprehension.) Expectations at time points within grade levels have been created for the purposes of RTI monitoring. They provide a guide for constantly checking to see whether students are making satisfactory progress towards the end-of-year goal. This progress monitoring gives the teacher information on when and how much intervention might be needed. The percentage of students at each tier will vary greatly depending on the overall achievement in the school. We do not have numbers because of this variation. However, your expectation should be that when you have excellent classroom instruction and layers of effective interventions in place, about 80% of the students will fall into tier 1; that is; they will make sufficient progress with good classroom instruction. About 20% would need intervention (possibly a choice of several tier 2 interventions); and only about 5% would need intensive tier 3 interventions. When you are initially developing your literacy program, you may find many more students needing intervention. As you work together over time, you should find that the percentages change.
Question: Am I correct in understanding that these LLI kits were developed to use for Tier 2 & 3 instruction, not for classroom teachers to use for Tier 1?
Answer: LLI was designed to supplement good classroom teaching. This intervention can serve to close the achievement gap and bring children to grade level because they are getting something extra. Your district can decide how to use it as supplementary, intensive support for the children below grade level. Many schools use it for tier 2 or 3, though some schools have managed to provide coverage for the classroom teacher to provide extra lessons beyond the regular classroom instruction before school, after school, or even during the day while someone else works with the other children.