SRBI in the Classroom

The importance of providing high quality, scientifically-based instruction and interventions.

When I attended school some of my peers were promoted from grade to grade despite not meeting academic expectations. I recall some students failing all their classes, receiving no interventions, and annually promoted to the next grade level.

Federal laws have instructed schools to focus more on helping all children learn by addressing problems earlier, before a student falls too far behind. These laws include the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004. Both laws highlight the importance of providing high quality, scientifically-based instruction and interventions (SRBI), and hold schools accountable for the progress of all students in terms of meeting grade level standards.

SRBI is the practice of providing high-quality instruction/intervention matched to the individual students’ needs and using learning rate over time and level of performance to make educational decisions. SRBI seeks to eliminate a “wait to fail” situation since students can get help promptly within the general education setting.

Core curriculums are analyzed through universal common assessments which determine the percentage of students that are and are not meeting benchmarks. Universal Screening is a step taken by school personnel to determine which students are “at risk” for not meeting grade level standards. Universal Screening can be accomplished by reviewing recent results of state tests, or by administering an academic screening test to all children in a given grade level. Those students whose test scores fall below a certain cut-off are identified as needing more specialized academic interventions.

SRBI refers to specific curriculum and educational interventions that have been proven to be effective as reported in scientific, peer-reviewed journals. The SRBI framework has three “tiers.” Each tier provides differing kinds and degrees of support.

Tier 1. Differentiation of instruction is essential to address the wide range of achievement levels that can be found in any classroom. Differentiation of instruction is an approach to teaching that emphasizes ways to meet the varying needs of a group of students rather than a reliance on a “one size fits all” approach that expects all students to accommodate to a single style of teaching. The essential components are; monitoring and measurement of student progress in response to the instruction and interventions; and use of these measures of student progress to shape instruction and make educational decisions. The use of flexible small groups can help in this differentiation, with various groupings providing opportunities for additional practice or explicit instruction in specific areas.

Tier II. Students who fail to attain important benchmarks despite adequate differentiation of instruction, receive Tier II interventions. Interventions must be research‐based, and accurately target the student’s area(s) of difficulty. These interventions are supplemental to the core academic instruction that is delivered in the classroom by the teacher or other specialists. These interventions do not replace core instruction, and do not remove responsibility for the child’s learning from the classroom teacher; rather, students receive support both in Tier I and Tier II. If appropriately matched to individual student’s needs and implemented with fidelity, interventions should result in growth for most students receiving Tier II interventions. Interventions can occur on a one‐to‐one basis or with small groups of students (e.g., four to six) who exhibit the same pattern of difficulty and who are functioning at similar levels.

Tier III. For students making inadequate progress with Tier II interventions, intensification of intervention is implemented. Educators also may consider different, more specialized interventions in some cases. The key difference between Tier II and Tier III interventions involves the intensity and/or individualization of the intervention. Greater intensity of intervention can be achieved with a smaller teacher‐student ratio (e.g., no more than one teacher to three students), a longer duration of instruction (e.g., an hour daily versus 30‐45 minutes three to four times per week in Tier II), and more frequent progress monitoring.

The hallmarks of effective home-school collaboration include open communication and involvement of parents in all stages of the learning process. There are many specific issues that must be addressed in order to effectively implement SRBI approaches. Schools must be prepared to offer a variety of proven instructional strategies; staff must be trained to measure student performance using methods that are sensitive to small increments of growth; parents must be kept informed of these new procedures and made partners in the process. 

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Robin Bassett November 16, 2011 at 08:14 PM
Is this a set-up for something similar to rubric that will be quietly woven into our programs next year? Please, no. I know Monroe likes to be on the cutting edge of things, and that no-child-left behind places alot of outside pressure on the system, but there are so many good reasons why traditional learning is still great. For parents of high-achievers, this would be horrendous. Their children will get completely homogenized. The application of rubric and SBRI (which smell very much the same) outright accomplishes goals from a metrics standpoint - congratulations for sailing through state mandates with flying colors. BUT - there are two things that I continuously ask Monroe Adminstration to consider. 1) real-life, grown-up jobs and opportunities don't cater. Companies aren't philanthropic or academic-minded when it comes to productivity. In real-life, most jobs are performance based, judging quality of productivity. And, most professional jobs aren't protected by a union. Everything is performance-based. employers don't care that it takes one person longer to learn something and they will not cater to it. 2) we completely lose sight of strong performers. They tend to 'blend in' without any incentive to maintain high standards because there are no more high standards, only loose assessments and brackets. Tell me this isn't creeping into the middle and high schools and I'll sleep well!
Mother of 2 and a voter! November 17, 2011 at 01:21 AM
Thank you for this information Dr. Vaglivelo. SRBI and other initiatives are in place to benefit all students. High-achievers have incentives - honors and high honors, class rank, access to AP courses as well as intrinsic motivation. These students will certainly continue to achieve in "performance based" professions just as they do in school. Rubrics and SRBI are being used in many places and are not considered to be cutting edge. Monroe needs to continue doing a great job in educating all of its students.
Ride the lightning November 17, 2011 at 05:15 PM
SRBI is federally mandated and has been in effect for a few years. It operates at all levels of a school system. "Traditional" teaching has been replaced with differentiated instruction. All students benefit from differentiated instruction, whereas "traditional" teaching teaches to the middle and leaves all those not in the middle behind.
Robin Bassett November 21, 2011 at 01:00 PM
Oh boy!


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