Over the weekend Bluff City Ed posted a piece on a buzz-worthy topic: Response to Instruction and Intervention, or RTI2. While it may look different in every district and school, RTI2 can be defined as good teaching, where students receive extra support at the first sign of struggle. In a nutshell, it’s a framework where school leaders build in time for differentiating instruction when students need extra help. James Aycock, Director of Scholar Support at Grizzlies Prep in Memphis, tells the story of how RTI2 provides the support his students need to succeed with the Common Core State Standards. Read an excerpt from this piece on Bluff City Ed below.
There’s a young man at our school – let’s call him Dedric (his name has been changed for issues of privacy) – who has always been a good student. He made good grades in elementary and was Proficient last year on the Reading/Language Arts portion of TCAP. But he’s struggling a little this year, earning a D first semester.
Dedric, you see, is having difficulty transitioning to Common Core. Language arts is much more rigorous now, with a heavy emphasis on writing and defending claims. It’s no longer enough to get the correct answer, which in itself is now more of a challenge, but you also have to explain why your answer is correct and why other options are incorrect. Textual evidence is required for every assignment, and reading passages are utilized more and are more complex.
That’s a big leap from TCAP expectations, which involved more rote memorization and multiple choice options. And that’s why Dedric went from scoring Proficient to struggling to earn a D.
For every Dedric, there are many struggling even more. Most of our incoming 6th graders scored Basic or Below Basic and were even less prepared for the increased rigor of Common Core than Dedric….
If we look at Dedric’s progress, he has grown from a late 2nd grade reading level when he entered Grizzlies Prep in August to an early 4th grade level as of December. And, even though it’s early in the new semester, Dedric now has a solid B average. Without the support offered by our RTI system, Dedric would be failing.