Chat

Chat: Implementing RTI With English-Language Learners

Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 2 p.m. Eastern time
Click here for more information about this chat.


Note: No special equipment other than Internet access is needed to participate in any of our text-based chats.

 Implementing RTI With English-Language Learners(05/05/2010) 
9:21
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
Today's chat, Implementing RTI With English-Language Learners, is open for questions. Please start submitting them now.

The chat will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Thank you for joining us.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 9:21 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
2:00
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Welcome, everyone. I write about English-language learners for Education Week and will be your moderator today. I'll let our two guests introduce themselves to you. Jana, will you go first? And then Doug.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:00 Mary Ann Zehr
2:01
Jana Echevarria: 
Sure, welcome everyone. I have been researching issues around instruction for ELs including those with LD for almost 30 years.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:01 Jana Echevarria
2:01
Doug Fisher: 
Hi . . . This is Doug Fisher. I'm Professor of Language and Literacy Education in the Department of Teacher Education at San Diego State University and a classroom teacher at Health Sciences High & Middle College.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:01 Doug Fisher
2:01
Mary Ann Zehr: 
We already have a lot of good questions, so let's get started. Jana, please take this next question about core literacy instruction.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:01 Mary Ann Zehr
2:01
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
What do you consider best practice for ELLs in core literacy instruction? (Tier 1 strategies, methods and materials)
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:01 Guest
2:03
Jana Echevarria: 
This is an area that is of interest to lots of schools. The basic components of any literacy program need to include opportunities for ELs to practice using academic language in meaningful ways
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:03 Jana Echevarria
2:03
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Doug, and one for you about implementation...
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:03 Mary Ann Zehr
2:03
[Comment From KayKay: ] 
My elementary school is in the very beginning stages of implementing RTI. I have been told that the ESL pull-out class for ELL students should be considered as part of the Tier I level. Is that correct? Or is that part of Tier II?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:03 Kay
2:04
Jana Echevarria: 
Also, instruction should be linked to studnets' background experiences and knowledge to make it meaningful and relevant for them, increasing comprehension.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:04 Jana Echevarria
2:04
Doug Fisher: 
I think that there are lots of ways to strengthen the core program for English learners. I think of supplemental, however, as additional small group guided instruction.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:04 Doug Fisher
2:04
Doug Fisher: 
During that guided instruction, I think that the intervention teacher should question, prompt, and cue such that errors and misconceptions are addressed.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:04 Doug Fisher
2:05
Doug Fisher: 
So, Kay (2:03) I tend to agree that unless there is something very systematic going on with the intervention as part of the ESL, it's probably additional core instruction (Tier 1) and not supplemental intervention (Tier 2).
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:05 Doug Fisher
2:05
Mary Ann Zehr: 
And one for you, Jana, asking for the basics...
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:05 Mary Ann Zehr
2:05
[Comment From DanielleDanielle: ] 
How does this work?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:05 Danielle
2:07
Jana Echevarria: 
@Kay, the strength of RTI is that it is geared to meet the needs of each student. For English learners, ESL or ELD instruction is critical to thier academic success. It would be part of Tier 1 instruction. Tier 2 intervention is to develop the literacy skills the student lacks. Certainly additional ESL would be advisable but would not in and of itself be considered a TIer 2 intervention. ESL can be provided at all 3 tiers.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:07 Jana Echevarria
2:07
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Danielle also has a more specific question. For you, Doug.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:07 Mary Ann Zehr
2:07
[Comment From DanielleDanielle: ] 
What progress monitoring tools are successful with ELLs regarding RtI interventions?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:07 Danielle
2:09
Doug Fisher: 
It depends, in part, on the age of the student. I use oral language observation tools, encoding inventories, writing samples with analytic scores, and some basic literacy inventories.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:09 Doug Fisher
2:09
Jana Echevarria: 
@Danielle, the way it works is to make sure that research-based practices are included in every lesson. In our work with the SIOP Model, we have found that using the features in planning and delivery of instruction improves student achievement.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:09 Jana Echevarria
2:09
Doug Fisher: 
There are specifics for each of these, such as noting correct word pairs, which has been demonstrated to be an effective curriculum based measure with adolescents.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:09 Doug Fisher
2:10
Mary Ann Zehr: 
I've had conversations with both of you about how, with implementing RTI for ELLs, it's important to focus on improving the core instruction for ELLs above all. Would each of you weigh in on this?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:10 Mary Ann Zehr
2:10
Doug Fisher: 
Yes, English learners need, deserve, quality core instruction. I think that core instruction has to be based on a gradual release of responsibility framework and include significant feed-forward events (rather than all feedback).
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:10 Doug Fisher
2:11
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Doug. Give us a bit more about "gradual release of responsibility." Not everyone may be familiar with that phrase.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:11 Mary Ann Zehr
2:12
Jana Echevarria: 
Sure. It has been said that if TIer 1 instruction was super effective, there might not even be a need for the other Tiers. If there are a lot of ELs being referred to Tier 2 and 3 for intervention, a site team would need to take a good look at what is happening at TIer 1.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:12 Jana Echevarria
2:12
Doug Fisher: 
It came from P. David Pearson and his colleagues and essentially means that we plan instruction that transfers responsibility from the teacher doing all of the work to students taking responsibility. There are a number of different implementation models for this idea, including the one we've been developing.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:12 Doug Fisher
2:13
Mary Ann Zehr: 
OK, now that we've talked about core instruction, here's a question for you, Doug, about Tier 2 programs.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:13 Mary Ann Zehr
2:13
[Comment From Angela WhiteAngela White: ] 
What effective Tier 2 programs do you recommend? What assessments do you recommend for comprehesion and should it be in their native language? How do we provide ESL classes, universal core instruction, and Tier 2 services?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:13 Angela White
2:13
Doug Fisher: 
It is a popular phrase, but we have to dig a bit deeper to see how intentional the transfer of responsibility really is. Our model includes establishing purpose, modeling, guided instruction, productive group work, and independent tasks.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:13 Doug Fisher
2:15
Doug Fisher: 
Angela - I'm not sure that I can really recommend a specific program. My research and implementation efforts have focused on teachers implementing feed-forward instruction based on guided instruction.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:15 Doug Fisher
2:16
Mary Ann Zehr: 
And Doug, here's a complication with Tier 2. Any ideas?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:16 Mary Ann Zehr
2:16
[Comment From LIndaLInda: ] 
My building has fully implemented RTI to provide interventions for students and to identify for special education. This year, many ELL students have made it to tier 3. I need to know what other districts are doing.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:16 LInda
2:17
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Sorry, I meant Tier 3.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:17 Mary Ann Zehr
2:17
Doug Fisher: 
Linda - if the students are making progress, we wouldn't refer them for special education assessment. If they aren't making progress, we'd go back and examine the response to core, supplemental, and intensive.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:17 Doug Fisher
2:17
Jana Echevarria: 
If you don't mind, I'll jump in @ Anglea. I would recommend looking at the website on progress monitoring at studentprogress.org. They recommend assessments. When possible, studnets should be given the opportunity to express their knowledge in their native language to give a complete picture.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:17 Jana Echevarria
2:17
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Jana, what does RTI look like at the secondary level? Here's a question for you.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:17 Mary Ann Zehr
2:17
Doug Fisher: 
Linda - I have made the case for Tier 3 being 1:1 for at least 30 minutes three times per week. It's not a program, but intense access to expertise.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:17 Doug Fisher
2:18
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
How is RTI implemented in secondary schools?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:18 Guest
2:18
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Yes. fine to jump in. Here's the secondary ed question.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:18 Mary Ann Zehr
2:20
Doug Fisher: 
At my school, it's much the same as has been discussed already. The one difference is that grades are based on competency assessments (not a collection of homework, classwork, and participation). When students do not pass the competency, they receive tutoring to re-take it. We notice students at risk early and often with this system.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:20 Doug Fisher
2:21
Jana Echevarria: 
Ok, Re: secondary. There hasn't been as much research on secondary programs but we certainly can't postpone services. A this point, schools are implementing the 3 tier model with intervention scheduled as a class period. Remember, though, that this is a recursive process, in that studnets move in and out of tiers as needed. We don't want students missing out on electives and "stuck" in an intervention longer than what the progress monitoring data would justify.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:21 Jana Echevarria
2:22
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Here's an interesting question on the role of the ESL specialist. Jana, please weigh in.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:22 Mary Ann Zehr
2:22
[Comment From Victoria BaldwinVictoria Baldwin: ] 
What should be the role of the ESL specialist in implementing interventions?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:22 Victoria Baldwin
2:26
Jana Echevarria: 
@ Victoria, the role of the ESL specialist may be expanded within RTI. As I mentioned previously, ESL services would continue in all tiers, if needed, and the specialist might even co-teach with the intervention teacher. Collaboration is key in RTI so the ESL specialist would also be included in the site team helping interpret data and providing information about second language acquisition.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:26 Jana Echevarria
2:26
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Here's a question that goes back to something earlier in the chat, Doug, that you spoke about.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:26 Mary Ann Zehr
2:26
[Comment From SariSari: ] 
Define feed-forward events?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:26 Sari
2:28
Doug Fisher: 
Feed-forward is planning instruction based on student performance, rather than just providing students feed-back on their performance. It's taking action on assessment data, on a continuous basis. It's making sure that our interventions are based on student need, not a program that we're working through.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:28 Doug Fisher
2:28
Mary Ann Zehr: 
We've gotten a lot of questions asking for more elaboration on feed forward. Could you give a couple of examples?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:28 Mary Ann Zehr
2:29
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Meanwhile, a comment on secondary ed.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:29 Mary Ann Zehr
2:29
[Comment From Merryl KravitzMerryl Kravitz: ] 
At Secondary, though, some competencies are very hard to measure. For example, how do you assess a high school student weighing the various reasons that the US didn't jump into WWII sooner? How will you assess and remediate that?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:29 Merryl Kravitz
2:31
Doug Fisher: 
Sure, I just read through a pile of student essays this AM. Instead of writing all over them, I made more global comments back to students and created an error sheet. I listed errors, such as verb agreement, mid-sentence capitalization, etc. and listed the initials of students who made that error in that period. My next interaction with them will be based on my error sheet. If I had spent that time writing on their papers with feedback, I would have to assume that they could do it by themselves and figure how to to improve next time.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:31 Doug Fisher
2:31
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Jana, more to say about secondary for Merryl?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:31 Mary Ann Zehr
2:33
Doug Fisher: 
Re: competencies. Right now in World History, the students are working on a French Revolution competency. It's a 20-page graphic novel created by the student based on specific expectations. We look for errors that we can then correct.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:33 Doug Fisher
2:33
Jana Echevarria: 
RE: Merryl, it is important to remember that the purpose of RTI is to provide instruction to students in critical literacy and math skills that are used across content areas, e.g., comprehension. It is not used so that students can meet specific standards. The idea is that, through intervention, students will develop those skills that will help them to meet standards and understand concepts like you mentioned. Assessment of specific standards would be part of general education teaching.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:33 Jana Echevarria
2:34
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Here's a question about students who have different kinds of learning needs. I'll let you both weigh in.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:34 Mary Ann Zehr
2:34
[Comment From LoisLois: ] 
Have you observed times when a student's special needs far outweigh 2nd language needs? What criteria would be documented if the student is better served through Sped. programs? State language tests sometimes keep individuals testing in as LEP for many years because of their disability. What is your experience and advice?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:34 Lois
2:35
Doug Fisher: 
As Jana noted, RtI is about skills, which we can identify through our competencies. It's nuanced, but important to identify which students are not responding to the instruction and then intervention.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:35 Doug Fisher
2:36
Jana Echevarria: 
@ one more thing about Merryl's secondary question. Doug just gave a perfect example of how assessment of standards and ideas are handled in Tier 1 or general education. Again, we need to provide effective tier 1 instruction and not depend on interventions to "fix" struggling students.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:36 Jana Echevarria
2:39
Doug Fisher: 
@ Lois. I'm not sure that I fully understand the question, but here's part of my thinking. As long as students are getting quality core instruction and interventions, I'd try to keep them out of special education. If the student requires accommodations and/or modifications, then special education may be necessary.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:39 Doug Fisher
2:41
Jana Echevarria: 
@Lois, yes, there are ELs who clearly have learning difficulties that cannot be explained by language differences. The prevalence rate of LD and other disabilities would be about the same for ELs and English speakers. Special education services should be provided when warranted and a student may continue to be designated as LEP. Sometimes LD can interfere with language learning so it isn't surprising that some students would test as LEP for longer than non-LD studnets. However, those students are entitled to appropriate special education services regardless of language proficiency.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:41 Jana Echevarria
2:41
Mary Ann Zehr: 
I'm still sensing some confusion out there between the English-as-a-second-language instruction and the interventions of RTI. Here's a question that points to the confusion. Jana, could you outline how the two interact please?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:41 Mary Ann Zehr
2:41
[Comment From Mirla PuelloMirla Puello: ] 
Should begining ESL students receive ESL or Tier 2 intervention?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:41 Mirla Puello
2:44
Doug Fisher: 
As a profession, we've talked a lot about over-representation in special education. Interestingly, in many places, there is evidence that there is under-representation of English learners in special education but over-representation of African-Americans in special education. As Jana noted, English learners are entitled to appropriate supports and services. We just need to be sure that we get the right students into those services.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:44 Doug Fisher
2:47
Jana Echevarria: 
@Mirla. This is a common area of confusion, mainly because educators tend to view programs as separate entities. RTI is an opportunity to bring together all of a school's resources to best serve the student. That said, a beginning EL who is not making progress at the expected rate - slower than peers with similar language background, should receive Tier 2 intervention in the literacy areas that progress monitoring reveals. We DO NOT want to wait until a student is proficient in English before offering needed literacy support. A beginning EL would receive ESL to develop language and Tier 2 literacy intervention to learn reading. Tier 2 intervention should be delivered in a way that reflects best practice for ELs so they understand the teacher and can be successful in the intervention.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:47 Jana Echevarria
2:48
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Cindy also weighs in on this.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:48 Mary Ann Zehr
2:48
[Comment From Cindy HovisCindy Hovis: ] 
A beginning ESL student should receive ESL services and some Tier 1 interventions.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:48 Cindy Hovis
2:49
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Jana, what do you think about the "some Tier 1 interventions" in Cindy's comment? I don't think it's exactly what you're saying, right?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:49 Mary Ann Zehr
2:50
Jana Echevarria: 
CIndy, I like to consider Tier 1 modifications and accommodations that "good teachers" do, just to keep the terms straight. Tier 2 and 3 are interventions, targeted to specific skills. Does that make sense??
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:50 Jana Echevarria
2:50
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Do either of you have ideas to help Deb?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:50 Mary Ann Zehr
2:50
[Comment From Deb MilnerDeb Milner: ] 
You mentioned studentprogress.org as a site for progress monitoring tools, but most of the tools mentioned there are about isolated skills. None is about oral language development and not many are about comprehension. Are there any other tools that can be used?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:50 Deb Milner
2:52
Jana Echevarria: 
RE: ESL, the bottom line is that students should receive both ESL services and targeted Tier 2 interventions as complementary services. It isn't one or the other because sturggling readers need intervention but also need to develop their English proficiency.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:52 Jana Echevarria
2:52
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Doug. A question with your name on it.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:52 Mary Ann Zehr
2:52
[Comment From JessicaJessica: ] 
So Doug, are the students given a rubric when writing? Do they know what you are looking for?
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:52 Jessica
2:54
Doug Fisher: 
Tools: I like MAZE (http://www.fcrr.org/assessmentMiddleHighSchool.htm) and analytic writing (http://rse.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/30/6/360)
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:54 Doug Fisher
2:54
Doug Fisher: 
@ Jessica. Yes, they have a rubric and I have written in front of them as part of my modeling. I write every essay that they do - mine is done as a think aloud and i plan and revise in front of them.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:54 Doug Fisher
2:55
Mary Ann Zehr: 
And, on that tools question, help from a reader:
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:55 Mary Ann Zehr
2:55
[Comment From JenJen: ] 
interventioncentral.com has several resources that could be used for finding different intervention methods for all students, and could be modified for ELLs as well
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:55 Jen
2:56
Jana Echevarria: 
@Deb, none of the assessments are perfect and there are others underdevelopment. Some districts have taken existing tools and normed them on their own populations to make them more usable.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:56 Jana Echevarria
2:57
Mary Ann Zehr: 
We're almost out of time. We've juggled a lot of topics. Please, each of you sign off with something you'd like to stress about RTI and ELLs.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:57 Mary Ann Zehr
2:58
Doug Fisher: 
@ Deb. And I was just thinking about the peer groups - for our intervention efforts we think about "true peers" not a random group of students. As Jana noted, we can re-norm some tools to get a sense of which students really do need supplemental intervention.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 2:58 Doug Fisher
3:00
Doug Fisher: 
If students aren't receiving quality core instruction, supplemental and intensive interventions are going to make up the slack. We should always start our RTI efforts with an analysis of the instruction students are receiving and not just assume that the student needs intervention.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 3:00 Doug Fisher
3:00
Jana Echevarria: 
The message when working with ELs is to be sure to consider their language and cultural background as data are interpreted instructional decisions are made. Effective Tier 1 instruction for ELs is the key to effective RTI because then those students who receive interventions are truly the ones who need it. Thanks for joining us -- hope it was helpful.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 3:00 Jana Echevarria
3:01
Doug Fisher: 
Thank you all . . . Email if you have more questions. Doug (dfisher@mail.sdsu.edu)
Wednesday May 5, 2010 3:01 Doug Fisher
3:02
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Thank you for all the concrete answers. Thank you, readers, for some great questions.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 3:02 Mary Ann Zehr
3:02
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
Thanks again to our guests, and thanks to Mary Ann Zehr for moderating today's chat, Implementing RTI With English-Language Learners. A printable transcript of today's chat will be available on this same page within 24 hours.

Make sure to check out other upcoming Education Week chats at www.edweek.org/go/chats.
Wednesday May 5, 2010 3:02 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
3:02
Jana Echevarria: 
One last point is that fidelity is critical for quality implementation of instruction/intervnetion at all tiers. Please feel free to contact me at jechev@csulb.edu
Wednesday May 5, 2010 3:02 Jana Echevarria
3:03
 

 
 
 

Implementing RTI With English-Language Learners

Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 2 p.m. Eastern time


Response to intervention, which provides extra help to struggling students with the aim of reducing the number of referrals to special education, is an instructional approach catching on across the country. Mr. Fisher works as a consultant to Chula Vista Elementary School District in Chula Vista, Calif., helping to shape that school’s cutting-edge adaptation of RTI for English-language learners, or ELLs. Ms. Echevarria, a longstanding special education expert, has also been studying the implementation of RTI among ELLs. Our guests had an in-depth discussion of how and how well RTI can be used to address the specific needs of ELL students.

Guests:
Douglas Fisher, Professor of Education and Director of Professional Development, San Diego State University
Jana Echevarria, Professor Emerita of Education, California State University, Long Beach
Mary Ann Zehr, Assistant Editor, Education Week, moderated this chat.

Related Story:

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.
The Fine Print

All questions are screened by an edweek.org editor prior to posting. A question is not displayed until the moderator poses it to the guest(s). Due to the volume of questions received, we cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered, or answered in the order of submission. Guests and hosts may decline to answer any questions. Concise questions are strongly encouraged.

Please be sure to include your name when posting your question.

Edweek.org's Live Chat is an open forum where readers can participate in a give- and-take discussion with a variety of guests. Edweek.org reserves the right to condense or edit questions for clarity, but editing is kept to a minimum. Transcripts may also be reproduced in some form in our print edition. We do not correct errors in spelling, punctuation, etc. In addition, we remove statements that have the potential to be libelous or to slander someone. Please read our privacy policy and user agreement if you have questions.

—Chat Editors

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented