The same tenets that underlie “response to intervention” for elementary school students can be adapted for children ages 3 to 5, researchers told congressional staff aides at a meeting on Capitol Hill last week.
Response to intervention is an educational framework in which students get increasingly intense interventions based on their performance on screening tests.
“Recognition and response” is a systematic program for educating preschoolers developed by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Recognition and response refers to a teacher’s ability to recognize early learning difficulties in a preschool child, and respond to them with scientifically based instruction.
Both systems referred to “tiered” levels of instruction, in which most children are served in the general curriculum, but students with special needs are pulled into small groups for more directed work aimed at meeting their specific needs.
The challenge is in finding appropriate screening tests for such young children, as well as the right instruction to use with them. However, there have been promising results with children in Georgia and Arizona, through a recognition-and-response program there, researchers said at last week’s meeting.
Teachers are used to gathering information on their young students, but they don’t always know what to do with what they have, said Virginia Buysse, a senior scientist at the institute and a co-author of a 2006 paper on recognition and response.
“We think we’ll help teachers become better,” she said.
The New York City-based National Council for Learning Disabilities organized the Jan. 30 briefing, in part to underscore its other priorities for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. The group would like to see universal developmental screening for young children, so that early-literacy or cognitive difficulties can be addressed early.
A version of this article appeared in the February 06, 2008 edition of Education Week