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  • We are morally and legally obligated to continue to provide intervention (and therefore NOT refer for a formal evaluation) as long as students adequately "respond" to intervention.
  • In terms of calculating an adequate response or appropriate growth, we advocate collaboratively identifying what the target is (WCPM, sounds correct per minute, independent reading level, etc.) and when it is reasonable for this target to be reached (24 months, 18 months, 18 weeks, etc.). Once these two numbers are determined, it's a math problem. Where is the child now, and what would be the corresponding weekly progress. This can then be used to compare actual weekly, biweekly, or monthly growth to appropriate growth. e.g., 

The target for a third grader's end of the year ORF is 110

Given the student's specific behavioral, social, familial, and reading needs, the team agrees that 18 weeks will be necessary for the student to meet this target.

This third grade student is currently reading 56 wcpm on a third grade passage.

Given the math (110-56)/18), appropriate growth would be 3 words per week.

What if it is determined that a third grader will realistically require 18 months to reach the level of "normal" peers.

  • We would recommend that the team consider the fourth grade goal - approx. 124 wcpm (on a fourth grade passage, recognizing that this kiddo's current independent reading level may be first or second grade)
  • Given the math (124-54/18), appropriate growth would be 3.8 words per month (again, respecting that the passage-level expectations will be increasing).

Two final thoughts...I ask our teams to consider (if not explicitly answer) the following questions when a referral for a formal evaluation is considered:

  • How will supports look different and distinct, IF an eligibility determination were made, than current supports? What interventions would we be providing that we are not providing now?
  • And, what will it look like when the student NO LONGER needs special education supports. An eligibility determination must not be, and need not be, a life sentence. We should, instead, intensively close gaps and/or develop coping mechanisms to compensate for known difficulties. So...what will be the target that, when reached, would lead to us exiting the student?



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© 2016. Chris Weber Education. Design by Cleverbirds.