Response to Intervention
Progress monitoring is a methodology for measuring the effectiveness of an intervention. In order to design an intervention, the problem must have been analyzed adequately. In order for problem analysis to have occurred, the problem must have been accurately defined. So, intervention progress monitoring should not occur unless the first three steps of problem solving have been conducted.
In order to answer the question “Is it working?” information on student performance over time must be gathered. Since we need to make decisions quickly if our interventions are not delivering the desired results, it’s necessary that we gather this information frequently. Thus, key features of the instrumentation used to collect these data are that they can be administered frequently and are sensitive to small changes in behavior.
Also important, this information must be plotted on a graph so that trends in student performance can be visualized. That is, we must be able to see where we’re headed in order to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional efforts. Data are used to make important decisions about whether to continue the intervention, modify it, or change it completely.
If an intervention is not producing the desired results, a first step is to evaluate whether the intervention plan is being implemented as designed. If not, make adjustments to ensure that it is. If the treatment integrity has been verified, all the previous problem solving steps should be reviewed. A mistake may have been made in problem identification, problem analysis, or intervention design.
If an intervention is not producing the desired results it does not necessarily mean that it is the wrong intervention. It may be the right intervention, but the intensity needs to be increased. Three basic ways to increase the intensity of an intervention are: 1) Reduce the size of the group; 2) Increase the amount of time that the intervention is delivered; and 3) narrow the focus of the lesson. These strategies for intensification may be used individually or in combination.
Problem solving is a self-correcting methodology dependent upon instructional decisions made using reliable data collected frequently.