SLD Illustrative Tara Case Example
This case example is intended to be used in training staff to recognize the link between achievement, basic psychological processes, and the next right instructional step. The available data are designed to be a realistic teaching tool and do not represent ideal practice or illustrate issues of compliance. In some instances we have intentionally left out critical information and in others provided both relevant and irrelevant details, so that participants have to actively practice with the content and instructional recommendations.
The following data represents a fictional student but is based on real student data. In preparing this case we make the following assumptions:
· The student has participated in 2 research-based interventions that were delivered as intended.
· The interventions were designed to be sufficient in addressing the gap in achievement and accelerate the student’s rate of learning.
· The gap in learning has persisted.
· The order the data is presented in follows the intended model staff should use when gathering data for generating hypotheses and designing the next step in problem solving.
Student Name: Tara Date: 5/10/2010 School: Bass Lake Middle School Grade 8
DOB: 07/01/96 Age 13
Current Concerns: Tara was identified through persistent low performance on MCA II’s, benchmark, and teacher concerns. The team is currently working through the stages of conducting an evaluation for special education due to poor performance in reading comprehension, written composition, and math problem solving. Despite interventions, Tara continues have difficulties with comprehension and vocabulary questions, written expression, and mathematical problem solving in English, Social Studies, Math and Science classes. The Intervention team has determined that Tara is not accelerating her rate of learning relative to her peers and is not making sufficient gain to reach grade level benchmarks. The last three years of MCA data show stagnant growth in reading and math. Parent input has been obtained and the team understands the importance of consideration of cultural and linguistic factors that may contribute to her lack of progress. Routine sensory/vision screening and health history was completed with results indicating no concerns.
Summary of MCA data from 2008-2010
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) Spring 2008– Reading 610
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) Spring 2009—Reading 720
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) Spring 2010—Reading 825
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) Spring 2008__Math 625
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) Spring 2009—Math 720
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA-II) Spring 2010—Math 815
The 8th grade level standards and benchmarks for which Tara is having persistent difficulty in mastering.
Vocabulary Standard: The student will use a variety of strategies to expand reading, listening and speaking vocabularies.
o Acquire, understand and use new vocabulary through explicit and indirect vocabulary instruction and independent reading.
o Determine the meaning of unknown words by using a dictionary or context clues.
o Recognize and interpret words with multiple meanings.
o Determine word meanings by using definition, restatement, example, comparison or contrast.
o Identify and explain analogies, similes and metaphors.
Comprehension Standard: The student will understand the meaning of texts using a variety of strategies and will demonstrate literal, inferential, interpretive, and evaluative comprehension.
o Summarize and paraphrase main idea and supporting details.
o Recall and use prior learning and preview text to prepare for reading.
o Comprehend, interpret and evaluate information in a variety of texts using a combination of strategies before, during and after reading.
o Make inferences and draw conclusions based on explicit and implied information from texts.
o Use knowledge of narrative and expository text structures in a variety of content areas to summarize information.
o Distinguish fact from opinion in two selections on the same topic and give evidence (Tara can do as long as evidence is right there she is not able to make inferences from prior knowledge or previous passages).
o Critically read and evaluate to determine the author’s purpose, point of view, audience and message.
Math Standard: Read, write, compare, classify and represent real numbers, and use them to solve problems in various contexts.
o Classify real numbers as rational or irrational. Know that when a square root of a positive integer is not an integer, then it is irrational. Know that the sum of a rational number and an irrational number is irrational, and the product of a non-zero rational number and an irrational number is irrational.
o Compare real numbers; locate real numbers on a number line. Identify the square root of a positive integer as an integer, or if it is not an integer, locate it as a real number between two consecutive positive integers.
o Determine rational approximations for solutions to problems involving real numbers.
o Know and apply the properties of positive and negative integer exponents to generate equivalent numerical expressions.
Read, write, compare, classify and represent real numbers, and use them to solve problems in various contexts.
o Express approximations of very large and very small numbers using scientific notation; understand how calculators display numbers in scientific notation. Multiply and divide numbers expressed in scientific notation, express the answer in scientific notation, using the correct number of significant digits when physical measurements are involved.
Writing Standard: The student will engage in a writing process, with attention to organization, focus, quality of ideas and a purpose.
o Create multiple paragraph compositions that state, maintain and use details in a logical order to support a main idea.
o 2. Create narratives that develop settings, people/characters, dialogue, and conflicts using descriptive, concrete language to engage audiences.
o 3. Create informative reports; including gathering material, formulating ideas based on gathered material, organizing information and editing for logical progression.
o 5. Formulate a position or opinion and provide supporting arguments and evidence for that position.
o 7. Consider the intended audience when composing text.
As a representative of the 8th grade team of teachers, Mr. Waters reported teacher concerns of the Language Arts and Social Studies teachers to the building team responsible for determining the need for evaluation.
o Tara’s ability in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and written expression are significantly below grade level and below students with similar language backgrounds that they have taught in the past.
o Tara demonstrates these difficulties in two significant ways that impacts her academic progress:
o Tara currently reads a 110 words correct per minute (wcpm) on sixth grade passages. The expected rate for same age peers at the 25th %ile using 8th grade benchmark assessments is 133 wcpm (benchmark scores do not represent a comparative peer group of culturally similar Learners.) When reading grade level texts that require her to demonstrate her comprehension, Tara misses 90% of inferential and vocabulary questions.
o Her writing reflects poor organization, lack of a sequencing or connection of ideas to support a point. She shows difficulty in writing paragraphs that draw comparisons and contrasts, persuasion, and supporting opinions with facts.
o Her math skills indicate that she has poor problem solving, conceptual understanding of fractions, decimals, solving equations, etc.
Summary of Instructional Interventions to Date
Interventions at Bass Lake Middle School: Jan. 2009 – Spring of 2010. The 8th grade teachers discussed various classroom strategies used to increase Tara’s performance.
The eighth grade English teachers’ classroom interventions, consistent with school-wide improvement efforts, included the use of the evidence-based strategy for clarifying and connecting concepts, semantic maps, word webs, graphic organizers and pre-teaching vocabulary words as deemed appropriate to the content of the class. Content area teachers also frequently provide cooperative learning opportunities for learners to maximize opportunities to reflect and respond with content. These improvements to core instruction led to an increase in reading comprehension scores on the MCA last year, 35% of 8th graders made high rates of growth. This year’s 8th graders are on track achieve the same growth .
Intervention #1: The intervention started in Jan. of 2009. As part of their Professional Learning Community (PLC) work, they concluded that pre-teaching content vocabulary according to Beck and McKeown’s tiered approach to prioritizing vocabulary was an evidence-based intervention. Tara’s comprehension and vocabulary development were supported in small group activities within English and Social Studies classes. This included use of content enhancement routines such as the clarifying routine as well as the continued use of pre-teaching vocabulary and use of graphic organizers to organize material. The clarifying routine is an evidence-based practice that is used to focus on a topic and explore related details and the topics importance and critical ideas and concepts. Using this routine, the teachers can help students master the meaning of targeted words and phrases. Tara’s progress was monitored by use of formative and summative assessments indicating growth in vocabulary across a unit. Tara improved her vocabulary understanding and use from an average of 2 out of 10 words on pre-tests to 4 out of 10 words on post-tests. Teachers also monitored her use of vocabulary in discussions and in classroom work. She uses vocabulary when she is prompted, but is otherwise slow to apply new terms in her discussions.
Intervention #2: The intervention started in Jan. of 2010. Tara received small group instruction in a systematic and explicit approach to reading skill development i.e.: vocabulary strategy instruction and passage reading finding the main idea and making inferences with Ms. McGrew for 45 minutes two times per week. Progress was monitored by teacher assessment and MAZE number of correct replacements. Tara was to increase her replacements to .4 per week; however progress monitoring data indicates that she attained average growth of .2 replacements. Peers of similar cultural and language background made .4 replacements per week. Tara also had to complete comprehension questions after completing the reading fluency probe. Although these strategies have increased Tara’s skills, from successfully answering 10% of inferential questions to 20% of inferential questions over four months, she continues to need intensive supports in order to accelerate her rate of skill acquisition. Tara is reluctant to leave the mainstream class for more than two days of instructional support as she doesn’t want to miss more instruction in courses in which she is already struggling.
Additional supports: Starting in November of 2009 and continuing through the 2010 school year. Tara continued to receive tutoring from Ms. McGrew before and after school as needed.
Conclusions from Intervention: Data from interventions within the mainstream and small group instruction indicated low rate of progress as compared with the other members of the group as well as continued below grade level skills. Ms. McGrew, who has also been providing tutoring indicates that there is a significant amount of re-teaching that goes on to help Tara complete homework. Tara is not making sufficient progress to accelerate her achievement towards meeting proficiency on grade-level state content standards. Parents report that despite significant support at home Tara is not making comparable progress relative to her brothers.
Record Review Results:
Relevant medical history:
A review of records, parent input, and current sensory screening was completed for problem solving team. At school her vision was screened on 2/2/10 with 20/20 in both eyes. Hearing was within normal limits.
· Mother has willingly shared background information about Tara, their first born. There are three children in the family, Tara (13 yrs.), Chaska (11 yrs.), and Len (5 yrs.).
· Tara’s mother grew up in a family that was forcefully educated in the boarding schools. English is spoken in the home among the mother, husband (step father), and children, but she is actively working to revive the native language. Mother was born on the Leech Lake Reservation and moved to Bemidji when she graduated from high school.
· There is a history of mobility between attending schools in the cities and the reservation from third to fifth grade. Tara’s grandparents provided most of the day and after school care up through fifth grade.
· Tara’s step father and family are native to Minnesota. Step father graduated from college with his BS in education, and is employed as a physical education teacher.
· Tara’s step father’s helps the children with math homework and more advanced reading and writing skills.
· Tara and her brothers speak primarily English to each other and sometimes speak Ojibwa with mother and in their cultural community.
· Tara attended the Circle of Life School starting at the age of 5 and continued in the same school, with a few months of interruption, until mid-6th grade. Between grades 3 and 5 Tara lived with grandparents in the cities, attending a local charter school for three months at a stretch.
o Her Kindergarten through mid-sixth grade academic experience was all in English with daily Ojibwa cultural classes.
o Documentation shows that in the spring of her 3th grade year, the school was concerned that Tara’s rate of progress indicated some risk in not making grade level targets. There was a note in the school records indicating the team needed to check with the paraprofessional who had been giving Tara extra help to catch up after time attending school in the cities.
o There are no notes or documentation signaling concern in 4th grade.
o By the fall of 5th grade grades and achievement scores from the MN state test indicated significant risk although specific scores have not been available.
· When the family moved to Bemidji in mid-sixth grade, Tara was enrolled at South Middle School. The change to middle school was difficult for Tara. There was a significant change in culture, class routines, and level of academic rigor. Tara continued to work very hard on her school work, but 6th grade teachers noticed she was significantly below expectations in reading, writing, and math achievement.
· In 8th grade, Tara was brought to the school’s Intervention Team for additional supports, beyond support provided by Ms. McGrew after school, in reading comprehension.
· The Group Administered Reading Diagnostic Assessment (GRADE) was administered. The GRADE which measures sentence, passage, vocabulary, listening comprehension, as well as a comprehension composite score. In addition to low average skills in vocabulary (28%ile), passage comprehension (2 stanine), sentence comprehension (6 stainine), listening comprehension (35%ile) and comprehension composite (28 %ile).