Screening Process and Progress Monitoring
Within a RtI system, universal screening and progress monitoring play a critical role in determining how best to respond to student need.
Universal screening is a process in which data from multiple measures are analyzed to determine whether each student is likely to meet, exceed, or not meet benchmarks and can be constructed for both academic and behavioral purposes. A screener is an assessment given as one part of the screening process to establish a baseline from which students are beginning and to align the instructional starting point to student need. Screeners are typically a form of data collection designed to be easy, quick, and repeatable. No single piece of data should determine a student’s experience within a RtI system; multiple types of data (survey, interview, teacher observation, etc.) should be collected to assist in a complete universal screening process. Data from the universal screening process are used to make decisions about interventions and additional challenges. It is also important to note that universal screening data can be examined to determine if a change in universal curriculum and instruction is needed.
Progress monitoring is a process used to assess a student’s academic and behavioral performance, to measure student improvement or responsiveness to instruction, and to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. This process is also used to monitor a student’s response to specific interventions or additional challenges. Progress monitoring can be formal (quantifiable, norm referenced tools) or informal (teacher-developed formative tools) and can be implemented with individual students or an entire class. The frequency of progress monitoring will increase with the intensity of an intervention or additional challenge. Like universal screening, progress monitoring is a process, and thus data should include multiple pieces of evidence with a focus on individual student improvement as well as small group improvement.
RtI is a system for increased success for all students, and universal screening and progress monitoring are central to this system. RtI may also be used as a method for identifying students with specific learning disabilities (SLD). As a student moves further toward a process of a SLD determination, by rule, the criteria of progress monitoring tools becomes more stringent to ensure strict consistency, fidelity, and reliability across the state. Making educational decisions based on multiple types of data is equally important to this process. This the Department of Public Instruction's website on learning disabilities for more information on the SLD determination process as it relates to a RtI system.
The National Center on Response to Intervention has established a standard process to evaluate the scientific rigor of commercially available tools and interventions that can be used in a RtI context. Information on these tools are available on the National Center’s website.