Evidence-based Practices and Interventions

Defining “Intervention”

Intervention means the systematic use of a technique, practice, or program designed and shown to improve learning in specific areas of student need. In the context of behavior, “improve learning” is to be considered synonymous with “improve performance.”

This definition can be applied to all levels of support; users can clarify and expand its application through modifiers depending upon the context.

Selecting Interventions

Choosing interventions is one part of a process within a collaborative multi-level system of support. Designing interventions is intentional, individualized, and guided by multiple sources of information that clearly identify the factors affecting student learning.

To be effective, interventions must match student need and address factors affecting learning. Factors affecting student learning may be academic, social, emotional, environmental, cultural, and other causes.

What “Systematic” Means

Systematic refers to having consistency and pre-determined decision rules that guide planning, implementation, and evaluation. Systematic intervention includes answers to questions involving frequency, duration, and intensity (e.g. How many times/week? How many minutes/time? Individual or group? What are the characteristics of each student in the group? Which specific techniques/practices? Who will be involved in implementing the plan? How will we know if the intervention/s work? When will we evaluate effectiveness?).

The effectiveness of an intervention is contingent upon effective implementation and an enabling context (e.g. need, capacity, fit, readiness, evidence, and resources); for more information and a visualization of the process, see the Hexagon Tool