As a professional development consultant for Branching Minds, I work with teachers and administrators from all over the country. I frequently get asked how progress monitoring should look at the middle school and high school levels.
It’s that time of year when teachers (and students!) start counting down to the last day of school. A couple of weeks back, I was facilitating an MTSS support team session when one of the participants shared with the group that there were exactly 43 days of school left. She had the remaining time left in the school year down to the hour and minute! While some schools may have longer, we’re all in that phase of the “final countdown.”
During the past couple of weeks, I have facilitated Branching Minds’ “Foundations of MTSS” for two elementary campuses. I asked one of the principals what I should write about in a blog dedicated to MTSS on an elementary campus. She pointed out that she wanted to hear more about the layers of support illustrated in the graphic below. “Okay”, I thought I could work on that.
Another new school year is back in swing, and along with that come new students, new school supplies, and new challenges. Along with grading, lesson plans, and lunch count comes that period of the day in which teachers are tasked with choosing appropriate, evidence-based interventions to support struggling students. This responsibility can be overwhelming for teachers who are already juggling so many tasks during the school day.
Before becoming a professional development consultant with Branching Minds, I spent 34 years in the roles of teacher, interventionist, and instructional specialist; and I’m currently supporting a school district as they continue to improve their MTSS system. My roles allow me to spend time with teachers and administrators from all over the country. And while fall has everyone drinking, eating, and smelling all things pumpkin...for those in education, this season also ushers in a time of data and stress.
With the arrival of fall comes the arrival of student scores from the Beginning of Year administration of Universal Screeners. Universal Screeners are the assessment tool for targeting students who struggle to learn when provided a scientific, evidence-based general education core curriculum (Jenkins, Hudson, & Johnson, 2007). Typically these assessments are administered three times per year during the beginning, middle, and end of year to all students.
After administering the universal screener to students, we as educators would expect/hope to see 80% of students in Tier 1, indicating that students are meeting grade-level expectations; 10% to 15% in Tier 2, indicating student performance below grade-level expectations; and 5% to 10% of students in Tier 3, indicating students are well below grade level expectations.