Project DATA for RTI Grant

Project DATA for RTI Grant- Developing Adept Teams for Advancing RTI

Program: Professional Development for Teachers and Related Service Providers
Fiscal Year: 2016
Name of Institution: University of Oregon
Principal Investigator: Alonzo, Julie
Title: Project DATA for RTI: Developing Adept Teams for Advancing RTI
Goal: Development
Award Number: R324A160032
Award Amount: $1,499,997
Award Period: # years (08/01/2016-07/31/2020)
Co-Principal Investigator(s): Gerald Tindal

The purpose of this project is to develop an individualized web-based professional development (PD) program to support teachers’ effective implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI) and improve student outcomes. Effective implementation of RTI requires ongoing evaluation of the relation between implementation of interventions and change on student measures over time, in order to determine whether interventions are successful or in need of modification to improve outcomes for students with disabilities or who are at risk of failure. Yet, many RTI models are implemented with little attention to the fidelity or effectiveness of the processes by which progress is measured, instruction developed, or decisions made. The purpose of the current project is to develop a web-based PD system that improves the effects of using RTI to improve student learning by enhancing teachers’ ability to make sound decisions based on their students’ progress data. The PD system uses teacher and student data to provide individualized training to teachers.

Project Activities: This project will use an iterative process to develop an online PD system to improve teachers’ RTI implementation and student reading skills. Data from teachers’ RTI knowledge and practice, teacher PD use, field-based observations of classrooms and data teams, as well as information on the usability and feasibility of PD modules will be used in the development process to guide revisions. The research team will conduct a randomized control trial to document the feasibility and potential efficacy of the intervention for improving teachers’ RTI implementation and student reading skills.

Products: The products of this project will include a fully developed PD system that improves teacher RTI knowledge and practice and ultimately student reading skills, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations.

The research will take place in elementary schools in Oregon and Washington state.

Sample: In Year 1, researchers will recruit five expert elementary teachers to form a Lead Development Team to provide consultation for the first two years of the project. Additionally, 100 teachers of Grades 3-5 from districts across the U.S. will be recruited to field test a measure of RTI Practice and Knowledge developed in Year 1. In Year 2, researchers will recruit 6-8 schools with 40 teachers. In Year 3, these same schools and teachers will be retained and 3-4 new schools and 20 new teachers recruited. In Year 4, an additional 3-4 schools and 20-40 teachers will be recruited for the pilot study. In total, researchers will work with approximately 9-12 schools and 60-80 teachers and collect data on 1,500-2,000 students across Years 2-4.

Intervention: The project will result in an online professional development program that is integrated within the easyCBM assessment system and provides teachers with training on sufficient student screening and progress measurement, developing instructionally adequate programs, and making data-based decisions for instructional change. The PD program will include 14 training modules focused on three key components of RTI identified in the literature: (1) measurement sufficiency (i.e., the type of measure being used, the grade level of measures, and the frequency of measurement), (2) instructional adequacy (i.e., tier, amount of time, grouping arrangement, curriculum materials and supplements, teaching strategies, social environments, and independent practice), and (3) data-based decision making (i.e., interpreting progress-monitoring data to prompt changes in instruction relative to the level, variability, and either progress toward goals or slope of improvement in student performance). Each module will include a pre-test, brief situated instruction (using data from the easyCBM website to illustrate research-based best practice in the three areas described above), and a post-test of proficiency.

Research Design and Methods: In Years 1-2, the research team will work closely with a Lead Development Team of five expert teachers to iteratively develop and refine the PD modules and three measures of RTI practice (i.e., teacher survey of RTI knowledge and practice, observational protocol of teacher RTI implementation, and teacher usability and feasibility survey). In Year 1, the Lead Development Team will review initial drafts of PD modules and measures and provide feedback, which will be used to guide group discussion and refinement during in-person meetings with the project research team. Measures will also be field tested with teachers across the U.S. and data will be used to establish initial technical adequacy and to inform further refinement. In Years 2-3, the research team will implement the PD program to gather data on feasibility and usability of each PD module, consult with the Lead Development Team (Year 2), further refine the PD program and online delivery platform, and determine which PD delivery model will be evaluated in the Year 4 pilot test. In Year 2, the research team will compare Standard PD (teachers will complete all 14 modules in numerical order at their own pace over the school year) to a business-as-usual control condition. In Year 3, Standard PD will be compared to Individualized PD (teachers will be prompted to complete one or more of the 14 PD modules throughout the year based on teacher data management/use and student reading data) and Standard + Individualized PD. In Year 4, the research team will conduct a randomized control trial (random assignment will occur at the school level) to test the feasibility and promise of the “best in show” (either Standard PD; Standard + Individualized PD; or Individualized PD) for improving teachers’ RTI implementation and student reading skills. In Years 2-4, assessments of teacher RTI knowledge and practice will be collected in the fall and spring, student reading data from easyCBM will be collected in spring, and field-based observations of classrooms and data team meetings will be conducted throughout the year. Teachers who receive PD will also complete a survey on usability and feasibility for each PD module, and data on teacher system use will be collected in the fall and spring of each year to assess PD fidelity.

Control Condition: In Years 2 and 4, teachers in the control condition will receive no PD and will participate in RTI business-as-usual within their school. In Years 1 and 3, there is no control condition, as Year 1 research activities will focus on the development of PD modules and measures and Year 3 will involve a comparison of Standard PD to Individualized PD and Standard + Individualized PD.

 Key Measures: The research team will develop a test of Teacher RTI Knowledge and Practice, an RTI Observation Rubric (to measure teacher assessment and instruction-related practices associated with RTI implementation), and a PD module Usability and Feasibility Survey. System data on teacher use (i.e., time logged on the PD website, # of modules completed, time taken to complete each module, scores on pre- and post-proficiency tests associated with each module, etc.) will be collected automatically from the online delivery system and used to assess the extent to which PD is being delivered as it was designed. Student outcomes will be assessed by measures of reading automatically collected through the easyCBM assessment system. These measures assess a variety of grade-appropriate reading constructs, including passage reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

 Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will analyze the internal consistency of the Teacher Test of RTI Knowledge and Practice, bivariate correlations between test items, and construct validity using exploratory factor analysis (EFA). The research team will conduct qualitative coding of feedback forms completed by the Lead Development Team on initial PD modules to identify recurring patterns and themes as a way to organize discussion and further refinement of the PD program. The research team will use Item Response Theory (IRT) to analyze feedback collected from the module-specific Usability and Feasibility surveys. Multilevel growth models (with time nested in teacher nested in condition) will be used to evaluate the effects of the PD program on improved Teacher RTI Knowledge and Practice and RTI implementation. Latent growth curve modeling (LGCM) will be used to analyze the effect of the PD program on student growth in reading skills. The research team will examine effects for all students and test whether the impact varies for students with disabilities.