Building an Intervention Game Plan: Themes and State Guidance to Consider
Building an Intervention Game Plan: Themes and State Guidance to Consider
In anticipation of schools reopening this fall following a disruptive spring semester, Edmentum’s research scientists have used learning-loss projections to predict a significant increase in students requiring tier 3 intensive intervention support. More specifically, as much as 25 percent of students will require tier 3 support versus 5 percent in typical years as a result of learning disruptions and significant slide from March through August.
Likely, these sorts of projections can lead you to ask questions like: How can we tell which students have the greatest needs as a result of COVID-19 learning loss? How can we effectively implement intervention in hybrid and remote learning environments? How can we break down barriers to access and equity? These are the right questions to be asking, and we are here to help.
In this blog post, we’ve brought forward education themes on the topic of intervention that are bubbling to the top, coupled with specific guidance from different state return-to-learn plans to help inform your approach to intervention this year. Additionally, if you’re looking for more back-to-school recommendations from Edmentum, check out our guide, Start Smart: Reopening School After COVID Learning Loss.
What key themes should be considered when designing intervention this school year?
- Provide Personalized Support to All Students
We know the education that students received from March through August was not created equal. For some, a lack of school support, inability for families to provide help, and general disruptions to motivation resulted in significant slide. For others, the pendulum swung the other direction, and students may have made more growth in a few short months than they did all school year. It’s important that all of these circumstances are recognized this fall and that students are supported with learning approaches and tools that take into consideration their unique starting points and promote growth from there.
- Assess Early and Often
No matter which state’s guidance resources you reference, there are callouts to prioritizing assessment to effectively collect data and support students. This includes encouraging the use of a variety of assessments to shape instructional practices. While some states stress assessing on-grade standards and skills that would have been taught the previous spring, others open up their recommendations to include adaptive diagnostic testing that might look beyond a specific grade level or set of standards. Both assessment methods have tremendous value when planning for the upcoming year. Our Start Smart guide includes evaluation factors for consideration when comparing an adaptive diagnostic to a fixed benchmark assessment.
- Partner with Parents and Families
Without a doubt, state education reopening plans are prioritizing the role of parents and guardians. The plans began with recommendations to gather feedback from families on their experiences in remote learning and their preferences for learning during the 2020–21 school year. Planning then quickly spread to the need for educators to strengthen the school-home partnership, as many family members are challenged to take on the role of learning guides this school year. This includes providing family training to build digital literacy, offering resources and grade-specific activities for teaching strategies, and creating shared expectations around learning duration, mode, and workload. Check out our parent page for more specific guidance and recommendations.
How is intervention being addressed in different state reopening plans?
As you’ve likely already seen coming out of your state, every state education agency has provided districts with guidance on how to proceed this year. Those plans and collections of resources include recommendations for designing and implementing intervention that will support all students. Let’s take a closer look at how several states are prescribing ongoing intervention support:
California’s Stronger Together guidebook urges districts to look at intervention first as a part of the instructional planning process. Districts are prompted to put a system into place that allows educators to “learn in real time how the learning environment is or is not working for students.” When students do struggle, educators are asked to look not only at opportunities for academic intervention but also at social-emotional supports. Another key component of California’s approach to intervention is assessment. Districts are advised to “solidify a systematic cycle of assessments including initial screenings and formative and summative assessments” paired with designated time for data analysis, collaboration, and implementation of intervention strategies.
Ohio’s Reset and Restart Education plan looks at intervention as a component of a larger personalized learning initiative. The plan asks, “What assessments will be administered at the beginning of the school year to determine students’ current levels and what interventions may be needed?” Part of Ohio’s answer to that question includes offering Restart Readiness Assessments, which are intended to help determine what standards-based information students retained from the previous school year via ongoing benchmark and checkpoint assessments.
Michigan’s 2020–21 Return to School Roadmap confirms that intervention and support services include all learning environments. The plan also specifically outlines the need to inventory all intervention programs and procure needed tools to help diagnose learning needs and provide targeted instruction. Like other states, Michigan suggests assessing students on their understanding of prerequisite skills using formative assessments, screeners, or diagnostics and addressing power standards as a means to focus, prioritize, and accelerate instruction.
Georgia’s Guidance for Georgia K–12 Schools and School-Based Programs encourages districts to establish academic baselines for students by administering formative assessments at the start of the school year. The plan highlights three assessment programs provided by the state that measure and/or target ELA, reading, and mathematics skills for K–8 students. Further, an individualized and equitable learning approach is encouraged, including additional instructional supports for students who are struggling or at risk. The plan also targets learning loss via the Georgia Virtual School and supports extended learning and enrichment opportunities in all potential learning settings.
New Jersey’s The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education emphasizes the multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework as the preferred method for selecting, delivering, and evaluating the success of student supports and initiatives. This framework is designed to identify academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs. In preparation for the upcoming school year, the New Jersey Department of Education convened leaders and educators experienced in MTSS to identify critical components that districts should focus on when working toward MTSS while planning to reopen schools. The stakeholders identified: universal screening, collaborative problem-solving teams, family engagement, and data-based decision-making to include progress monitoring.
This school year may usher in unique challenges, but Edmentum is here to help with all of your intervention needs. Check out our 2020–21 Planning and Success Toolkit for free resources and guidance to help you get started, as well as for suggested alignment of Edmentum programs to aid in your search for a digital partner that will help meet your needs.