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ERIC Number: EJ901469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0164-775X
Applying a Response to Intervention Framework for Noncategorical Special Education Identification
Smith, Steven L.; Peters, Margaret; Sanders, Marc; Witz, Kelly
Communique, v38 n8 p9-11 Jun 2010
There has been much recent discussion among educators on the topic of implementing a response to intervention (RTI) framework to identify special education needs for students with specific learning disabilities. There is good reason for such discussion, as all students benefit from RTI when implemented with integrity and fidelity. The result of RTI is an assurance that all students will receive instruction that is responsive to their educational progress. Since special education disability labeling is not mandated by IDEA, some local education agencies allow noncategorical special education identification. The fundamental difference between noncategorical and traditional assessment lies in the question that guides the assessment process. Traditional categorical assessment focuses on whether or not a child meets criteria for a disability category. The focus is placed on child deficits and examining what they are "unable" to do. In contrast, the assessment question asked in the noncategorical framework is about what the student "can" do. More specifically, noncategorical assessment focuses on specific functional academic skills and behaviors and students' rates of growth in the context of school-based interventions. Thus, the problem solving process occurs within an RTI framework to form a multitiered model of service delivery to all students. This is the foundation for noncategorical implementation. As a model of service delivery to all students, RTI is a necessary prerequisite to engage in noncategorical special education identification. RTI implementation is two-pronged: (1) it provides a data-based decision making model for guiding instruction within the context of multitiered service delivery; and (2) it is a valid means of identifying students with disabilities. This article provides a rationale for noncategorical special education identification within the context of an RTI framework and discusses the present and future benefits of these practices as they are implemented in a large, urban, Midwestern school district.
National Association of School Psychologists. 4340 East West Highway Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 301-657-0270; Fax: 301-657-0275; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act