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Evaluating Educational Interventions: Single-Case Design For Measuring Response to Intervention (1st ed.).

EVALUATING EDUCATIONAL INTERVENTIONS: Single-Case Design for Measuring Response to Intervention (1st ed.). T. Chris Riley-Tillman & Matthew K. Burn. New York: Guilford Publications, 2009. 214pp. $32.00. A significant number of students have academic or social behavioral difficulties. Response to Intervention (RTI) is an outline for making instructional decisions based on data in order to increase learning for all students; its purpose is to make adaptations for each student's weakness by offering the most effective instruction and interventions through educational resources. Single-case Design (SCD) takes RTI a step further. Initially, a hypothesis is formulated predicting the struggling child's future behaviors if no intervention is executed; then, a desired, targeted behavior is defined.

Once the need for intervention is established, provisions are put into place. At that point, data are collected to decipher if behavioral progress has been made. However, the authors caution that we cannot substantiate that the intervention was the foundation for an increase in learning; many variables surround the child's life, both inside and outside of the classroom setting, that may contribute to the child's success (or lack thereof). Furthermore, a lack of positive effect on the child's behavior during the intervention process suggests a need for adjusting the accommodations.

Verification of behavioral progress is usually carried out by removing the intervention. If the child regresses back to the original undesired behavior(s), or fails to learn at an acceptable pace, it can be assumed that the intervention caused the improvement in the child's targeted behavior. Again, prudence should be taken in ascertaining that the intervention was grounds for improvement. One can only verify that a behavioral change occurred during the implementation of the intervention. Therefore, the intervention is replicated, and the child is monitored to determine if positive outcomes ensue a second time.

The authors maintain that it is unethical to make unwarranted assumptions about a child's response to intervention. The use of empirical data to further validate the intervention's utility is essential. The authors provide methods in which data can be recorded and utilized to indicate relationships between two or more variables (the intervention and the student's behavior). The book includes graphs and forms that can be reproduced, as well as guidance for using computer spreadsheets to summarize and evaluate data. In view of the fact that interventions are often implemented without previous or subsequent records documented to endorse their effectiveness, SCD is a significant additive to the RTI model. Reviewed by Susan E. H. Lass, Literacy Specialist, Norfolk Public Schools, Norfolk, VA.

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Author:Lass, Susan E. H.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2010
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