November 23, 2017

Emerging Best Practice for Determining ROI #1

As part of my dissertation, I’ve compiled a list of what I think are emerging best practices for determining rate of improvement.  In other words, what are the necessary conditions for having confidence in the ROI statistic?  The first emerging best practice I’m considering is the use of technically adequate and psychometrically sound measures.  If we don’t have good data, there’s no point in creating a trend line or calculating an ROI statistic.  One of the best resources is the progress monitoring tools chart.  Note that this chart can still be accessed through the National Center on Response to Intervention but is now housed at the National Center on Intensive Intervention.  Not all assessments are located on this chart as they are submitted voluntarily but it’s good place to start if your school team is looking for ideas.

When school-based teams are considering making high stakes decisions such as special education eligibility, the quality of data needed is much higher.  Teams need to consider if the assessments they are using is measuring what they intends to measure (validity) and if they can measure skills consistently (reliability).  Other aspects of assessments to consider in relation to generating a stable trend line are whether the measure can demonstrate small increments of growth and if the assessments can be repeated through alternate forms.  An example of a technically adequate measure that was designed to produce ROI is the computer adaptive tests from Renaissance Learning called STAR Reading and STAR Math.  After only four data points, the system will generate a stable trend line that can be used to interpret student progress.  A non-example would be teacher-made assessments or unit tests.  The latter measures may be helpful for teachers to know how students are performing with concepts they are learning in class, but have not been validated for the purpose of generating trend lines or ROI from the results.

Questions and comments are welcome! What are your school teams using to document student progress?

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About Caitlin

Caitlin Flinn Bennyhoff, D.Ed., NCSP, is currently employed as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist in Pennsylvania. She completed her doctoral degree in school psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her main interests include response-to-intervention, systems-level change, measuring student growth, and data analysis teams.

Comments

  1. Joe D'Amato says:

    Hello, I am a middle school principal in Western New York and am very interested in setting improvement rates for my students in grade 6-8 who receive academic intervention services. We use the STAR for benchmarking in reading and math, and some teachers use it for progress monitoring. I recognized that other skills need to be monitored such as reading fluency, but for a starting point I would like to ask about a rate of improvement and progress monitoring using STAR. You have a nice excel table for grade 5, is there any specific changes for using it with STAR in grades 6-8?

    Any information would be great

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