Brief Notes on Science and Practice from Joseph Witt, PhD, Senior Scientist
Why Research is ImportantSchool professionals have an increased awareness of the way the term "research based" is being used by publishers. It has become a completely meaningless phrase in recent years. Every type of intervention, assessment, or curriculum product now carries the label research based. In particular, intervention publishers shamelessly proclaim that their products are based upon research despite a complete absence of scientifically based research.
Reasonable care can be taken by school-based professionals to determine if a product has a scientifically acceptable research base. The primary indicator is simple: does the product have peer reviewed published studies indicating it does what it purports to do? The scientific peer review process includes a process whereby research is reviewed by people who are disinterested third parties that scrutinize studies for scientific merit. Studies which are not sound do not get published in quality journals.
Very few products have a true research base because conducting the research and going through the peer review process can take 2-4 years. What publishers present instead is "data" from a school here or there that used the product and got good results and everyone "liked" the program. The problem with this claim is the "research" complied with no standards, the schools presented are specially selected, and it is not known if other products were being used at the same time.
With RTI systems, ask for published peer reviewed data showing improved achievement as the result of implementation of that specific RTI model. RTI outcomes should include improved performance on state tests and/or decreased need for special education.
Knowledgeable professionals sometimes question even the best conducted research because they perceive it to have been conducted in "Lab" somewhere that bears little resemblance to their school and their students. In some cases, this is true. Some of the more mature tools available, however, have been extensively field tested in "real" schools.
Why does the research matter to schools? Research is important in considering services for students for two reasons. First, you can start with tools that have been shown to be effective. Federal laws such as NCLB and IDEA require this. Second, for something to actually be effective in a school, it has to be used and used with fidelity. For a tool to be used it helps if everyone believes it can work because this helps professionals to the day to day activities, without which, even the most effective tools do not succeed. By communicating to professionals that the tool is effective it helps to create a sense of efficacy which can help each person with their personal decision to use the tool with fidelity.
STEEP has two type of peer reviewed published research. There is research on the model as a whole indicating improved achievement (e.g., state test scores) and reduced need for special education. In addition to research on the model as a whole, there is research on the major components or parts of STEEP. For example, STEEP uses one probe rather than three for universal screening and there is award winning research to support this tactic (See Ardoin, et al 2004). Similar research exists for other components of STEEP including the procedures for determining and appropriate intervention. See the research page for more information pertaining to the research support for STEEP. Click here.STEEP is, of course, research based but STEEP is research proven with multiple peer reviewed papers.
Interpreting CBM Data: GOM and Skill Assessment
iSTEEP was built on a foundation which is both philosophical and
This view has influenc
A major difference between PT and CBM is the manner
in which performance criteria are establish
In contrast CBM uses norms (e.g., class, school,
district, or national averages) to set standards.
Binder (1990) suggest
If an entire class performs below the mastery level
(i.e., that level of performance requir
These differing notions of competence are most
obvious in the definition of fluency us
In advocating the use of norms to set standards,
CBM has also adopt
The ultimate expression of the values and use of
CBM was the development of the concept of General Outcome Measure (GOM).
As the CBM group was conducting statistical analyses of CBM data
they found the many skills, such as Oral Reading Fluency, correlate well
with other measures such as reading achievement tests.
Because of this correlation, CBM assessments were thought to be
good measures of “overall reading ability” and label
The foregoing has provid
This is not meant to be overly critical of those
who choose to use CBM assessments as GOM’s.
However, it should be emphasiz