Identifying and Treating Children At Risk for Academic Failure
The key to increasing achievement for students at risk for academic failure is improving the decision making of educators responsible for these children. Educators must reevaluate the utility of common assessment practices and adopt models that can be shown to meet students' needs at both the group and the individual levels. The first step is to identify the appropriate breadth of intervention efforts. When educators practice in settings with large numbers of students who are at risk for academic failure, systems-level adoption of effective instructional models and student monitoring are the best first step. While avoiding problems with error-prone assessment practices, these actions will alleviate many academic difficulties and unnecessary referrals for special education.
When educators practice in settings with low numbers of students who are at risk, or when the systems-level intervention(s) are not working, more careful analysis and child-specific forms of intervention assistance are necessary. There is a model for this level of prevention and intervention. The model draws on current assessment and evaluation methods and is designed to narrow intervention efforts quickly and efficiently with follow-up procedures for when further problem solving is required. In many cases, a functional intervention plan (i.e., one based on probable reasons for academic deficits) can be put in place within hours of the beginning of the assessment process. In some cases, it may take more time. The prior assessment information, however, is useful for individualizing the intervention procedures.
© ______ 2002, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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