KU Center for Research on Learning

KU Center for Research on Learning

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Examining the Role of the Special Educator in a Response to Intervention Model

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The researcher gathered instructional practices data by watching the special educators while they were engaged in instruction and recording what instructional practices they were using every 30 seconds during instruction. Instructional practices were categorized as those with greatest effects and those with typical effects according to Hattie (2009). The results are displayed in Table 5.

The researcher also analyzed instructional data according to the tier within an RTI framework in which it took place (Tier 2 or Tier 3), as shown in Table 6.

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Belinda B. Mitchell, KUCRL doctoral fellow
Donald D. Deshler, KUCRL director

This study examined the role and instructional behaviors of the special educator in a response-to-intervention (RTI) framework in regard to the following:

  • The proportion of the special educator’s time spent in four key roles: collaborator, interventionist, diagnostician, and manager

  • The behaviors within each role in which special educators engage most frequently

  • The instructional practices used most frequently by special educators

  • The instructional practices used by special educators aligned with effective instructional practices that have been identified in empirical literature

“I think the paperwork…that is huge…being the only [special education] teacher in my building…my situation (i.e., one person to complete all required paperwork) is a lot of missed instruction time…a lot!”
—Teacher referring to time spent in manager role and doing paperwork

“…They are wonderful teachers, but I see that line in the sand and I said ‘OK’ and came back to my side. I am still waiting, kind of standing there…but at this point it is definitely, it is two different things (i.e., special education and general education). It is two different islands.”
— Teacher referring to collaboration with general educator

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