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Teaching Tools

KSI Glossary

Published: 4/29/2020 2:18 PM

Commonly Used RTI Terms

Academic Ceiling

Any policy, instructional, or curricular procedure that withholds appropriate learning opportunities from a student who needs to move beyond age mates in order to maintain continuous progress

Accelerated Learning

"Accelerated learning" means an organized way of helping students meet individual academic goals by providing direct instruction to eliminate student performance deficiencies or enable students to move more quickly through course requirements and pursue higher level skill development. (Section 2.  KRS 158.6453)

Acceleration Options

A variety of ways schools can apply instructional strategies to studying material earlier, or at a faster pace, than most students. (See Appendix D)

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

AYP is mandated under NCLB Act of 2001 with the goal of enabling all students to meet Kentucky’s academic achievement standards. It requires schools and districts to make adequate yearly progress as defined by Kentucky and approved by the US Department of Education. (This national mandate affects all states) 

Affective Counseling Services

Affectively-based counseling assistance planned in coordination with the gifted teacher and provided by a counselor familiar with the characteristics and socio-emotional needs of gifted and talented students including those gifted students who are twice exceptional.

All Students

Every student enrolled in a school or district, regardless of identification, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, socio-economic status, or primary spoken language. 

Aimline (see Goal Line)

Baseline Data

The data collected prior to interventions being implemented and signifies the student’s present level of performance on a targeted skill/concept. 


Logical breakdown of the major components of the long-term goal and how they measure progress toward meeting the long-term goal

Characteristics of Highly Effective Teaching and Learning (CHETL)

Effective practices in teaching and learning by describing the role of the teacher and student in an exemplary instructional environment

Classroom Performance

Educators as­sume an active role in students’ assessment in the general education curriculum. This feature emphasizes the important role of the classroom staff in choosing and peri­odically completing student assessments of academics and behavior/social skills rather than relying on end-of-the-year achievement tests (e.g., state or nationally developed tests) or routine office referral/detention/suspension for behavior. (NRCLD)


A community may be a neighborhood and places around school; local residents; and/or local groups based in neighborhoods.

Complex Curriculum

The planned interaction of pupils with instructional content, materials, resources, and processes that are made of interconnected and /or related parts for the attainment of educational objectives

Continuous Progress Monitoring

Students’ classroom prog­ress is monitored con­tinuously. In this way, staff can readily identify those learners who are not reach­ing individual or classroom academic and behavior goals. Curriculum-based assessment models (NRCLD) and data from instructionally-based classroom behavior monitoring systems are useful in this role. 

Criterion- versus Norm-Referenced

Screening measures can use either a criterion referenced or normative comparison standard of performance. In the former, a specific criterion level of skills is specified as indicating an acceptable level of proficiency or mastery. In the normative comparison, the screening results are compared to an appropriate peer group (e.g., other students in first grade).

Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM)

Instead of measuring mastery of a series of single short-term objectives, each CBM test assesses all the different skills covered in the annual curriculum. CBM samples the many skills in the annual curriculum in such a way that each weekly test is an alternate form (with different test items, but of equivalent difficulty).  (Fuchs)

Cut score

Accuracy of screening also is determined by what cut scores are used. A cut score, also called cut point, is the score that represents the dividing line between students who are not at risk and those who are potentially at risk. (NRCLD)

Data Point

A data point is one score on a graph or chart, which represents a student’s performance at one point in time.

Diagnostic Assessment

Assessment(s) will provide specific data to assist in determining changes needed to further the student’s learning based on data from multiple sources/assessments. 

Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instruction refers to educators tailoring the curriculum, teaching environments, and practices to create appropriately different learning experiences for students in order to meet each student’s needs. To differentiate instruction is to recognize students’ varying interests, readiness levels, and levels of responsiveness to the standard core curriculum and to plan responsively to address these individual differences. There are four elements of the curriculum that can be differentiated: content, process, products, and learning environment.

Dual Discrepancy

Student performs below level demonstrated by peers AND demonstrates a learning rate substantially below peers. Special education is only considered when dual discrepancy, in response to validated instruction is found. Just because reading or math growth is low, it does not mean the student automatically receives special education services. (Fuchs)

Early Intervening

Early intervening in this context refers to catching problems early, while they are small. The term includes, but is not limited to, services for young children. (NASDSE)


A screening procedure must be brief as well as simple enough to be implemented reliably by teachers. (NRCLD)

Evidence-Based Practice

Instructional strategies and educational practices that are proven by scientific research studies. 

Evidence-Based Instruction

Class­room practices and the cur­riculum vary in their effect on academic and behavioral outcomes. Thus, ensuring that the practices and curriculum have demonstrated their efficacy is important. If not, one cannot be confident that students’ limited achieve­ment or failure to meet behavior expectations is independent of the classroom experiences. (NRCLD)

Evidence-Based Interventions

When students’ screening results or progress monitoring results indicate a deficit, an appropriate instructional intervention is implemented, either a standardized treatment protocol or an in­dividually designed instructional intervention. The standardized treatment protocols are the academic and behavior interventions that researchers have proven effective. School staff is expected to implement specific, research-based interventions to address the student’s difficul­ties. These interventions might include a “double-dose” of the classroom instruction or other instructional methods that are not adaptations of the current curriculum or accommodations. (NRCLD)


A family includes recognized related and non-related members (i.e., siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles, friends/neighbors) who contribute to a child’s learning in a significant way.

Fidelity Measures

While the interventions are designed, implemented, and assessed for their learner effectiveness, data on the fidel­ity of instruction is gathered. Fidelity measures assess whether the instructional methods and curriculum were used consistently and as they were intended. Staff mem­bers other than the classroom teacher have an important role in completing fidelity measures, which are usually an observational checklist of critical teaching behaviors or important intervention elements. (NRCLD)

Fidelity of Implementation

Fidelity refers to the accurate and consistent provision or delivery of instruction in the manner in which it was designed or prescribed according to research findings and/or developers’ specifications.  Five common aspects of fidelity include: adherence, exposure, program differentiation, student responsiveness, and quality of delivery. 

Flexible Grouping

Allows students to move among different groups based on their performance and instructional needs. 

Formative Assessment

The goal of formative assessment is to gain an understanding of what students know (and don't know) in order to make responsive changes in teaching and learning.  (Black and Wiliam)

Functional Assessment

Academic-process to identify the skill gap, determine effective strategies and develop interventions to teach the desired skill

Behavior-Process to identify the problem behavior, decide the function of the behavior and develop interventions to teach acceptable alternatives to the behavior 

Gifted Education Pedagogy

Refers to the teaching skills needed to impart the specialized knowledge of how to teach students that are gifted and talented. Effective teachers demonstrate a wide range of abilities, skills, and knowledge that lead to designing a learning environment where all students learn and feel that they are successful academically and behaviorally.

Gifted Learner

Possessing either the potential or demonstrated ability to perform at an exceptionally high level in one or more areas of giftedness defined in KY (general intellectual, specific academic, visual / performing arts, creativity, and leadership)

Gifted Student Services Plan (GSSP)

An educational plan that matches a formally identified gifted student’s interests needs, and abilities to differentiated service options and serves as the communication vehicle between the parents and school personnel.  The determination of appropriateness of level and type of services provided to a student shall be subject to continuous assessment.


System for measuring the student’s progress toward long-range expectations

Goal Line (sometimes referred to as an aimline)

The goal line on a graph connects the intersection of the student’s initial performance level and date of that initial performance level to the intersection of the student’s year-end goal and the date of that year-end goal. It represents the expected rate of student progress over time. 

High Ability Learner

A student with consistently outstanding mental capacity as compared to children of one's age, experience, or environment

Highly Effective Classroom Instruction

Academic and behavior instruction or intervention matched to student need that has been demonstrated through scientific research and practice to produce high learning rates for most students. (NASDSE)  Students receive high-quality instruction in their general education setting. Before students are sin­gled out for specific assistance, one has to have an assurance that the typical classroom instruction is of high quality. Instructional quality is indicated by sev­eral characteristics: e.g., personnel are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained, including hav­ing the knowledge and skills to serve children with disabilities (see [Sec. 612(a)(14)(A)]); the choice of the curriculum; the instructional practices used: and comparison of students’ learning rates and achieve­ment in different classrooms at the same grade level. (NRCLD)

Intensive Instruction (Tier 3)

Tier 3 and beyond provides universal instruction in addition to interventions for students not making adequate progress in the core curriculum and tier 2.  These interventions are more intensive and individualize for the student’s academic or behavioral skill deficiency. Frequent progress monitoring occurs with each student.


An intervention is educational instruction, practice, strategy, curriculum or program. (US Department of Education)

Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS)

The Kentucky Academic Standards help ensure that all students throughout Kentucky are provided with common content, have opportunities to learn at high levels, learn how to solve problems and think creatively. The KAS outline the minimum content standards required for all students before graduating from Kentucky public high schools. 

Kentucky System of Interventions (KSI)

A framework for providing systematic, comprehensive services to address academic and behavioral needs for all students, preschool through grade 12. 

Learning Rate

Learning rate refers to a student’s growth in achievement or behavior competencies over time compared to prior levels of performance and peer growth rates.  (NASDSE)  

Level of Performance

Level of performance refers to a student’s relative standing on some dimension of academic or behavioral achievement/ performance compared to expected performance (either criterion- or norm-referenced).  (NASDSE)  


Evaluates a student’s performance to that of an appropriate peer group

Off Level Testing

Administering assessments based on students’ current academic ability. 


The speed or rate at which learning takes place.

Problem-Solving Approach (Individually Designed Instructional Package)

Most schools currently have an existing form of a problem-solving team, such as a student instructional team (SIT), student study teams (SST) or building assistance team (BAT). The purpose of these teams is to develop instruction to support the targeted student, while simultaneously providing a positive effect on the instructional program for all students. Under an RtI service-delivery system, these teams would adopt a problem-solving approach that is based on data and a continuing system of evaluation. Academic and behavioral problems need to be objectively defined, observed and measured directly in the general education classroom. The data collected are then analyzed, using information to develop hypotheses about the causes of the problem and the appropriate selection of evidence-based strategies to remedy them. As the interventions are implemented, the student’s progress is monitored at regular points in time. The team continues to meet to discuss the outcome data and determine whether the intervention is having its desired effect, whether the specific intervention needs to be revised or whether the student should be considered for further evaluation. (NRCLD)

Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

Educators committed to working collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2006).

Program Services Plan (PSP)

A district or school PSP committee (e.g., English Learner (EL) and mainstream teachers/ specialists, an instructional leader, counselor, parent, student) will design a PSP for each student identified as having limited English proficiency. The PSP should include the following:  the reasons for identification (results of the W-APT screener, and when available, the ACCESS for ELLs® annual language assessment), level of English proficiency, previous academic background and experience, cultural and language history, service delivery model/s for English language instruction, and all appropriate instructional and assessment accommodations and/or modifications.  The PSP will be shared with all stakeholders involved in the EL’s academic and language education. The PSP is consistently and regularly monitored for relevance and effectiveness throughout the year, and individualized accommodations should be evaluated for appropriateness and revised at least once a year based on the annual ACCESS for ELLs® assessment results. If a school does not have the accommodations documented in the PSP then there could be a test code violation if the accommodations are allowed on the state assessment.

Progress Monitoring

School staff use progress-monitor­ing data to determine effectiveness of the intervention and to make any modifications as needed. Carefully defined data are collected, perhaps daily, to provide a cumulative re­cord of the learner’s response to the intervention. (NRCLD)

Response to Intervention (RtI)

“Response to intervention (RtI) integrates assessment and intervention within a multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and to maximize social and  behavior competencies. With RtI, schools identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness, and identify students with learning disabilities” (National Center on Response to Intervention).

Standard-Protocol Approach

Standardized protocols are academic and behavior interventions that researchers have validated as effective, meaning that the experimental applications were completed with the proper experimental and control groups to demonstrate that the interventions work. School staff are expected to implement specific evidence-based interventions to address the student’s difficulties. These interventions are not accommodations to existing curriculum; rather, they are instructional programs targeted to remediate a specific skill. Research for standard protocol interventions should specify the conditions under which the intervention has proven successful, including the number of minutes per day, the number of days per week, and the number of weeks (typically eight to 12) required for instruction with the intervention. Information about each research-based intervention also should describe the specific skills addressed, where the instruction should be provided, who should provide the instruction and the materials used for instruction and assessing progress (adapted from Fuchs et al., 2003)  (NRCLD)

Summative Assessment

Summative Assessment is an assessment of the learning. It indicates a student’s learning at a particular point in the instructional process. Summative assessment is typically administered to obtain a comprehensive evaluation of student knowledge and skills, rather than for short-term instructional decision-making

Targeted/Supplementary Instruction (Tier 2)

Tier 2 is when a student’s universal screening and other data results indicate a deficit on benchmark skills/grade level expectations. This tier provides appropriate instructional intervention(s) and progress is regularly monitored. About fifteen percent of students will succeed at this level of instruction. Students must receive general education instruction plus targeted intervention. Movement between the tiers/level of support should be fluid and based on the student’s response or non-responsiveness to instruction.

Trend Line

A trend line is a line on a graph that represents a line of best fit through a student’s data points. The trend line can be compared against the goal line/aimline to help inform responsiveness to intervention and to tailor a student’s instructional program.  

Twice-Exceptional Learners

“Twice-exceptional student” means a pupil who is identified as gifted and talented in one or more areas of exceptionality and is also identified with a disability defined by Federal/State eligibility criteria (i.e. specific learning disability, emotional-behavioral disability, physical disability, sensory disability, autism, ADHD)


The development of a significant gap between a student's potential ability and demonstrated achievement to a degree that there is an overall diminished ability to achieve at the expected level of ability.

Universal/Core Instruction (Tier 1)

Tier I is highly effective, evidence-based core or universal instruction, provided to all students in the general education classroom. General education teachers must implement evidence-based programs with fidelity for both academic and behavior instruction. About eighty percent of students will succeed at this level of instruction with little or no modifications of the curriculum or instructional practices 

Universal Screening

School staff conducts universal screening of aca­demics and behavior. This feature focuses on spe­cific criteria for judging the learning and achieve­ment of all students, not only in academics but also in related behaviors (e.g., class attendance, tardiness, truancy, suspensions and disciplinary actions). Those criteria are applied in determining which students need closer monitoring or an inten­sive intervention.  Screening is a type of assessment that is characterized by providing quick, low-cost, repeatable testing of age-appropriate critical skills (e.g., identifying letters of the alphabet or reading a list of high frequency words) or behaviors (e.g., problem-solving and social interaction skills, tardiness, or aggression). (NRCLD)


An indication that an assessment tool consistently measures what it is intended to measure.

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