The correlation between the core struggles of 6-12 online education and the solutions offered by applying a Response to Intervention inspired protocol to online educational programs quickly becomes apparent. Progressive Intervention is not simply a set of interventions but a systematic model and process for providing preventive, supplementary instructional services to students who are having challenges meeting expected academic performance in online programs. Progressive Intervention also correlates with three basic components of RtI: School-wide screening, Progress monitoring & Tiered service delivery, and Fidelity of implementation. [iii]
At its core, an online progressive Intervention Model attempts to monitor Key Performance Indicators to identify three [v] student behavior profiles:
- Students who are progressing as expected (adequately).
- Students who are struggling to stay on pace / passing.
- Students who are at risk of being removed from the program.
For each one of these Behavior Tiers, three critical questions are asked:
- What will a program do (interventions) with each of these types of students to help them learn to be successful (in the light of their motivation, mastery, and environmental factors)?
- How often will program staff monitor the student’s progress Data?
- What are the intangible pieces of information (not reflected in the data) and what do they indicate about the student’s motivation and mastery of their courses?
Progressive Intervention centered best practices include:
- Identifying multiple Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to give a robust and deep understanding of student behavior
- Grouping student behavior and academic performance into Tiers and identifying interventions best suited to addressing performance issues, related to developmental, precursor educational knowledge, or behavioral concerns or impediments.
- Closely monitoring student behavior using multiple Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and adjusting their tier assignment regularly.
- On regular, long-term intervals, using longitudinal program data to identify necessary modifications to the interventions tied to any given tier.
- Interventions and performance expectations at each or all Tiers can are commonly aligned to each state’s regulations and program expectations for online programs. In several states this impacts program funding, resulting in a direct positive fiscal impact for programs using a Progressive Intervention model.
While the process of establishing a PI structure may seem straightforward, there are many potential pitfalls, and an experienced consulting group can dramatically increase program performance, consistency, and reduce deployment costs. There have been few documented programs that have deployed an organically (independent of consulting services) generated Progressive Intervention structure in less than 4 years.