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1.4: The Pre-Referral Process

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    Students are identified for special education and related services through a system of referrals beginning with the pre-referral process. Many schools have established school-based student assistance teams (SATs) to facilitate the assessment and identification of exceptional students. The SAT is a team of educators, specialists, and clinicians who monitor the progress of students that may require special education and related services. This team helps teachers by suggesting appropriate research-based instructional or behavioral interventions as well as reasonable accommodations or modifications to see if the student can succeed in the general education classroom. This process allows the team to identify whether the student requires additional instruction or special education and related services. The pre-referral process is part of a larger schoolwide system called response to intervention (Smiley et al., 2022).

    Response to Intervention

    Response to intervention (RTI) is a proactive instructional model or framework for preventing academic issues in the early elementary grades and a remediation framework for improving outcomes in academics and behavior in upper elementary and secondary grades. The components of RTI include the following.

    • Screening refers to academic and behavioral assessments that are administered to all students two to three times throughout the school year.
    • Progress monitoring refers to more frequent assessments given to students to determine which strategies or interventions are most effective.
    • Tier 1 includes research-based whole class instruction. Tier 1 strategies meet the needs of most students, but if a student is not making adequate progress, they will receive Tier 2 interventions.
    • Tier 2, or secondary interventions, are for students who are not making adequate progress under Tier 1. These students are provided with additional academic instruction or behavioral interventions.
    • Tier 3, or intensive individualized interventions, are for students who did not make adequate progress under Tier 2. These students are provided with additional academic instruction or behavioral interventions that occur more frequently and for longer periods. At this point, if students continue to fail to make adequate progress, their parents are contacted to consent to the special education referral process (Smiley et al., 2022)

    Smiley, L. R., Richards, S.B., & Taylor, R. (2022). Exceptional students: Preparing teachers for the 21st century (4th ed.). McGraw Hill.

    This page titled 1.4: The Pre-Referral Process is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Diana Zaleski (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI)) .