Chapter 6.1: Instruction and Intervention Supported by Scientifically Based Research

    State Performance Plan (SPP):

    (See Overview in the Introduction for more information on the SPP.)


    To provide guidance to ensure that all children, including children suspected of having a disability and children identified with one or more disabilities, receive scientifically based, high quality instruction and intervention that are matched to their academic, social-emotional and behavioral needs and are delivered with a comprehensive, integrated system of supports.


    Consent for evaluation

    Within 30 days of receiving a request for an initial evaluation of a child from either the child’s parents or a public agency, the school district of residence will either obtain parents' consent for an initial evaluation or provide the parents prior written notice stating that the school district does not suspect a disability and will not be conducting an evaluation. The child's parents should document the request for an evaluation in writing.

    Conducting the evaluation

    Within 60 days from receipt of parental consent to evaluate a child, the school district will conduct a comprehensive initial evaluation of the child to identify the child’s educational needs and to determine if the child is a child with a disability.

    If the school district is using a response to intervention (RtI) process, the district cannot use this process to reject a referral or delay the provision of a timely initial evaluation because a child has not participated in the RtI process (OSEP letter to State Directors of Special Education, January 21, 2011).
    If the school district has not implemented an RtI process and it receives a request for an evaluation from parents, the school district cannot begin the RtI process apart from the evaluation timeline. The district must complete the RtI process and the evaluation within the 90 day timeline from the date of the referral (30 days from date of referral and 60 days from parental consent) unless the district does not suspect a disability. If the district does not suspect a disability, it provides the parents with a prior written notice within 30 days of the request.
    Preschool Note
    School districts cannot require other agencies to use an RtI process when identifying preschoolers with disabilities.

    Exceptions to 60-day timeline: The 60-day timeline for conducting the evaluation does not apply to a school district if:

    • The parents of the child repeatedly fails or refuses to produce the child for the evaluation; or
    • The child enrolls in a new school district of residence after the 60-day period has begun and prior to a determination by the child's previous school district of residence regarding whether the child is a child with a disability. This exception applies only if the current school district of residence is making sufficient progress to ensure a prompt completion of the evaluation and the parents and the current school district agree to a specific time when the evaluation will be completed.

    When the existence of a specific learning disability is being determined, the 60-day timeline also can be extended with mutual written agreement between the parents and evaluation team, if additional data are needed that cannot be obtained within the 60-day timeline.

    Evaluation team report (ETR) and documentation of eligibility status

    Within 14 days from the date of eligibility determination or the determination of continued eligibility and prior to the next IEP meeting, the school district of residence must provide the parents a copy of the evaluation team report and the documentation of determination of eligibility or continued eligibility.

    Preschool Note
    Timelines reflect the maximum number of days. For children transitioning from Help Me Grow, timelines may be less than 120 days since an IEP must be implemented by the child's third birthday.


    (A) General
    (1) Each school district shall adopt and implement written policies and procedures, approved by the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children, to ensure that a referral process is employed to determine whether or not a child is a child with a disability. The school district of residence shall ensure that initial evaluations are conducted and that reevaluations are completed.

    (2) Consistent with rule 3301-35-06 of the Administrative Code, each school district shall provide interventions to resolve concerns for any preschool or school-age child who is performing below grade-level standards.

    (3) A school district may not use interventions to delay unnecessarily a child’s being evaluated to determine eligibility for special education services. If such interventions have not been implemented prior to referral for evaluation, appropriate interventions should be implemented during the same sixty-day time frame during which the school conducts a full and individual evaluation

    (4) Each school district shall use data from interventions to determine eligibility for special education services, appropriate instructional practices, and access to the general curriculum. In the case of a preschool-age child, data collected through interventions is part of the differentiated process.

    (G) Determination of eligibility
    (2) Special rule for eligibility determination
    A child must not be determined to be a child with a disability under this rule:

    (a) If the determinant factor for that determination is:
    (i) Lack of appropriate instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction as defined in Section 1208(3) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended and specified in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, January 2002, 20 U.S.C. 6301 (ESEA) (Phonemic awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary development, Reading fluency including oral reading skills and strategies, Reading comprehension);
    (ii) Lack of appropriate instruction in math; or
    (iii) Limited English proficiency; and
    (b) If the child does not otherwise meet the eligibility criteria under paragraph (B)(10) of rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code.

    Scientifically based research

    As defined in both the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and IDEA 2004, the term "scientifically based research" means research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge about education activities and programs. It includes research that:

    • Employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment;
    • Involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn;
    • Relies on measurements or observational methods that provide reliable and valid data across evaluators and observers, across multiple measurements and observations, and across studies by the same or different investigators;
    • Is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments or other designs, to the extent that those designs contain within-condition or across-condition controls;
    • Ensures that experimental studies are presented in sufficient detail and clarity to allow for replication or, at a minimum, offer the opportunity to build systematically on their findings; and
    • Has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective and scientific review.


    Comprehensive and integrated system of high quality instruction and intervention

    When identifying children who are not meeting grade-or age-level expectations, the important first step is to establish that the child has received high quality instruction within the core curriculum. The district's overall improvement process should examine the performance of all children to ensure that the vast majority of children are meeting standards and are receiving high quality instruction delivered by qualified teachers in regular education classes.

    Even given high quality instruction, there will be children who need additional targeted intervention to meet expectations. These interventions must be structured to meet the specific, identified needs and must be provided in addition to the instruction provided to all children. Progress must be monitored closely using data gathered from the intervention to determine whether or not the intervention is having the desired impact. If the child is not progressing as expected, the intervention can be modified, for example, by increasing the amount of time or frequency of the intervention or adjusting the group size of children participating in the intervention.

    In some cases, the child’s satisfactory progress-monitoring data and rate of progress as a result of receiving targeted assistance warrant discontinuation of this assistance; in others, targeted assistance must be continued to produce or maintain improvements in the child’s level of performance and rate of progress. However, there are a small number of children who will require highly individualized intensive interventions to be successful. Ordinarily, these individualized interventions are planned by a school intervention team and require consultation with personnel who have expertise in assessment and knowledge of research-based interventions. If the data indicate that the child is not demonstrating adequate progress when provided with high quality individualized intensive interventions, or when these interventions require more support than can be provided solely within the regular education environment, the child may be suspected of having a disability and be referred for an evaluation. At this point, the district should obtain parental consent for the evaluation, and all requirements pertaining to an initial evaluation, including the timelines, would apply. The data collected as part of the intervention process will become a significant component of the evaluation process.

    There are circumstances when interventions must be implemented concurrently with an evaluation during the 60-day timeline. These situations may occur, for example, when the child’s performance is significantly below that of peers and may require very intensive instruction to remediate; the child exhibits severe behavior problems that significantly disrupt the school environment; or the child has sensory, physical, neurological or developmental conditions that may clearly require intensive support.

    Twice exceptional children

    The term "twice exceptional" is used in the literature to define children who are both gifted and have a disability, such as a learning disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, emotional disturbance, Asperger’s Syndrome, sensory disability or physical disability. Many twice exceptional children may go unrecognized because they demonstrate adequate progress in the general curriculum, yet their gifts may mask their disabilities. It is also possible that the twice exceptional child’s areas of deficit can result in school personnel failing to recognize the child’s areas of significant strength and potential.

    When reviewing child progress and matching instruction and interventions to the specific needs of children, districts also should identify those children who display uneven development and growth in skills and abilities. Twice exceptional children will often excel in certain areas while experiencing significant challenges in others. Like all learners, there are no set profiles that can be used to characterize the twice exceptional child, since each child has unique needs. Instruction and interventions should address both the child’s strengths and challenges, and if the child does not make adequate progress when provided with high quality intensive interventions, the district may refer the child for a comprehensive evaluation.

    Assurance of appropriate instruction in special circumstances

    In certain situations it may be more difficult to determine if a child’s poor performance is due to a lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math or if it is the possible result of a disability. These situations could include:

    • Children who have a history of poor attendance or excessive truancy;
    • Children who have been in schools in academic watch, in a large class size, or in a classroom where a teacher is not highly qualified;
    • Children, including migrant children, who have moved frequently and have attended numerous districts or buildings within a district;
    • Children who enroll in the school district and previously have been home-schooled or attended a private school;
    • Children who lacked exposure to developmentally-appropriate activities; and
    • Children who lacked needed support due to the impact of poverty.

    In the case of children who have moved frequently, attended private school or been home-schooled, the district should attempt to obtain information about the child’s educational history from the parents and other educational entities that the child has attended, to the extent possible. This information could include the type of curricula the child was exposed to and available measures of the child’s progress.

    The district should also obtain current data-based evidence to indicate the child’s present level of performance in mastering academic content standards appropriate for the child’s age or grade level and to determine the child’s progress when provided with high quality instruction and interventions. In addition to other relevant information about the child, the rate of progress can provide an indication of the intensity of instruction the child will require to improve performance. If the rate of the child’s progress is not adequate when provided with intensive individualized intervention, the district may suspect that the child has a disability and refer the child for a comprehensive evaluation.

    In the case of a child who has a history of poor attendance or excessive truancy, the district must determine if the primary reason for the child’s poor performance is the result of reduced opportunities for instruction and learning, a lack of appropriate instruction or the presence of a disability. The same process described previously would also apply in this situation, but the district would also need to develop an intervention plan to address the child’s attendance or truancy problem to eliminate reduced instructional time as the cause of the child’s poor performance.

    Components of effective interventions

    For preschool children, interventions may be provided in an early childhood setting where the child is being served. Districts should have well-established dialogues and partnerships with community providers. Preschool children served in community settings are district children. Districts should consider the impact of failing to work with community providers in relationship to children being ready for kindergarten and schools being ready for children.

    Effective interventions must include a number of key components to allow the district to establish that an intervention was or was not successful with a particular child or children. The key components include the following:

    • A clear statement in measurable terms, of the specific skill or behavior that will be targeted by the intervention;
    • Baseline information on the child’s present performance compared to that of same-age peers on the same skill or behavior, and an identified target goal that will be reached as a result of the intervention;
    • Involvement of the child’s parents in the problem-solving process used to design the intervention and the strategy that will be used to measure progress;
    • Identification of a scientific, research-based intervention that will be implemented to target the identified problem;
    • A description of the setting in which the intervention will occur and the individual(s) responsible for conducting the intervention;
    • Assurance that the selected intervention is culturally and linguistically appropriate for the particular child;
    • Identification of a method to measure the child’s response to the intervention and the frequency with which that progress measurement will occur;
    • Clear criteria, decision rules and timelines for determining an adequate or inadequate response to the intervention;
    • A plan to ensure that the intervention is implemented as designed; and
    • Adequate documentation of the intervention to assist in current and future decision making.

    Effective interventions are NOT:

    • Procedures to be rushed through in order to obtain a “real evaluation” for a child;
    • Descriptions of placements in programs without specific data-driven information on the interventions that will be provided as part of that placement;
    • Strategies that do not address the specific areas of concern;
    • General descriptions of modifications or accommodations; or
    • Vague methods to measure progress.

    Scientifically based research

    Both the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and IDEA 2004 require districts to identify and use scientifically based research in designing and implementing educational programs, interventions and instructional strategies. Given the large number of instructional materials and practices that are promoted as being effective, it is important for educators to develop the ability to discern the difference between research evidence and opinion. An intervention is considered to be scientifically based when there is adequate empirical support for its efficacy, in the form of published, peer-reviewed studies of the intervention itself, or of major components of the intervention, using research methods with adequate internal and external validity.

    Although judgment and personal experience play a significant role in shaping effective instruction, these factors cannot override research that provides evidence of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of certain instructional practices. The highest standard of evidence would be research findings that are published in peer-reviewed journals. In many areas, educational research that meets this standard is unavailable, so educators will need to rely on a consensus of studies that point to certain conclusions. In all cases, it is the response of the child to the particular intervention or strategy that should be used as the standard for determining effectiveness. Even though research might support a certain practice, there is no guarantee that the practice will be effective for all children.


Last Modified: 12/10/2015 11:42:57 AM