It’s long been suspected that some students assigned to special education don’t need to be in the program. Now teachers in one Texas school district have a new way to refer struggling students for extra help that’s preventing hundreds of children from being erroneously assigned to special education.

The program called “response to intervention” allows students to get the extra help they need without entering a formal special education program. Oftentimes for students who have fallen behind after several moves or a poor start to their education, a short-term boost is all that’s needed, educators say.

Under the plan in place in Wichita Falls, Texas, a student identified as needing extra help receives tutoring in the problem area and is taught in the classroom using research-based strategies. Progress is monitored with standardized testing.

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If this approach is not sufficient to allow for a return to the traditional classroom, a student is then assigned to a small group to receive more intensive assistance. Finally, students can receive more individualized instruction, if necessary.

Before response to intervention was implemented, educators say that many of the students currently participating in the program likely would have been assigned to special education. This school year alone, the program has helped Wichita Falls reduce its special education population by about 1 percent, or roughly 200 students, school district administrators told the (Wichita Falls) Times Record News. To read more click here.