Evidence-Based Intervention Strategies in Education

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Using evidence-based practices is important in all aspects of education, including when developing interventions. This lesson explains the importance of using evidence-based interventions and shows how to use them for the intervention process.

What Are Evidence-Based Practices?

Educators and parents have the same goal - to provide quality instruction for all students. They want students to succeed and make adequate progress towards goals and objectives and be supported by teachers and other professionals. How do we know if instructional methods are considered best practices? Schools that use evidence to demonstrate their instructional methods are high quality are using what we call evidence-based practices.

Whether developing learning objectives or designing lessons to meet those goals, educators should always align their practices to what we know through research has been successful in the past. Research in educational practices is valid when:

  • the research design is acceptable
  • has applied quality data analyzed by experts
  • has been peer reviewed

In other words, evidence-based instruction has been proven to have positive student outcomes, is based on quality data the researchers analyzed, and was reported in educational or other peer reviewed journals so others can determine the research is valid.

Evidence-Based Interventions

Not all students make progress towards goals and objectives at the same rate. Abby is a student identified for intervention services, or who receives extra support to help her succeed. Her instruction is based on her specific needs that were determined by screenings and other data gathered by her teachers, parents, and other professionals who work with her. This team came together to determine the best ways to meet Abby's needs as a student with a disability.

During their meetings, they looked at successful strategies of teaching that are backed by research. They then analyzed Abby's needs and developed a plan that matched her skills and objectives with intervention services that would help her grow. They created an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, a legal document that details Abby's services as a student with special needs. This document is used not only to guide her teachers and professionals as they service her but also as a place to record instructional methods so they can be analyzed for success. Let's see what this looks like in action.

Evidence-Based Interventions at Work

Earlier in the year, Abby's teacher, Kelly, noticed she struggled with basic reading concepts. While other students made expected progress, Abby lagged behind in things like comprehension and spelling. Kelly attempted several different strategies in the classroom before recommending Abby for further screening. After Abby had been diagnosed with a learning disability, an IEP was designed with her specific and unique learning objectives in mind.

The screenings confirmed that Abby needed extra help in literacy skills, specifically spelling and reading. To make sure the interventions were evidence-based, they consulted several research models, available on websites or through resources in the school. During the IEP meeting, Kelly and the other professional members of the IEP team explained the evidence to Abby's parents, assuring them the interventions were supported by research and providing them with the sources used. Let's go a little deeper.

Evidence-Based Intervention in the Classroom

Abby struggles with literacy skills like reading and spelling. When determining evidence-based intervention methods, the teachers first looked closely at the results of Abby's screening to see what skills needed support. Let's say she needs to increase her oral reading fluency, or the rate, pace, and style of reading orally. After checking several resources, the team found an intervention strategy based on research called repeated reading.

Repeated reading has been found to increase fluency in students like Abby, who have developed some word reading skills but have not yet been able to read fluently on grade level. Because this strategy has been researched before, showing success in classrooms for other students just like Abby, the educators have chosen it as an evidence-based intervention for her.

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