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Is regular classroom instruction beneficial to a student that is far below grade level in reading?

The complete question

If a child has been identified as having a learning disability and is currently receiving special education for reading, math, writing, and language development, how should this be placed within a school wide reading framework? Specifically, should this child in the classroom during core reading time even though the core reading curriculum is far above his instruction level? I believe the child should be given curriculum at his instructional level rather than spending valuable time in a classroom that does not fully address his instructional needs for reading.

Also, what is the best way to measure progress if the child is reading below two grade levels? The classroom teacher and special ed teacher believe that they need to administer the DIBELS progress monitoring passages at his grade level even though these passages are much to difficult for him to read and do not provide much information.

Expert answer

We have research to indicate that when a student is performing below the level of the reading instruction being delivered in the general education program, the classroom program has little effect on the target student. Instead, tutoring accounts for the student’s growth. Therefore, when classroom instruction is not aligned to the skill level of the target student, I don’t think it’s necessary for the student to be in the classroom for reading instruction. It’s better to maximize time in tutoring. (If, on the other hand, classroom instruction can be aligned to the student’s needs in meaningful ways, there is evidence, at least in math, to suggest that the student benefits from participating both in the general education program as well as tutoring. Even then, however, the tutoring program accounts for the greater amount of progress.) A student’s ongoing progress monitoring (i.e., weekly or biweekly assessment) should be conducted at instruction level, not grade-appropriate material. For benchmarking (i.e., 3-4 times per year), measurement should occur at both levels.

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