I attended day one of our Tiered Algebra 1 Action-Research Project. We got an overview of the project including the components that will be involved: Iowa Core Standards, Standards-Based Grading, and Tiered Instruction.
We spent a lot of time discussing the tiered instruction because that is the newest idea for most of us. This is based off of RTI, or Response to Intervention, a method used to keep students performing at grade-level and provide assistance when they fall behind. There is not much information published about implementing RTI at a high school level, especially for mathematics, so we took a look at the basic structure of the program.
We will provide three tiers of instruction. The first is universal. All students receive the first tier of instruction. The second tier is for some students (10-20%) that for a lack of a better phrase are "chronic mathematics strugglers". These students need to receive an additional 30 minutes of instruction everyday in small groups (7-10 students). The third is for a few students (1-5%) who have IEP math goals, with additional mathematics instruction written into their IEPs. These students will also receive an additional 30 minutes of instruction everyday in even smaller groups (1-3 students) with a special education instructor).
Oh to think of all the scheduling issues this creates! Thankfully our math department had already been discussing the need for intervention and brainstorming ways to make it work. All that brainstorming with this guidance for how best to help those students allowed us to see this not as an impossibility, but a challenge we would have to work around.