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evidence based teacher instruction
Response to Intervention

Response to intervention is a systematic approach to ensure that all students receive the right type of instruction to safeguard their learning success. It starts off with Tier 1 where all students receive evidence based instruction within the regular classroom. Based on past findings, 80% of students will learn how to read and develop numeracy skills based on this instruction. For the 20% of students who do not respond, they will be put on a Tier 2 level and receive more intensive intervention. Often this is the same instruction that the Tier 1 students receive, however, it is implemented at twice the intensity and in small groups. Of the Tier 2 students, 5% of them will not respond to the intense literacy and numeracy evidence based intervention.These 5% of students will need more specific special education services. Though the research is clear on how to implement response to intervention, the challenge lies in program delivery by teachers. We are currently looking at the barriers to teachers providing evidence based literacy and numeracy programming.

Screening of All Students

A key component for a response to intervention is ensuring that all students in a school are screened. We are evaluating many different tools in conjunction with teachers in Northern Ontario in order to identify the best process for screening. Screening basic literacy and numeracy skills can take place within about one to five minutes per student. In addition, working with HearX group out of University of Pretoria in South Africa, we are now using smartphone technology to provide hearing and vision screening to students. We are finding that 1 in 7 students are having academic difficulties related to uncorrected hearing or vision.


Due to the the success of the screeners, we are now working with pediatricians across Canada to use literacy and numeracy screenings in their practices. Pediatricians are frustrated by the number of patients referred to them due to difficulties at school. After identifying that there is no medical reason, they often send the students back to the schools in the hopes they will receive services there. However, this is largely not the case. The hope is that with the new screening technology that can take one to five minutes, pediatricians will have solid evidence that they can use to advocate for their patients in order to get the types of supports their patients need.

Professional Development

In addition to the ongoing skills training that we are involved in with individual schools, we are also very involved in the dissemination of knowledge about how to effectively work with students who have learning challenges. As of today, Dr. Todd Cunningham has given more than 600 presentations across North America to students, parents, teachers, other educators and support staff, and governments. Now with an increased team, new technologies, partnerships, and more and more educators are being reached. In collaboration with Connect North, professional development is being provided to remote Northern Indigenous Communities across Canada.

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