How I use WHY to Find Root Cause

This year as my building redoes their RTI process, they put WHY at the forefront of the process.

Why?

How else are you going to figure out what the student’s needs really are!

The Root Cause is so much more than just the test scores or the informal assessment scores you get. Getting to the bottom or root cause of why a student struggles takes a team, an open mind, and time. It's hard finding the one or two things that if you provide interventions or strategies for the student takes off.

My team most works on IEP goals. With the way building schedules have come together, it is all the time we have to work on. We work as a team to find the root cause behind their struggles. This is the process we use to find a student's Root Cause. When we work through a Root Cause Analysis we follow the same steps--make sure you bring an open mind and your data.


Scenario
Problem Statement: The student struggles with decoding.

Formal Reading Assessment

  • Alphabet: 63%ile
  • Meaning: 2nd%ile
  • Reading Quotient: 16th%ile


Based on formal testing the student doesn’t have any decoding concerns but his Reading Comprehension score is significantly below the 12th%ile.

WHY?

I need more information.

DIBLES Scores for a 2nd grader

  • Nonsense Word Fluency: 32 sounds; Benchmark 54 sounds in a minute; Gap 1.68
  • Phoneme Segmentation Fluency: 47 sounds; Benchmark 40 sounds in a minute; Gap .85
  • Oral Reading Fluency: 11 words; Benchmark 52 words in a minute; Gap 4.7


DIBELS shows the student knows their sounds and letters but there is something up with the oral reading fluency. There is a significant gap greater than 2.0.

WHY?

Complete:

  • Error Analysis of ORF passage
  • Assess sight words
  • Does Phonological Processing need to be assessed?


Oral Reading Fluency error analysis shows 68% accuracy with 16 words read.
Assessing sight words show they know 41 of the first 100.
The decision was made based on what looks like a decoding weakness Phonological Processing was assessed--scores were in the average range.

What do I know now?
The student has a decoding weakness. He would benefit from a phonics highly structured phonics program.

Why??

This time I only needed three WHYS to figure out what the true problem is for the student. Sometimes you need more. On average it tends to run closer to five.


This process was completed with my team not during RTI. The decision to target phonics could have been reached without the formal testing and just with DIBELS and Sight Words.

My team uses this approach to help each other when we get stuck and need to take a step back and need more voices to look at the data.

As a special education team, we target only IEP goals and scaffold the student's skills up to access the grade-level curriculum. So the more specific we can be the better--we don’t want to waste time messing around with large messy goals that don’t end up helping the student close achievement gaps.

Go back to RTI.

How could this process be used during an RTI meeting?

Questions and dialogue are key concepts here. Talk about what the numbers tell you. Start with strengths and needs. Just the facts! Don’t interpret anything.  Work through the data dialogue process as I outlined in the E-workbook: RTI Data Clarity freebie. I also included several worksheets to help teams work towards finding a student’s root cause.

Working to find the root cause of why a student is struggling is hard work. The dialogue with your team is a great way to bring in more voices. This in turns brings in more ideas that may help the student. Make sure you bring the Data Clarity e-workbook to help.

Do you similar to help your team find a student’s root cause? Feel free to brag about your success in the comments!

Are you wondering how you can use this idea with your team? Check out my free E-Workbook: RTI Data Clarity.

Chat soon,


About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
Instagram

I contribute to:

I contribute to:

Instagram

Followers

Follow by Email

Search This Blog