What is the status of the research base on intensive academic interventions?

Question: What is the status of the research base on intensive academic interventions?

Sharon Vaughn: So, the status of academic interventions for students that need intensive interventions, is a growing research base. Over the last couple of decades there have been quasi-experimental studies, single-case studies, and increasingly in the last five years, experimental studies, specifically addressing the needs of students who need intensive interventions. But even with this growing research base, I think most of us would agree that it is still insufficient and that additional research is needed. There are some findings that are promising and that we might consider as we start thinking about what we know from research about these intensive interventions.

One of the findings is that, overall, the impact with experimental and quasi-experimental studies, is small to moderate with these intensive interventions for students with very significant reading and math problems. A second finding is that while students make gains, these gains are inadequate to compensate for how far they are behind on grade-level math and reading. So the gains are promising, but they don’t close the gap. So this suggests that the interventions will probably need to be implemented for longer periods of time, not just six months or a year, but years. Thirdly we are learning that students respond better when the group sizes are smaller or 1-on-1. Fourthly we know that students respond better when highly qualified personnel have opportunities to use standardized approaches with very explicit, systematic frameworks, but also we suspect and are getting some initial research to support the idea that these frameworks can be adjusted to meet some of the cognitive and academic needs of specific students, so that within a more standardized approach a flexible model for adjusting the instruction to meet the specific needs of the student is part of the framework.

Developed By: 
National Center on Intensive Intervention