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  • Response to Intervention and Precision Teaching: Creating Synergy in the Classroom by K. Johnson and E. M. Street
  • Nancy Marchand-Martella
Johnson, K., & Street, E. M. (2013). Response to Intervention and Precision Teaching: Creating Synergy in the Classroom. New York, NY: Guilford Pres.s $30 (paperback); $55 (hardcover); $55 (library PDF); and $30 (kindle/EPDF).

Response to Intervention and Precision Teaching: Creating Synergy in the Classroom is a 2013 supplemental text authored by Drs. Kent Johnson and Elizabeth Street and published by Guilford Press. [End Page 181] This text features 10 chapters and five appendices showcasing Response to Intervention (RTI) and Precision Teaching (PT). Johnson and Street recommend “a marriage of two highly effective approaches to improving learners’ academic skills: RTI and PT” (p. x). RTI and PT have received increased exposure in recent years due to their effectiveness in both general and special education. These authors have merged explicit instruction with the technology of precision teaching, forming the basis of the Model of Generative Instruction (see Johnson & Street, 2004, 2012 for details). Adding a focus on RTI only seems to make sense when we examine educational best practices that appear to be demonstrated on a daily basis at Johnson’s private laboratory school, Morningside Academy, in Seattle, Washington (see the school’s website at for further information).

Chapter 1 (“The Response-to-Intervention Framework”) describes the RTI framework noting particular influences on this initiative from such areas as applied behavior analysis, PT, and curriculum-based measurement. Three groups are highlighted as influencing the RTI movement: (a) the evidenced-based group (e.g., Doug Car-nine, Robert Horner), (b) the specific learning disabilities group (e.g., Lynn and Doug Fuchs), and (c) the No Child Left Behind group (e.g., Amanda VanDerHeyden, Kent Johnson). Leading experts in the RTI movement are discussed (e.g., Vaughn, Fuchs, Deno) along with an in-depth explanation of RTI logic and the now famous RTI pyramid. This pyramid focuses on tiers 1, 2, and 3 for academic behavior and social behavior systems along with standard treatment protocol and problem solving approaches (academic) and universal, targeted, and intensive group/individual interventions (behavior). Five key components of the RTI framework are shared including universal screening, core curriculum, intervention programs, progress monitoring, and data-based decision making.

Chapter 2 (“Concepts and Principles of Precision Teaching”) overviews the concepts and principles of PT. PT includes five general steps: (1) define a learning objective, or pinpoint, of what the learner is to accomplish; (2) arrange materials for learning and practicing a pinpoint; (3) time learner performance; (4) chart learner performance; and (5) review performance trends on chart and make decisions. The concept of fluency and fluency with precision are explained including “Get the MESsAGe,” a mnemonic for remembering the five attributes of fluency (Maintenance, Endurance, Stability, Application, and Generativity). A standard celeration chart is introduced with discussion of decision-making and the mechanics of charting. A helpful PT resources section is provided at the end of the chapter. [End Page 182]

Chapter 3 (“Instructional Design for Precision Teaching”) begins with a classroom scenario to highlight aspects covered in the chapter. Three instructional design technologies are overviewed including (a) component-composite analysis, (b) kinds-of-learning analysis, and (c) learning-channel analysis. Defining instructional objectives with clear PT-based performance frequency criteria follow. Practice pinpoints and aims are described including discrimination practices and generativity probes. Table 3.5 is a particularly helpful summary of the instructional design steps in PT.

Chapter 4 (“Blending Precision Teaching Technology with the Response-to-Intervention Framework”) also begins with a classroom scenario designed to highlight important aspects covered in the chapter. The marriage of PT ad RTI as a “match made in heaven” (p. 57) describes how PT is ideally suited to be a partner in an effective RTI framework. Table 4.1 provides helpful interventions for six types of learning pictures on a standard celeration chart. Further, examples of how PT enhances RTI are provided, with an emphasis on screening, progress monitoring, and data-based decision making. Example practice sheets abound from Morningside Press along with a helpful math format taken from Stein, Kinder...


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pp. 181-185
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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Archived 2020
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