Social Studies and RTI

Social Studies and RTI

Louise Brooks (Independent Researcher, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8322-6.ch009
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The response to intervention (RTI) service delivery model has been used primarily in the secondary language arts (reading) academic content area and in the various math courses. RTI has rarely, if at all, been introduced in secondary social science courses, even though students struggle in these courses due to the increase in reading and math content embedded within them. This chapter focuses on the implementation of RTI in social studies courses at the secondary level. The utilization of a universal screener, tiers, progress monitoring, and fidelity is discussed, followed by a presentation of specific examples of research-based interventions that can be used at each tier level in the social sciences content areas.
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Rti Components

As discussed in detail in the previous companion chapter on science, the most common format of the RTI service delivery model includes universal screening, tiers, progress monitoring, and fidelity. This chapter will not go into detail again on each of these aspects (see Chapter 8 for a detailed explanation) but does present a few details specific to social studies.

As mentioned in Chapter 8, the universal screening tool can be a state-mandated assessment given annually, a curriculum-based measurement assessment developed by the academic content teacher, or a standardized test that the school district or school has adopted. For example, the General Education Development has practice tests for the variety of subjects covered in social science classes. These assessments can be found at These tests give the student immediate feedback that shows the correct answers and which areas need to be studied more. There is also a section that allows the teacher to customize a test for a specific area of social sciences, and then students can go onto the website and take it.

For progress monitoring, vocabulary matching is an excellent curriculum-based progress monitoring tool for use in social science classes. Several studies have been conducted on this tool, and the findings regarding its effectiveness are positive. For example, Espin, Busch, Shin, and Kruschwitz (2001) examined the use of vocabulary matching for progress monitoring in social studies and reported, “This measure serves as a good measure for both performance and progress monitoring” (p. 144).

Table 1 demonstrates a condensed list of vocabulary words a high school student can expect to encounter during social studies classes.

Table 1.
Key social studies terms for high school
General Content Vocabulary for High School Social Studies Classes (Condensed List)

Note. Adapted from Key Social Studies Terms for High School, by WSFCS Workstation, n.d., Copyright 2002-2014 by Schoolwires Inc.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Universal Screener: Assessment tool used to determine if a student is on or behind grade level. This tool can be a state assessment, a commercial norm or criterion-referenced test, or a curriculum-based measurement.

Guided Notes: Copies of class lecture notes provided to a student with important facts left blank. The student is then responsible for filling in the missing information.

Middle and High School Social Science: Classes in social studies, psychology, history, economics, and government.

Vocabulary Matching: Matching a term to its definition.

Social Studies: The study of social relationships and how society functions.

Literacy Skills: The process of learning to read academic, content-specific vocabulary.

Progress Monitoring: Charting student progress at least weekly to ensure that the intervention is working.

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