Systems of Support to Prepare Students for College and Career Readiness

Systems of Support to Prepare Students for College and Career Readiness

Mary Ann Remsen (Middle Tennessee State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8322-6.ch010
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Successful implementation of response to intervention (RTI) models at the secondary level is dependent on schoolwide execution. However, because academic content is the primary focus of secondary educators, little attention has been focused on how to integrate RTI within career and technical education courses to strengthen college and career readiness. This chapter examines RTI practices at the secondary level with a focus on schoolwide implementation to incorporate systems of support in career and technical education courses. Current practices to support college and career readiness within schoolwide reform movements to incorporate RTI components and protocols are described. A revised model that incorporates a systems framework is discussed within career and technical education. Attention to career pathways, curriculum design, and intervention strategies are included as they specifically relate to college and career readiness. The information presented herein will be useful for educators seeking to improve RTI outcomes through schoolwide integration of intervention strategies to support student success after high school.
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Response to Intervention (RTI) is an intervention and prevention educational delivery model designed to assist struggling learners through a multitiered approach that provides research-based instruction at increasing levels of intensity over time. According to Fuchs, Fuchs, and Vaughn (2014), RTI intends to “improve the academic performance of struggling students with and without disabilities and to provide practitioners with a more valid means of disability identification” (p. 13). Although subject-matter mastery is a primary focus of secondary teachers, little attention is given to how to support students struggling within elective courses, such as career and technical education (CTE) courses, even though those struggles are often linked to poor reading and math skills. It is critical that educators keep in mind that the success of RTI is dependent on its implementation as a schoolwide intervention process (Johnson & Smith, 2008).

Career and technical education has a primary role at the secondary level in preparing students for employment due to the impact of globalization and the need for a more highly skilled workforce. Accordingly, current legislation is aimed at raising the academic and technical rigor of secondary and postsecondary CTE instruction to prepare students for entry into high-skill and wage occupations (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). As a result, many states have adopted common core standards (CCSs). These standards were developed to “ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life” (Common Core Standards Initiative, n.d., para. 2). As such, high schools are now taxed with providing all students with courses that will meet this CCS goal. Specifically, school districts are required to improve academic and technical quality in CTE programs by providing courses that combine academic and technical content. While some type of postsecondary education is the future focus for many students, others prefer to get their formal training while in high school and start their employment upon graduation. These are the types of students for whom the CTE classes were established. According to the U.S. Department of Education (2002), in 2002, high schools who had less than 50% of their student population on free and reduced lunch plans had 59% enrollment in CTE classes, and high schools that had more than 50% included in the lunch program had 49% enrollment in these classes. Based on these statistics, approximately half of the high school students in the United States are enrolled in CTE classes. Due to this large number, the RTI service delivery model should be incorporated into these courses so that the RTI-eligible students receive the same type of support they are receiving in their other academic courses, thus making RTI success more likely. Because students enrolled in career and technical courses are typically preparing for gainful employment or continued training after graduation rather than college, Fuchs, Fuchs, and Compton (2010) maintained that one important question that should drive RTI for struggling students in CTE courses is the following: “What are the critical targets for increasing the probability of successful adult life outcomes?” (p. 27).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Standard-protocol Approach: Strategy that focuses on the effect of instruction and intervention on student achievement.

Self-Determination: Skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a student to be engaged in goal-directed and self-regulated behavior.

Learning Style Inventory: Metacognitive strategy to promote student learning through an assessment of preferred learning styles.

Intervention Plan: A comprehensive strategy to meet a student’s academic and behavioral goals.

Mnemonic Device: Memory tool intended to help students learn and retain information.

Problem-solving Approach: A strategy used to improve academic and behavioral performance in middle and high school that includes the definition of a student’s problem, measurement of the current status of a student, establishment of goals, development of an intervention plan, implementation of the plan, assessment of plan effectiveness, and evaluation of results.

Frayer Model: Visual aid in the form of a graphic organizer used to support language and vocabulary development.

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