In response to the federal re-authorization of IDEA in 2004, Michigan’s Department of Education(MDE) developed general criteria for determining the existence of a specific learning disability, which was released in May 2010. Each school district was required to make its decision about the evaluation process public by September of 2010. The MDE states that if a school district does not have guidelines established for a Response to Scientifically Based Intervention (commonly referred to as RTI), then the school district must utilize Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW) in determining SLD eligibility.
Consistent with MASP’s Response to Intervention (RTI) position statement adopted in 2006, the MASP Board emphasizes that RTI should be used to inform instruction and used as part of a comprehensive evaluation to determine SLD eligibility. The board’s position on the role of cognitive and academic assessment is outlined in that document. Schools that do not have a current RTI plan are encouraged to direct their efforts towards building consensus and the infrastructure necessary to move toward implementation of that model. Professional development for school psychologists on the skills necessary to implement RTI practices with fidelity continues to be a mission of MASP. While there is critical debate at the national and state level on how to operationalize PSW, the position of the MASP board is that the use of PSW alone serves as an interim SLD identification process, not a new alternative method.
Adopted by the MASP board at its regular meeting on March 17, 2011.
The original MASP RTI guidance document from 2006 is available for download here.