Article

TIES TIPS Foundations of Inclusion

TIP #8:
High Leverage Practices Crosswalk

TIES Center | TIES Inclusive Practice Series (TIPS)

Introduction

High Leverage Practices (HLPs) are strategies every teacher should know and use. Both general education (TeachingWorks, 2020) and special education (Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform [CEEDAR] Center, n.d.) fields have outlined specific HLPs that pertain to the respective populations of students. In the context of inclusive classrooms, both sets of HLPs must be optimized to support students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The purpose of this TIPs Sheet is to provide ideas for inclusive general education classroom implementation of those HLPs that are common to both general and special education.

High Leverage Practice Crosswalk

TeachingWorks (2020) at the University of Michigan designed the original set of HLPs for teachers. In response, experts from the CEEDAR Center at the University of Florida and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) outlined corresponding HLPs for special education. In addition, CEEDAR Center (n.d.) created a crosswalk which focuses on the similarities and connections between the two sets of High Leverage Practices. This TIP Sheet provides an extension of the crosswalk developed by CEEDAR and provides practical application for the inclusive classroom.

Implementation

In the CEEDAR Center crosswalk (n.d.), each general education HLP is listed with the coordinating special education HLPs that align with the instructional strategy. In the tables that follow we provide groups of common HLPs for special education and general education. We then illustrate each set of shared HLPs with a vignette from an inclusive classroom. In this inclusive classroom Mr. Carter is the general education teacher. He collaborates frequently with Ms. Salcido, the special education teacher, and Ms. Cardoso, the speech-language pathologist, so they can best support DJ, a student with significant cognitive disabilities and complex communication needs.

Participating in Group Discussions

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

1) Leading a group discussion

9) Teach social behaviors

14) Teach cognitive and metacognitive strategies to support learning and independence

18) Use strategies to promote active student engagement

Mr. Carter often starts class with a group discussion but notices that DJ does not seem to participate. He knows that DJ can use his communication device to greet his peers and ask for things he needs, but notices that DJ rarely uses it in class. Mr. Carter decides to ask Ms. Cardoso for advice. Together, they discover that DJ does not have the right words programmed on his device, which makes participating in group discussions downright impossible! They create a list of all the relevant words for the next unit and program his device so that DJ can participate with his peers.  Ms. Cardoso also does some pre-teaching with DJ on the unit content and relevant words as well as teaching him to raise his hand to participate.

Fading Supports for Answering Comprehension Questions

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

2) Explaining and modeling content, practices, and strategies

14) Teach cognitive and metacognitive strategies to support learning and independence

9) Teach social behaviors

16) Use explicit instruction

20) Provide intensive instruction

Mr. Carter knows that all his students benefit from modeling, especially when it is time to learn a new concept. He uses the “I Do, We Do, You Do” method to introduce the skill, practice it together, and then give students the opportunity to practice on their own. DJ is not always ready for independent practice, so Mr. Carter decides to use that time to work intensively with DJ on the skills he needs to be successful in class. For example, the class is working on referring back to the text to answer a comprehension question. Mr. Carter models how to look back in the text to answer a question with the whole class while he points to the text on DJ’s desk (I Do). Next, Mr. Carter leads the class through a second example where Mr. Carter frames where DJ should be looking in the text by outlining around the text (We Do). Lastly, Mr. Carter will ask DJ step-by-step questions to guide him through the process while DJ works to respond to each question (You Do).

Participating through Shared Thinking

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

3) Eliciting and interpreting individual students’ thinking

18) Use strategies to promote active student engagement

22) Provide positive and constructive feedback to guide students’ learning and behavior

Each student in Mr. Carter’s class knows they are expected to share their thinking and that it is a safe place to do so. Mr. Carter loves how much DJ has been participating now that his communication device includes the relevant words, but sometimes DJ can be off-topic. Both Mr. Carter and Ms. Salcido help shape DJ’s contribution through positive and constructive feedback. An example of this is acknowledging DJ’s response to a question and providing support to go to the text to verify (or revise) DJ’s response, based upon what is found in the text.

Reviewing Complex Concepts

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

4) Diagnosing particular common patterns of student thinking and development in a subject-matter domain

12) Systematically design instruction toward a specific learning goal

13) Adapt curriculum tasks and materials for specific learning goals

Over the years, Mr. Carter has realized that he needs to do a quick review of division before introducing fractions. This makes him wonder if there are any other skills that he needs to “break-down” for DJ. He works with Ms. Salcido to create a plan to teach some of those more complex skills in smaller “chunks” so DJ can be successful in class.

Creating a Respectful Learning Environment

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

5) Implementing norms and routines for classroom discourse and work

7) Establish a consistent, organized, and respectful learning environment

9) Teach social behaviors

At the start of each year, Mr. Carter reviews the rules for respectful discussions in his class. It is an excellent opportunity to address social skills for all participants. He makes sure to include information this year about “think and response time,” as DJ takes a little longer than his peers to share his thoughts using his communication device.

Responding to Student Learning with Scaffolded Supports

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

6) Coordinating and adjusting instruction during a lesson

15) Provide scaffolded supports

Mr. Carter knows the value of formative assessment and he uses it throughout his lessons to ensure student understanding, adjusting his instruction when necessary. More complex and abstract skills are typically difficult for DJ, so he scaffolds the skills when needed by breaking the task into small chunks so that DJ can access them.  One strategy that Mr. Carter often uses is a graphic organizer to break down and illustrate key points.  This approach benefits all students in the class.

Managing Challenging Behavior

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

7) Specifying and reinforcing productive student behavior

8) Provide positive and constructive feedback to guide students’ learning and behavior

10) Conduct functional behavioral assessments (FBA) to develop individual student behavior intervention support plans (BIP)

DJ has begun to show some task refusal during math time, and Mr. Carter hypothesizes that it is because the work is challenging. In collaboration with Ms. Salcido, they develop a functional behavioral assessment and behavior intervention support plan for DJ. Mr. Carter always phrases his feedback to students in a positive way, indicating what they should do, instead of focusing on what they should not do, so he recognizes the importance of a replacement behavior. He and Ms. Salcido decide to teach DJ to ask for help when he becomes frustrated.

Establishing Routines

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

8) Implementing organizational routines

7) Establish a consistent, organized, and respectful learning environment

In Mr. Carter’s classroom, everything has its place. He uses color coding, labels, and visual cue cards to show where things go and what the expectations are. This not only helps DJ, but all of his students to become more independent learners.

Using Small Group Instruction

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

9) Setting up and managing small group work

17) Use flexible grouping

18) Use strategies to promote active student engagement

It can be hard to find time in his schedule to include small group activities, but Mr. Carter knows how important it is. Not only does it give his students time to collaborate and discuss concepts more in depth, it also gives him the time to sit with each small group and check for understanding. Mr. Carter switches up the small groups frequently, to ensure everybody gets a chance to work with people with different personalities, skill levels, and interests. Whenever he starts a new group, he checks in with DJ’s group first, to make sure everybody in the group is including him in the conversation, and that DJ has a meaningful way to engage with his peers.  Ms. Salcido frequently supports small group instruction as well, providing additional support to Mr. Carter and all students and learning more about the curriculum and DJ’s access and progress in grade level content.

Building Rapport

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

10) Building respectful relationships with students

7) Establish a consistent, organized, and respectful learning environment

9) Teach social behaviors

Mr. Carter has a special greeting that he uses with each student. Some students give a high five, others a handshake, and others do a little dance. Whatever the form, Mr. Carter teaches each student the power of a greeting. This works great for DJ because one of his IEP goals is to initiate greetings with familiar adults and peers, so Mr. Carter has lots of data to share with the speech teacher, Ms. Cardoso.

Communicating with Parents

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

11) Talking about a student with parents or other caregivers

2) Organize and facilitate effective meetings with professionals and families 

3) Collaborate with families to support student learning and secure needed services

Mr. Carter communicates with all his parents on a regular basis. He sends home weekly newsletters, and makes “good news” calls home as often as he can. Mr. Carter knows that DJ’s parents appreciate any information he can give them because DJ does not communicate the same way his peers do. He also takes care during IEP meetings to emphasize DJ’s strengths, before moving on to discuss areas of need.

Collaborating with Families

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

12) Learning about student’s cultural, religious, family, intellectual, and personal experiences and resources for use in instruction

3) Collaborate with families to support student learning and secure needed services

4) Use multiple sources of information to develop a comprehensive understanding of a student’s strengths and needs

At the beginning of the year, Mr. Carter sent home a “Need to Know?” form for families to fill out, where they could tell him anything they thought was important for him to know about their child. Some parents included information about their religious beliefs, some about custody arrangements, and some about past experiences that they believed were relevant to their child’s education. He also included a place for parents to indicate whether they wanted to speak with him more in depth. DJ’s parents checked this, and so they met as a team at the beginning of the year. DJ’s parents really appreciated the opportunity to meet with Mr. Carter, and to share information about their son’s strengths, needs, medical concerns, and more.

Setting Goals

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

13) Setting long- and short-term learning goals for students

11) Identify and prioritize long- and short-term learning goals

19) Use assistive and instructional technologies

At the beginning of the year, Ms. Salcido met with Mr. Carter to go over DJ’s IEP goals. This was really helpful, because it helped Mr. Carter be aware of what DJ needed to work on. Although DJ’s goals are standards-based, they do not cover all of the standards. Mr. Carter does need to cover all the standards in his teaching. So now, when he is writing his unit plans, Mr. Carter collaborates with Ms. Salcido and includes long- and short-term goals for DJ and his classmates. They are written succinctly and without jargon; but it is something that Mr. Carter believes has helped all of his students!

Sequencing Lessons

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

14) Designing single lessons and sequences of lessons

12) Systematically design instruction toward a specific learning goal

Mr. Carter likes to look to the end goal when he is writing his lesson plan. He always starts with a unit plan, and then develops single lesson plans. Mr. Carter has noticed that the lessons are still a little too complex for DJ. He decides to collaborate with Ms. Salcido, and together they use the principals of systematically designed instruction to develop task analyses and mini-lessons to help address any knowledge or skill gaps or priority concepts.  Ms. Salcido also supports instruction via co-teaching, working with small groups of students, and delivering individualized instruction for DJ and others who need additional support prior to, during, or following unit completion.

Checking for Understanding

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

15) Checking student understanding during and at the conclusion of lessons

6) Use student assessment data, analyze instructional practices, and make necessary adjustments that improve student outcomes

Mr. Carter keeps a data sheet to help guide his formative assessment. He walks around the room while the students are doing independent or partner work and checks off whether they can demonstrate the skill of the day (which he gets from his lesson plans). If they cannot, he gives them additional instruction during small group time. Because DJ does not show his understanding the same way as his peers, Mr. Carter always has a modified quick-check for him. For example, sometimes he uses response cards and has DJ identify the appropriate one to determine whether he is making progress toward his short-term goals.  Ms. Salcido engages in this formative assessment as well and often creates the modified quick-checks for DJ.

Utilizing Assessments

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

16) Selecting and designing formal assessments of student learning

6) Use student assessment data, analyze instructional practices, and make necessary adjustments that improve student outcomes

Mr. Carter feels that it is very important that DJ is included in all aspects of the classroom community, including assessments. He meets with Ms. Salcido a week before the assessment to review the unit goals and skills. Together, they develop a differentiated assessment so DJ can show what he knows.

Responding to Progress

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

17) Interpreting the results of student work, including routine assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and standardized assessments

1) Collaborate with professionals to increase student success

4) Use multiple sources of information to develop a comprehensive understanding of a student’s strengths and needs

5) Interpret and communicate assessment information with stakeholders to collaboratively design and implement educational programs

Once DJ takes his differentiated assessment, Mr. Carter reviews it with Ms. Salcido. Together, they consider any areas where DJ may have made errors and determine how they will respond. Some skills are extremely important for DJ to make progress in future units, but others may not need to be a priority.

Providing Feedback

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

18) Providing oral and written feedback to students

22) Provide positive and constructive feedback to guide student’s learning and behavior

Mr. Carter uses descriptive verbal praise whenever providing feedback with his students. He has found that it increases their learning and motivation. It is no different with DJ, who absolutely loves social praise! Mr. Carter teaches his students to provide feedback to each other as well, using scripted phrases, response cards, and more.

Reflecting on Instructional Practices

High-Leverage Practices in General Education

High-Leverage Practices in Special Education

19) Analyzing instruction for the purpose of improving it

6) Use student assessment data, analyze instructional practices, and make necessary adjustments that improve student outcomes

DJ is the first student with significant cognitive disabilities that Mr. Carter has taught. And Ms. Salcido is not an expert in the general education curriculum.  Although they have learned a lot this year, there is still more to learn. Mr. Carter and Ms. Salcido continuously evaluate their own teaching, ask for help from other teachers, and visit the TIES website for more resources. Mr. Carter and Ms. Salcido are well on their way to becoming great co-teachers for all students!

Summary

In summary, High Leverage Practices are really just best practices. Although separate HLPs have been developed for general education and special education teachers, there is a significant amount of crossover. These are strategies and practices that are effective for all students! By incorporating these practices into daily instruction in inclusive settings, students will have increased opportunities to succeed.

References

  • Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform [CEEDAR] Center. (n.d.). High-leverage practices crosswalk​. Retrieved from https://ceedar.education.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/HLP-Crosswalk-with-PSEL1.pdf

  • High-leverage practices in special education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://highleveragepractices.org/

  • McLeskey, J., Barringer, M.-D., Billingsly, B., Brownell, M., Jackson, D., Kennedy, M., … Ziegler, D. (2017). High-leverage practices in special education. Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children & CEEDAR Center.

  • Teaching Works. (2020). High-leverage practices. Retrieved from http://www.teachingworks.org/work-of-teaching/high-leverage-practices

TIPS Series: Tip #8, April 2020

All rights reserved. Any or all portions of this document may be reproduced without prior permission, provided the source is cited as:

  • Clausen, A., Reyes, E. N., & Wakeman, S. (2020). High-Leverage Practices Crosswalk (TIPS Series: Tip #8). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, TIES Center.

TIES Center is the national technical assistance center on inclusive practices and policies. Its purpose is to create sustainable changes in kindergarten-grade 8 school and district educational systems so that students with significant cognitive disabilities can fully engage in the same instructional and non-instructional activities as their general education peers, while being instructed in a way that meets individual learning needs. TIES Center is led by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota, and includes the following additional collaborating partners: Arizona Department of Education, CAST, University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina – Charlotte, and University of North Carolina – Greensboro.

TIES Center is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326Y170004) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Education or Offices within it. Project Officer: Susan Weigert

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