All schools have a curriculum that should be accessible to all students. But, it’s an unavoidable fact that not all students will be able to access the material in the same way. In some cases, they might have great difficulties in accessing the material at all.

While many factors may be involved as to why not all students are able to access the curriculum in the same way, it is important that administrators and teachers find ways to make the curriculum accessible to all students so that they have a chance at achieving the instructional goals.

One way to help all students no matter what their ability is to use Academic Intervention Services (AIS). With AIS, schools create a team that assesses students, tiers students, and provides instructional interventions that will help the students succeed.

What is AIS?

Academic Intervention Services provide additional instructional supports to students with greater academic needs. Schools that want to provide AIS to students need to be ready to provide time and resources to these students.

The interventions, or instruction, are delivered according to a multi-tiered model that identifies students in need of support. In essence, students are assessed, tiered, and provided the academic interventions they need to learn the elements of the school’s instructional plan.

Coordination for assessment, tiering, and intervention are done by an AIS team. The AIS team can consist of but is not limited to, administrators, teachers, including special education and ENL educators, and any other school staff that can contribute to the goals of the team. The AIS team should work collaboratively with other school teams in deciding on tiering and supports for the students.

How Does AIS Work?

Academic Intervention Services include a process that schools can follow to ensure that all students, including those with greater academic needs, are getting the instruction they need to succeed. The basis of AIS is a tiered system in which students are grouped according to the intensity of the interventions they need. Students are grouped as follows:

  • Tier 1: includes 80-90% of students and covers the school-wide instructional practices.
  • Tier 2: includes 5-15% of students who need targeted, small group interventions.
  • Tier 3: includes 1-5% of students and includes students who need individual, intensive interventions.

With this tiered system, the AIS team decides which students should be put in the appropriate tier. It should be done with evidence-based assessment and careful analysis.

The procedure is to:

1. Assess the Students

Schools can use a school-wide assessment tool, such as a screener to assess student ability. However, it should not be the only data that is considered. Schools should rely on multiple data measures including writing samples, projects, assignments, and other student work.

2. Tier the Students

Once the data is collected, AIS teams should collaborate to decide on tiering students. Students who need little or no interventions are grouped in Tier 1 since they have the ability to succeed with the standard lessons that are part of the curriculum. Students who need small group interventions would be grouped in Tier 2 since they need extra help and benefit from learning in a small group setting.  The students who are in most need and require individual attention would be grouped in Tier 3 since they need intensive, one-on-one instruction.

3. Set up Interventions

Once students are tiered, the AIS team must decide on what types of interventions the students will need (reading, writing, vocabulary, math, etc) and implement the interventions into the students’ instruction.

4. Schedule

The AIS team must determine the best time to schedule the interventions for Tier 2 and 3 students. The interventions could take place during the school day, after school, or during a Saturday session.

5. Track the Interventions

The AIS team should keep track of what interventions are used for the students as well as the effectiveness of the interventions.

6. Reassess

Over time, the students must be assessed again to monitor the effectiveness of the intervention and whether or not the student is making progress. Once the students are reassessed, the cycle is repeated and the students are tiered again according to the latest data.

Schools should create an implementation timeline that includes when it will assess the students, tier the students, and reassess them as well as how many times during the school year the team will do this process. Regular meetings of the AIS teams, as well as any other school team that is collaborating on instruction, should also be scheduled.

How Can Schools Fit AIS Into Their Schedule?

Tier 1 students fit into the schedule easily since Tier 1 refers to the school-wide instructional practices that are being delivered every day to 80-90% of the students. These students are being instructed as the usual part of the program.

For tiers 2 and 3, the AIS team must decide when the intensive instruction will be delivered. Since these students require specific interventions that are different from Tier 1 students, Tier 2 and 3 students must be scheduled for these interventions during the school day or outside of the regular class schedule.

Because Tier 2 and 3 students need scheduling that is different from the normal school day, schools typically use a flexible scheduling model. Also referred to as “flex time” it refers to a period of time in the school schedule when students can receive the instructional interventions they need.

As seen in the example below, traditional 4×4 block schedule can be modified to include a daily flexible block. By taking 8 minutes from each block, this flex block can be created to provide daily support and intervention services to students. Time could be taken from lunch as well, if the time needed for intervention was longer, or if the school wants to take less minutes from instructional blocks. The benefit of having this time during the school day is that AIS can be more easily accessible to students. And, since all students will have this flex block, it can help take away the stigma of students who need additional support.

The next image shows another scheduling option for AIS. For schools that really want to create a more flexible schedule, a rotating schedule may help. This type of schedule rotates through a total number of assigned courses, and students typically have a different set of courses each day. If one of these blocks on time is used each day for AIS, think of the opportunities students could have to get support.

In addition to intervention, this daily time period would allow for enrichment offerings as well. The flex period could occur at the same time every day, or vary in its placement to ensure students can a good share of support for each of their classes.

Other scheduling options for these students to receive their instructional interventions are after school and during a Saturday session. For these options, the advantage is that the students have more time to attend regularly scheduled classes. The downside is that the school has to find teachers willing to stay after school or come to a Saturday session. In addition, these times may be outside of the teachers’ contractual day so the school may have to pay “per-session” money to the teachers to motivate them to stay.

Why Is AIS Important?

All students deserve the chance to learn. Schools have to find a way to make the curriculum accessible to all students with greater academic needs by providing targeted interventions whenever necessary. AIS gives students the opportunity to succeed by supporting them to learn according to the school’s instructional plan.

Enriching Students software can help you schedule your students for needed flex time. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to schedule a demo.

Let’s build a path to close the learning gap and enrich students’ futures.