Improving Student Learning with RDA

This post is the eighth and final in a series based on a transcript from a recent Q&A with Dr. Alan Coulter as part of his webinar, “Prepare for Impact: 3 Key Questions About RDA for Every SPED Administrator.” Questions came directly from audience participants — special education directors, special educators and clinicians, and answers are from Dr. Coulter. Click here to see additional questions from the Q&A.

How can districts use RDA concepts to improve student learning?

Results-driven accountability (RDA), much like a number of school reform procedures, really emphasizes the use of evidence-based practices and evidence-based practices with fidelity.  A very important aspect of what’s going on in schools is related to the use of implementation science, trying to involve all the parties that need to implement something in the decision making around what gets selected to be implemented and how it is going to be supported over time.

The concepts of RDA really bring to bear a number of things that are going on across education today, such as the co-mingling of resources in a coordinated fashion and the coherence of ideas around what is going to work with students with disabilities. Most of those things in fact are just as effective with typical students. It’s very important to try to bring things together rather than operate things in silos not just with RDA, but with pretty much the evaluation of any of the federal resources that are being brought into schools.

Dr. Alan Coulter is an expert in special education accountability, and has worked at the federal, state, and local level on accountability issues for over twenty-five years. He has served on the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, and is currently the Director of Education Initiatives and an Associate Professor at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences and Human Development Center. Alan is also the director of the TIERS Group (Teams Intervening Early to Reach all Students). TIERS consults with state DOEs and district administrators on the quality and use of special education data. Alan is a key participant in the national discussion regarding Results Driven Accountability and focused monitoring.  His scholarly work and research is widely published in academic journals.