KU News Service

Screening tools identify students with social, behavioral challenges

Wed, 07/31/2013

LAWRENCE — Teachers are trained to identify students who struggle academically. But it’s not always as easy to identify those who may struggle socially or behaviorally. A University of Kansas researcher is developing systems to support schools in implementing screening tools to look for students who might benefit from additional support academically, behaviorally and/or socially with the use of evidence-based strategies and practices.

Kathleen Lane, professor of special education and co-director of the Center for Research on Learning at KU, works with schools across Kansas and the nation to design, implement and evaluate Comprehensive Integrated Three-Tiered Models of Intervention, or CI3Ts. The CI3T model contains primary, Tier 1 for all; secondary, Tier 2 for some; and tertiary, Tier 3 for a few, levels of prevention designed to fit each school’s unique aspects. The integrated model offers a data-driven, graduated system of support to assist all students in the school, regardless of its size, from preschool through high school. The ultimate goal is to empower teachers to gather the information they need to form instruction, recognizing which students need help in which areas and provide that help.

“If I’m a student I might be doing just fine in learning to read but struggling with getting along with other kids on the playground,” Lane said. “Or perhaps I’m doing fine academically and don’t have behavioral issues, but struggle socially or have some combination that impacts my learning.”

Many schools have staff members dedicated to helping students who struggle in the classroom, socially or behaviorally, but other teachers and staff at those schools may not have the same training. The CI3Ts are designed to prevent silos and give teachers and staff throughout the school the skills to recognize and help students.

Lane recently received a grant from KU to launch Project Empower, a program to learn about some components of CI3T models in Kansas schools. Along with colleagues Wendy Oakes, assistant professor at Arizona State University; and Robin Ennis, assistant professor at Clemson University, Lane not only helps schools develop some initial understanding of CI3T systems, but she raises awareness of the importance of detecting and supporting students with behavioral and social struggles in an effort to ensure all students have an optimal experience in school. The program is similar to work Lane has done in schools throughout the nation.

The systems also make teachers and faculty aware of interventions and practices that have been proven effective at helping students.

“It allows you to systematically look at every student in the school and helps recognize how a school is doing as a whole,” Lane said of the CI3Ts. “It’s about a system-level change using evidence-based practices.”

CI3Ts models can assist school-site leadership teams in determining where schools are doing well in regards of helping students and builds upon that base with improvements and new practices every teacher can use.

“We want to empower teachers to meet students’ multiple needs: academically, behaviorally and socially, using information on behavioral and social performance to inform instructional programming,” Lane said.

KU students, you have three days left to file your FAFSA before the March 1 priority deadline. File yours today at

RT @KUTrack : The KU women will end day 1 of #Big12TF 2nd place in the team standings w/ 35.5 pts scored thru the first 6 events. #rockchalk
KU reaches out to build healthy communities KU students, faculty and staff are making positive changes in every Kansas community they touch. Researchers are finding new ways to help doctors ( treat obesity in rural areas. Students are volunteering for a ( suicide prevention hotline. Military veterans and their families are benefiting from ( Wounded Warriors Scholarship program. KU has also helped launch and market a new online tool that helps social service agencies ( more easily place foster children into compatible families. And KU’s pharmacy researchers are ( developing vaccines and drugs that will place Kansas at the forefront of an effort to save lives worldwide, while boosting the economy back home. See how we are building healthy communities here:

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times