Killing Off ‘Zombie’ Interventions: The Need to Root Out Ineffective Instructional Strategies

Posted on February 02, 2011

As districts move to full adoption of RTI, they must ensure that interventions used to address student academic and behavioral issues are evidence-based. Schools, therefore, should have a process in place to identify effective Tier 1 (classroom) intervention ideas that have strong empirical support and to get those ideas into the hands of teachers who serve as RTI ‘first responders’ (Fuchs & Deschler, 2007).

But even as research uncovers new effective intervention techniques, it also sometimes reveals an unwelcome surprise–that specific classroom interventions currently in wide use actually are ineffective or can even make student problems worse. Despite evidence suggesting that certain instructional or intervention strategies are harmful, however, schools often still cling stubbornly to those practices. Such discredited practices can be thought of as ‘zombie’ interventions—despite clear and compelling research arguing against their use, they resist eradication and linger on in classrooms all over the country. . . . . . . .  Read More at: