Research on push in vs. pull out services

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by waterfall, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Mar 11, 2018

    I am always hearing different things about what "the research" says, but feel like I've seen none of this "research" myself. Just based on my own experiences, I feel strongly that pull out is much better, despite hearing all four years of undergrad how push in is the only way to go. However, I have no research to back this up.

    I have a new P this year and she feels that doing only pull-outs leads to a lack of communication between sped and gen ed. I agree that lack of collaboration is a problem- I often talked about this with my previous P and we just couldn't figure out how to build more of this time in without taking instructional time away from students. I offer to meet before/after school, but very few people take me up on this.

    I'm not at all sure what her "vision" for this is or how much she sees us doing push in vs. pull out. I currently have 4 grade levels with kids in 11 different classrooms. Besides feeling like it's ineffective, I also find push-in to be mind numbingly boring and not a good fit for my skill set, so if the position changes to mostly that I won't stay.

    Admins, coaches, and "consultants" at my school love to talk about the John Hattie research on effect sizes. Has nothing like this been done for push in vs. pull out? I have done quite a bit of googling over the past few days and am finding absolutely nothing other than a lot of personal opinions ("research" done by just giving teachers opinion surveys) and some stuff that is 20 years old or more. Can anyone help me out with any actual research related to this topic?
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  3. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Waterfall, I can't speak to research but I can speak to having done both. I had about 150 students on my case load and like you felt strongly that pull out was best. However, what I found when I did push in was that it was better for my kids. (Just one experience but I thought worth sharing). Specifically it allowed me to help them in real time so it allowed them to get supports more readily. I was more in tune with what was happening in class and this led to better supports that were more responsive to their immediate needs. I worried about getting to everyone but actually found it easier to get to more kids when I went in than when I tried to pull them all out and I wasted a lot less time as I was the only one moving - not all my kids.
     
  4. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Mar 11, 2018

  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Mar 11, 2018

    Push-in is not for all kids. My district does both, but services are tailored to the individual kid. I’m the general education teacher in a co-teaching classroom. I have all the co-taught kids for my grade level, and the pull-out children are spread among the other three classes. My co-teacher and I have the same planning time (crucial), and we formally plan together once a week, but we talk daily. We parallel teach for math. The class is divided into four groups, and we each pull two groups a day. We have a scripted curriculum we use district wide, but we tailor our instruction to match each group’s needs. In reading, we each pull three groups a day. We have five reading groups, so I take three groups (either for a week or a novel depending on what we are doing), and she has the other two groups plus a group she works with using OG strategies. We rotate groups frequently so all kids see both of us, and we try to make it so if I have a kid in reading, she has them in math that day.

    If you want inclusion to work, I think there are some non-negotiables that must be worked out.

    1. Common planning time—at least once a week.
    2. Open communication. I co-taught with this colleague before this year, and it was a disaster, on so many levels. When we learned we were being paired up again, we sat down and had a very honest conversation about both our roles previously. We were both at fault for it going poorly, and we owned our mistakes and devised a plan to make it better. We check in with each other once a month during planning to make sure we are both feeling good about how things are going. She and I now not only have an excellent working relationship, but we’ve gained a good friendship as well.
    3. Split the work. We have a shared lesson plan document, and I know once we’ve split up the reading groups and determined goals for the week, she’s going to find her own texts, type it in the document, and prep whatever she needs. This is also helpful in the event either of us has a sub—we can check and make sure the other groups are on track. When we have a need for additional resources, such as multiplication tables for our group tables, she copied and laminated enough for both of us. I do the majority of the grading, but when we have assessments, she grades the ones she gives. This is huge to me because we have numerous quarterly assessments we give to the whole class in small groups. We determine report card grades together (standards based reporting here), and pre-AP recommendations for middle school were made together as well.
    4. Be flexible. Both people are going to have to make compromises.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Always, I can understand the "support in real time" thing. I do think it would better help kids with accessing the gen ed curriculum; in our set up right now we have little to no supports for that part. My concern is that I work in a low SES school and pretty much all of my kids end up referred to me because they can't read in the first place, and that's with very intensive, systematic and explicit phonics instruction using researched based programs pre-referral, both whole class and in title 1 groups.

    My kids need thousands upon thousands of repetitions with multisensory strategies to learn even the most basic of reading skills. My data on things like DIBELS (i.e. measuring the "teaching them to read" part) is pretty good, but they're not doing well on classroom assessments. Of course in the ideal world, we'd provide both supports, but we simply don't have the staff to do that. I feel like with only 2 sped teachers in a building of 600 kids, we're kind of forced to make a choice between the two, and I'd pick teaching the kid to read every time.

    Adgamity, I'm glad things are working out for you! It sounds like you have a really good set up. How many hours is the sped teacher with you per day? How many other classes does she have to work with? In our current set up if we switched to push in only (I don't think that's the idea, but just for argument's sake), I'd only be able to spend 20-30 minutes in each gen ed classroom per day. If we clustered the kids into one class per grade level, I could spend just a little over an hour in each room, assuming that any planning/meeting with teachers is done after school (obviously I can't have common plan time with 4 grade levels).

    I like your set up with the different small groups. Do you do whole group at all? Is the sped teacher in the room or what does she do during that time? I've seen many, many "co-teaching" set ups and while I know there are those "6 methods of co-teaching," all I've ever seen the sped teacher do is watch the teacher teach and help kids stay on task during whole group, and then possibly pull a small group aside to assist with the assignment during work time. That's how the sped portion of my ST was (and any practicum/field experiences I did) and I was bored out of my mind. I did a few "real" team-teaching lessons with my gen ed CT in that placement and found them to be wonderfully beneficial for the gen ed students. For the kids that were 2-3 years behind and needed that direct instruction on learning to read in the first place (which again, is pretty much my entire caseload), I still feel they needed something significantly more intensive than that.

    A few years ago we tried having the interventionists (title 1 teachers) and I push in to a grade level and do different small groups all at once (while classroom teachers also met with small groups). It did obviously cut down on transition time, and I appreciated that although I was "pushing in" I was still teaching. The system still didn't allow for communication between everyone though, and I personally felt that avoiding the noise/distractions in the gen ed room with all the different groups going on was worth sacrificing the 2-3 minutes of "travel time" that it took to do pull outs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  7. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Mar 11, 2018

    So waterfall, I am not currently co-teaching but I was last year. I was the one special education teacher in a school of 500 with 150 students with IEPs. I agree that certain things (like reading interventions) require pull out but we shifted towards more push in.

    In terms of timing, I had about 30 teachers teaching at any given time and my 150 students were spread across those 30 classes. BUT I found that if I targeted core subject time (i.e. language, math, etc) and targeted classes with higher numbers of students with IEPs my kids actually got more contact time.

    I really opposed the idea when we tried it. What I decided was that since my P wanted me to do it, I figured, I'll try it. If it is a disaster I can always go back. So I just started with planning to be in a classroom for an hour a day (usually 2 in that hour) and went from there. In terms of what I did, I really didn't have planning time with my teachers so it was about being flexible - sometimes we would co-teach, sometimes we would parallel teach, sometimes I would work with a group, sometimes we just both bounced around and helped.

    I would maybe look at what 1/2 hour could you get into classrooms and if you did what would meet the most needs.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I can't imagine how anything could even be remotely successful with 150 students! Was this a charter school? How is that legal? How are services provided consistently and how do you avoid lawsuits/how are parents okay with that? Are you not also responsible for writing IEPs, testing for evals/writing eval reports, progress monitoring, and meetings? If I had 150 that's all I'd ever do; there would be no time for actually seeing students. How are your kids making progress? You must just have really strong gen ed teachers who are mostly able to handle it themselves.

    What were you doing for pull outs before- seeing large groups 1x per week? I'm just not picturing how any of this would work out. I currently see most kids in groups of 2-6 for at least 30 minutes daily for reading and at least 25 minutes daily for math, and even that never seems like enough. In my home state there is a legal limit of 16 per caseload and it was common for each grade level to have their own sped teacher who either co-taught in one classroom all day or sometimes was split between just two classrooms in one grade level. The sped teacher was considered part of the grade level team. It was hard to go from seeing that in college to seeing what kids get here. I can't imagine being in your situation.
     
  9. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Mar 12, 2018

    Hi Waterfall,

    I am in a public high school in Canada. Yes, it is legal. Yes, I do all those things you list (in terms of paperwork). In high school, our kids mostly receive indirect services which means I do not have a schedule of pull outs. I pull students out based on need (which changes week to week). The exception to that would be if we are providing specific programming (like reading skills or social skills for example) and those I would schedule at set times. For example, I taught a two hour biweekly social skill program after school for about 6 years. I made it work by working a lot of extra hours. I would say my case load is pretty typical.

    I really think my best model was a combination of the two: pushing in for support with curricular material, pulling out for specific skills.
     
  10. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Mar 12, 2018


    The sped teacher is with me two hours a day—one hour for reading and one hour for math. She also co-teaches two hours a day with a fourth grade teacher, and has one group of resource pull-out kids. She has daily planning time with me and the fourth grade teacher (so two plan periods for her). My school has just over 600 students and 2.5 sped teachers due to numbers. I believe their load caps at 25 folders.

    We do not do any whole group during co-teaching if we can avoid it. There have been a few instances when one of us has lost our voice so the other took over, but we’ve found the “one teach, one assist” model is the least effective. We have also had some times when we’ve done “two assist”—-on those days when we really need the kids to try something independently but we know they will need some help. For those days, we both assist all kids in the class.

    That said, my co-taught students started the year 1-2 years behind. Currently, they are either on grade level or 1/2 year behind. I have some general education students reading at lower levels than any of my co-taught kids. The students who are 3-4 years behind are not co-taught.
     

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