What follows are the steps to develop a hypothesis about what intervention is most likely to be effective. The Bare Bones Problem Solving Form was designed to be used with these steps. For a one page version of this webpage click here.

Step 1

Define the problem. Specifically, it is important to identify specifics about the academic concern. For example, what is the current reading level of the child? In relation to mathematics, what is the content area of difficulty (e.g. Counting & Cardinality or Operations & Algebraic Thinking)?

Step 2

Select some form of assessment so that the skill/s can be measured and monitored. Examples include Curriculum Based Measurement, weekly spelling tests, and mad minute math.  Ideally use a method endorsed by the National Center for Intensive Intervention (e.g. CBM), but if there is not an appropriate option use what you can (weekly spelling tests)!

Step 3a

Consider if the child can do the skill at all. If yes, go to step 3b. If no, select an academic acquisition intervention.

Step 3b

Consider if the child is slow or inaccurate with a skill that they are starting to learn. If the team believes it is generally an accuracy issue select that type of intervention, if the team believes it is a speed issue (and the child is highly accurate) then select that type of intervention. If a child can do the skill in an accurate and speedy manner, then this is a behavior issues and go to that sheet.

Step 4

After the intervention is selected, decide which of the following steps are necessary.

  • Develop a step by step guide to help do the intervention
  • Customize the intervention to the teacher/student/environment
  • Have someone help the teacher by modeling the intervention

Step 5

Try the intervention out for a week or two, and collect outcome data as described in step 2.

Step 6

Look at the outcome data (ideally graphed) and decide what to do next.

  • If it is working great, consider how to keep the intervention going
  • If it is working a little bit, consider how to intensify the intervention
  • If it is not working, go back to step 3

Quick Tip – Keep it light and quick. In the end, you only know if your educated guess as to the function of the behavior is correct when you try out the intervention and see if it works. So, spend time trying out the intervention – not in the meeting!