Academic Intervention Services:; A Closer Look An Investigation of the Effectiveness of AIS

Christina Calarco, St. John Fisher College


Beginning in the fall of 2000, New York State (NYS) school districts were required to implement Academic Intervention Services (AIS) that linked under­-performing students with additional resources in hopes to improve their performance (See Section 100.l (g), 100.2(ee) of NYS Education Department Regulations). AIS regulations authorized the provision of additional instruction to students who needed extra time, support, and skills to meet the State learning standards. Questions arose as whether this was appropriate or the most effective way to reach the needs of all students. Regulations were put in place to decide who would be recommended for the given services. Specific guidelines for AIS planning were outlined as well. NYS regulations required that identified students receive services within one academic semester of their identification. State Education Department guidelines also suggested the use of strategies to vary the intensity of the intervention. Such strategies could include innovative ideas about scheduling or duration and the level of student-teacher individualization. The guidelines also clearly encouraged schools to create new instructional strategies to meet student deficits through AIS. Based on the recommendations from the state and the high-needs of the students at the school in which the study took place, staff had volunteered to make an effort to utilize an innovative AIS strategy involving a change in scheduling. Recommended students would meet for an additional eighty-four minute block during their standard class rotation. This schedule change would allow for extra instructional time for identified students and eliminate the issues with services that occurred outside the mandatory school day. AIS services were implemented in hopes that dramatic and effective results would occur. However, many times the services were not examined close enough or not adapted to meet the needs of the students involved. This study was completed to try to determine the true effectiveness of the additional instructional time; and to look closer at any other underlying causes for students not to succeed in this type of AIS. The analysis focuses on the implementation of additional instructional time for an identified group of students based on NYS regulations, and a placebo group of general education students that will not receive services. Through this investigation data will be studied to determine whether or not the services are effective and meaningful to the students. In addition further consideration whether or not the services improve student performance will also be examined.