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Kara Holtzman

VOL 1 ISSUE 1

Pull-out or Push-in? What do these terms mean, and how can they best help our struggling students?
The Problem
According to the California Department of Education, only 58% of all students in the state were proficient in English-Language Arts, and only 59% of all students in the state were proficient in Mathematics in 2012. Minority students, English Learners, and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged students are even less proficient in these subjects (CA Dept. of Education). About half of our students are not able to understand the content at their grade level, and that should not be acceptable. What is being done about this? Currently students who are at least a grade level behind in a subject, or an English Learner are receiving additional intervention support through either pull-out or push-in methods which are described below. This research will describe each program, the benefits and disadvantages of each, and give recommendations for successful interventions.
GROUPS Statewide Black or African American American Indian or Alaska Native Asian Filipino Hispanic or Latino Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander White Two or More Races English Learners Students with Disabilities English-Language Arts Target 78.0 % Met all percent proficient rate criteria? No Valid Scores 3,703,587 242,192 24,339 320,777 97,514 1,940,178 20,887 965,542 71,612 1,270,395 426,349 Number At or Above Proficient 2,153,431 110,319 12,120 256,770 73,587 909,541 11,496 714,571 52,592 1,045,644 515,815 152,305 Percent At Met 2012 or Above AYP Proficient Criteria 58.1 45.6 49.8 80.0 75.5 46.9 55.0 74.0 73.4 46.3 40.6 35.7 No No No Yes No No No No No No No No

Socioeconomically Disadvantaged 2,256,393

From CA Dept of Education 2012 State AYP report for EnglishLanguage Arts

Pull-out Intervention
Pull-out teaching is currently the most popular type of intervention for students who are a grade level or more behind in specific content areas. This is described as a method where students receive supplemental content specific or English Language Development instruction one on one or in small groups in a setting away from the regular classroom (Mcclure, Cahmann-Taylor, 2010). One problem with this method is that students are taken out of class during academic content to receive help in another content area. So while they are getting help in one area they are falling behind in another area (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999). In an interview with two third grade students receiving pull-out type assistance, they mentioned coming back to class feeling confused and behind because they are missing academic content when they are pulled out of class for reading or speech help.

Another issue is that generally the supplemental practice in the pull-out sessions are not related to classroom content, and just focus on lower-level skills (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999). Traditional pull-out sessions are routinized, and focus on a particular weakness. They lack holistic and individualized instruction (Jensen and Tuten, 2007). Due to this lack of individual instruction, and not being connected to classroom content, students stay in a cycle of pull-out interventions throughout elementary school without much success (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999).

Push-in Intervention
Push-in is a more recent intervention teaching method that can be done in several ways. One way particularly for English Language Learners is that an ESL teacher would be brought in as a co-teacher to assist with language content in the regular classroom for all or part of the day (Mcclure and CahmannTaylor, 2010).

A Newsletter for the Education Community

Kara Holtzman

VOL 1 ISSUE 1

Another type of push-in intervention is that a special resource teacher will come into the regular classroom and take one or a group of students aside for supplemental instruction in their areas of struggle. This can be done when the rest of the class is working on the same content area, or it can be done when the other students are working in a different content area (Mcclure and Cahmann-Taylor, 2010). Just like the pull-out method of teaching, the push-in style has its own difficulties. In the method where another teacher is in the room for all or part of the day co-teaching, there are sometimes power struggles between teachers. For example, they may have different techniques, and some classroom teachers do not appreciate the strategies of the resource teachers and make them feel less important (Mcclure and CahmannTaylor, 2010). Another issue is with the push-in methods where other teachers are brought into a classroom for a small period of time to help students with specific content. If both teachers are working on the same content area, then again there can be a power struggle and lack of communication. Or if the resource teacher is supplementing students in a different content area than the rest of the class, those struggling students will get behind in the content they are missing, just like in the pull-out method (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999). A 1st grade teacher interviewed about intervention methods stated that she wished all methods were discontinued. She preferred to work with students on her own so that they do not miss valuable academic content when they are gone or with another teacher. Research has shown however, that it is not feasible for the classroom teacher to take over all intervention teaching. Even if they supplement the learning of a small group of students, there are at least 15 other students to try to watch. So the teacher is not fully focused or able to keep the pace necessary for successful interventions (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999). So far research shows that students need additional help, but both pull-out and push-in methods seem unsuccessful. Are there any successes with either program, or is there another solution?

It’s Not All Bad
Now that both methods have been explained and the issues with each discussed, some positives that each program and additional solutions will be highlighted. Pull-out methods of intervention teaching can be successful, but they require certain elements. One successful program has been a reading improvement program called Reading Recovery (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999). The success has been based on several key factors. For reading to improve early intervention is important. Also the pull-out teacher must connect text to students’ classroom learning, include phonics, reading practice, and writing. The sessions should include no more than 8 children and be approximately 30 minutes per day. This is considered a holistic approach to better reading (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999). Another key to success whether it is push-in or pull-out is that there must be clear and understandable goals between the student and teacher. The goal is for the student to gradually improve to grade level and not get stuck in the intervention cycle (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999). In the push-in programs, success is dependent upon teacher cooperation. When there are two teachers in a room, both must respect each other, honor their techniques, and collaborate on lessons for the good of the students (Mcclure and Cahmann- Taylor, 2010).

Third graders interviewed stated that even though they miss out on some of the academic content in their classroom, they still feel that being pulled out to get additional help in other areas has helped their academic performance overall. A Newsletter for the Education Community

Kara Holtzman

VOL 1 ISSUE 1

Implications
While both programs have their drawbacks, there are successful ways of implementing both. In one school monitored, half of the students in the Reading Recovery pull-out program mentioned above, met or exceeded grade level reading expectations by the end of the year. This was much more successful than previous traditional pull-out programs based on improving specific weaknesses shown in testing (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999). The fundamental ideas of this reading program can be applied to all content area pull-out programs for more success. The program needs to be daily for approximately 30 minutes, students must have clear goals and scaffolding to succeed, content must be connected to classroom work, and assessments must be done to determine when to move forward so that students don’t remain at lower-level skills (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999). Push-in programs have also been successful, but require much collaboration between co-teachers. When there is collaborative planning, reflection, and sustained support from school administrators, coteaching has shown student growth in reading and math (Mcclure and Cahmann-Taylor, 2010). Another way that struggling students can be helped is through peer tutors. Research has shown that students who can read at least at a 1st grade level benefit from peer tutors (Wright and Cleary, 2006). Tutors should be one to two grades above the tutee, and be fluent readers. With sessions of twenty minutes each, two times a week, tutors and tutees both showed improved fluency in reading from the increased opportunity to read aloud and receive corrective feedback (Wright and Cleary, 2006). Lack of proficiency in English-Language Arts and Math is a serious issue for all students, but especially socioeconomically disadvantaged, English Language Learners, and minority students. Pull-out, push-in, and peer tutoring can all be successful interventions if instruction is individualized, teaches holistically, and there is collaboration between all teachers involved (Hedrick and Pearish, 1999; Jensen and Tuten, 2007; Mcclure and Cahmann-Taylor, 2010, CA Dept of Education, 2012).

References
California Department of Education (2012). Adequate yearly progress report 2012. Retrieved from http://ayp.cde.ca.gov/reports/Acnt2012/2012APRStAYPReport.aspx. Hedrick, W. & Pearish, A. (1999). Good reading instruction is more important than who provides the instruction or where it takes place. The Reading Teacher, 52 (7), 716-726. Jensen, D.A. & Tuten, J.A. (2007). From reading clinic to reading community. Reading Horizons Journal, 47 (4), 295-313. Mcclure, G. & Cahmann-Taylor, M. (2010). Pushing back against push-in. TESOL Journal 1.1, 101-129. Wright, J. & Cleary, K. (2006). Kids in the tutor seat: building school’s capacity to help struggling readers through a cross-age peer tutoring program. Psychology in the Schools. 43 (1), 99-107.