Using Single-Case Design in a Response to Intervention Model

  • T. Chris Riley-TillmanEmail author
  • Daniel M. Maggin


The purpose of this chapter is to describe a response-to-intervention (RTI) evaluation framework for improving the reliability and defensibility of identifying students with academic or behavioral problems that require more intensive support than the typical student gets. The framework advocated for in this chapter is based on single-case research methodology, which is a widely used experimental approach for validating educational, behavioral, and psychological interventions. The methodological principles underlying single-case research make it ideally suited for evaluating intervention effects and making data-based decisions in applied settings such as schools and classrooms. This chapter focuses on the advantages, methods, and additional considerations that are needed to establish a successful formative evaluation approach based on single-case research methodology.


  1. Barlow, D. H., Nock, M., & Hersen, M. (2009). Single case research designs: Strategies for studying behavior change (3rd ed.). New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
  2. Brown-Chidsey, R., & Steege, M. W. (2010). Response to intervention: Principles and strategies for effective practice. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  3. Burns, M. K., Riley-Tillman, T. C., & VanDerHeyden, A. M. (2012). RTI applications: Academic and behavioral interventions (Vol. 1). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, J. M., & Herzinger, C. V. (2010). Statistics and single-subject research methodology. In D. L. Gast (Ed.), Single-subject research methodology in behavioral sciences (pp. 199–233). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Chafouleas, S. M., Kilgus, S. P., Jaffery, R., Riley-Tillman, T. C., Welsh, M., & Christ, T. J. (2013). Direct behavior rating as a school-based behavior screener for elementary and middle grades. Journal of School Psychology, 51, 367–385. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2013.04.002.Google Scholar
  6. Christ, T. J., Nelson, P. M., Van Norman, E. R., Chafouleas, S. M., & Chris Riley-Tillman, T. (2013). Direct behavior rating: An evaluation of time-series interpretations as consequential validity. School Psychology Quarterly. doi:10.1037/spq0000029.Google Scholar
  7. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  8. Gast, D. L. (2010). Visual analysis of graphic data. In D. L. Gast (Ed.), Single-subject research methodology in behavioral sciences (pp. 199–233). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Horner, R. H., Carr, E. G., Halle, J., Mcgee, G., Odom, S., & Wolery, M. (2005). The use of single-subject research to identify evidence-based practice in special education. Exceptional Children, 71, 165–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Johnston, J. M., & Pennypacker, H. S. (2009). Strategies and tactics of human behavior research (3rd ed.). Routledge: New York.Google Scholar
  11. Kazdin, A. E. (2011). Single-case research designs: Methods for clinical and applied settings. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Kennedy, C. H. (2005). Single-case designs for educational research. New York: Pearson.Google Scholar
  13. Maggin, D. M., & Chafouleas, S. M. (2013). Introduction to the special series issues and advances of synthesizing single-case research. Remedial and Special Education, 34, 3–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Parsonson, B. S., & Baer, D. M. (1992). The analysis and presentation of graphic data. In T. Kratochwill (Ed.), Single subject research (pp. 101–166). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  15. Riley-Tillman, T. C., & Burns, M. K. (2009). Evaluating educational interventions: Single-case design for measuring response to intervention. New York: Guilford press.Google Scholar
  16. Riley-Tillman, T. C., Burns, M. K., & Gibbons, K. (2013). RTI applications: Assessment, analysis, and decision making (Vol. 2). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  17. Shadish, W. R., Kyse, E. N., & Rindskopf, D. M. (2013). Analyzing data from single-case designs using multilevel models: New applications and some agenda items for future research. Psychological Methods, 18, 385.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Sidman, M. (1960). Tactics of scientific research. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations