Academic Intervention Services (AIS)
The following frequently asked questions regarding AIS is taken from the NYSUT.ORG website http://nysut.org/ais/faq.html and is reprinted here for ease of reading.
1. What are academic intervention services (AIS)?
Academic intervention services help students who are struggling to achieve the learning standards in English language arts and mathematics in grades K-12, and social studies and science in grades 4-12. These additional general education services include:
2. How does a student become eligible for academic intervention services and when should they start?
There are two ways a student becomes eligible for AIS.
3. What is the 'state-designated performance level' on state assessments?
Each year the elementary and intermediate state assessments will have four designated performance levels on each assessment.
All students who score at Levels 1 and 2 must receive academic intervention services. The services for a particular student should vary in intensity based on the student's needs as measured by state assessments and other information on the student's performance.
Students with the most intensive needs would receive more scheduled services, for a longer duration, with individualized instruction. Students with less intensive needs (those in the upper range of level 2) might only receive student support activities such as regular progress checks, additional assessments and meetings with the classroom teacher to adjust instruction, if necessary. Records of this service should be kept, as for all AIS services.
4. What state assessments trigger AIS and how soon should parents and teachers be informed that children need AIS?
State tests that trigger AIS are as follows:
- Grade 4 Math and English Language Arts Tests - Score of 1 or 2
- Grade 4 ESPET (Science) - Score of 30 or less on objective portion
- Grade 5 Social Studies Test - Fail to meet performance standard
Intermediate - administered in grade 8
- Math and ELA Tests - Score of 1 or 2
- Science and Social Studies Tests - Fail to meet state-designated performance standard
- Regents examinations: ELA, Math A, any of the four science disciplines (Living Environment, Earth Science, Chemistry and Physics), Global History and U.S. History - Fail to meet the score of 55 or 65, depending on when the student entered ninth grade and whether the district has adopted the 55 to 64 model.
According to the Commissioner's Regulations, school districts must provide AIS to indentified students no later than the beginning of the semester following a decision that a student needs AIS. Since most state assessments are administered in the spring, school principals should notify parents in writing of their child's results prior to the start of the next school year (September 1).
5. How are students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 3 identified for AIS?
Each school district's AIS plan must describe procedures to determine if a student lacks reading readiness on a student assessment or is at risk of not achieving a level 3 on the English language arts and/or mathematics assessment. The district's procedures may also include diagnostic screening for vision, hearing and physical disabilities as well as a screening for possible limited English proficiency.
6. How are high school students identified for AIS?
Any student who scores below level 3 on an intermediate assessment must receive AIS in high school. In addition, any student who fails a Regents examination in English language arts, mathematics, social studies, or science must receive AIS. The district's AIS plan must also include procedures for identifying high school students who are at-risk of not meeting state standards at this level of schooling. At the high school level, AIS cannot be postponed until students are scheduled for a course in which AIS is needed.
7. What options could be used to vary the intensity of services?
Students should not be taken out of regular instruction. Schools should include as many options as are necessary to meet the range of student needs including:
Individual academic intervention service plans are not required for students. Students should receive services based on the intensity of services needed.
8. Must academic intervention services be provided to students with disabilities?
Students with disabilities must have access to AIS in the same manner as students without disabilities, that is, by scoring below the designated performance level on state assessments or through the district procedures described in its AIS plan. Academic intervention services are a part of general education and must not supplant special education services.
The school district must provide AIS to the "extent consistent" with the student's individualized education program (IEP). To the "extent consistent" means that appropriate accommodations, supports and test accommodations must be provided when AIS is implemented to assure that these students benefit from AIS. AIS providers must receive a copy of the student's IEP.
9. Is the school district required to develop a plan describing its academic intervention services?
As of July 1, 2000, each school district must have a written plan of the academic intervention services to be offered in grades K-12. This plan must specify procedures for identifying eligible students in all grades including those grades where there are no state assessments in English language arts or mathematics and in those grades where there are no state assessments in social studies or science. The district's plan must be reviewed and revised, based on student performance results every two years beginning on July 1, 2002. School districts should ensure that a variety of developmentally appropriate assessments and other student information must be used to determine if:
The district, in consultation with each school, is responsible for developing the description of services for all schools and presenting it to the board of education for approval. Any variations to the general plan that apply to specific schools must be included in the district description. Variations to the general description should be based on each school's review of its students eligible for AIS.
10. Who should be involved in developing the description of the AIS?
Administrators, classroom teachers, special area teachers, counselors/pupil personnel staff, parents, community members and students, if appropriate, should be involved in the development of the AIS plan. School districts should also identify the roles and responsibilities of these individuals as well as for those responsible for oversight, monitoring and review of services.
11. Who is responsible for the implementation of AIS?
The building principal is responsible for ensuring that each eligible student receives AIS according to the procedures and description of services included in the district's AIS plan.
12. How should the parent(s) be notified that their child is eligible to receive AIS?
Parent(s) must be notified in writing by the principal of the school that the student attends that their child will be receiving academic intervention services. This notification must be provided to the parent prior to the start of AIS. Such notice must be provided in English and translated, when appropriate, into a parent's native language. Other forms of communication may be necessary, as well, for example, for the visually impaired. This notification must include:
13. How should the school notify the parent(s) that a student no longer needs AIS?
Parent(s) must be notified in writing by the principal of the school that academic intervention services for his/her child will be discontinued. Such notice must:
14. Is the school required to provide on-going communication to the parent(s) of a student receiving AIS?
At a minimum, parent(s) of a student receiving academic intervention services must receive the following:
15. May parents refuse to have their children receive academic intervention services?
Parents may not refuse to have their children participate in AIS if it is offered within the regular school day. Parents should freely express their concerns about AIS. School staff should share evidence of the student's need for academic intervention services, and work with the parent(s) to assure the provision of appropriate academic intervention services. Placement in educational programs during the regular school day, however, remains the responsibility of the district and school.
According to the State Education Department, a student is required to participate in appropriate academic programs during the regular school day. Hours of compulsory attendance are district-determined and a school district may, by board resolution, extend the school day. However, attendance in summer school programs or programs beyond the regular school day are voluntary and not compulsory.
16. May parents advocate for their children to receive academic intervention services or request changes in services being provided to them?
Parents may advocate for their children to receive academic intervention services. The district should, in a timely manner, listen to parental concerns and review the student's school record and assessment results to determine if the child meets eligibility criteria for AIS. Parents and teachers may also request changes in the program of academic intervention services being provided to a child. District and school staff should work with parent(s) to:
17. What should parents and teachers look for in a student's AIS program?
Here is a list of 10 things:
18. What funding sources can a district use to support the academic instruction and student support service components included in academic intervention services?
In addition to local funds, school districts may use state and federal funds for supporting academic intervention services. Federal funds include those that are available under the recently enacted "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001.
19. What are the qualifications of staff who provide academic intervention services?
Staff who provide academic intervention services must be appropriately certified for the area(s) of their instructional assignment - reading, English language arts, mathematics, social studies, or science, or for the area of their student support service assignment, such as pupil personnel services.
20. Does AIS affect whether a student can receive a high school diploma?
The receipt of a high school diploma is based on meeting specific course requirements and successfully passing required Regents examinations. AIS helps students to meet learning standards and to pass their examinations
A Guide to Academic Intervention Services (AIS)
Questions relating to policy issues should be directed to the State Education Department (SED) Office for Compensatory Education at (518) 473-0295
Following are several national Web sites that provide information on family involvement:
ERIC National Parent Information Network
A wealth of information for parents and educators working with parents.
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)
A rich resource on teaching and learning, including A Parents Guide to the Internet.
U.S. Dept of Education Publications and Productions
Publications for parents, plus eductional research, improvement reports and studies, partnerships and family involvement.
Excellence source on assessment, specifically for parents.
National Parent Teachers Association
Information on programs and advocacy to help children achieve.