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Problem-Solving Model for Decision Making with High-Incidence Disabilities: The Minneapolis Experience



The problem-solving model (PSM) is used in the Minneapolis Public Schools to guide decisions regarding: (1) interventions in general education, (2) referral to special education, and (3) evaluation for special education eligibility for high-incidence disability areas. District implementation was driven by four themes: the appropriateness of intelligence tests and the IQ-achievement discrepancy for determination of eligibility, bias in assessment, allocation of school psychologist time, and linking assessment to instruction through curriculum-based measurement. This article describes how the PSM was designed as a three-stage process to measure response to intervention and used in the special education eligibility process. Program evaluation data collected since initial implementation in 1994 is reported in the areas of child count, achievement, referral, eligibility, and disproportion. The authors discuss the limitations of conducting PSM research in school settings, barriers to implementation of PSM, and make suggestions for enhancing treatment integrity.