Is Your Intervention Cheating on You?

So, how many of you snickered the first time you heard the term “Fidelity of Implementation” at a workshop or conference?  The first time I heard it I thought I had entered into a binding nuptial at school.  Many of you have probably heard it go by several different names:  Fidelity of Implementation (FOI), Treatment Integrity (TI), Procedural Reliability (PR), etc. A general definition for FOI is the following: “delivering an intervention or treatment the way it is intended or prescribed with accuracy and consistency”.  This would include the technical aspects of delivery as indicated by the publisher or research study, and it would also include temporal aspects related to frequency (how often?) and duration (how long?).

Regardless of what you call it, though, it is often an under-appreciated aspect of the RTI process.  The truth is, if most of us were to track the percentage of time devoted to FOI, we would likely find it lacking in terms of time allocation at RTI meetings.  Many RTI teams spend a good portion of their time analyzing the problem, creating goals, picking progress monitoring tools, and devising interventions; however, how much time is spent discussing/tracking FOI?  The bottom line is we cannot attribute student outcome data to specific interventions unless we measure the extent to which the intervention plan was implemented.

So what do you think?  Check out the list below to see if your interventions are in trouble!

Top 5 ways to tell if your intervention is cheating:

5.  Merely mentioning the term “Intervention Integrity Check” elicits high levels of anxiety for all those involved.
4.  The intervention just isn’t keeping the same schedule it purports to keep (it is keeping weird hours).
3.  The implementation enthusiasm just isn’t there anymore.
2.  The intervention results are just too good to be true.
1.  Your intervention needs counseling.

Will you “renew your vow” to measure or track the FOI of your interventions? Have your interventions been cheating on you?  

~Jason Cochran