One of my research interests includes examining all aspects of tiered instruction for the inclusive early childhood classroom. This page includes a selection of research, writing, and presentations I've done specifically around tiered instruction. I am very interested in conducting further explorations of intervention fidelity and feasibility, social validity, and decision making models for classroom implementation. Specifically, I'd like to know more about how the inclusive teacher should implement and monitor tier one, two, and three interventions to ensure success for all children.


The Effects of Tiered Instruction on Conversational Turn Taking

Research Proposal Slides

During the 2009-2010 school year, I piloted a study examining the effects of tiered instruction on the frequency of conversational turn taking for children with and without disabilities in an inclusive preschool program. The elements of the tiered instructional model included universal design for learning, peer mediated instruction, and milieu teaching. Each child was provided with a different level of intervention based on his/her individual needs. I then conducted the study again during the 2010-2011 school year in a different classroom using an increasing intensity across subjects, single subject research design. Results were variable across children; however, the amount of data collected and variables analyzed will lead to a variety of possibilities for future research and writing.

Research Proposal - Lit Review and Methods

Graphed child results with overall trend lines

Universal Design for Learning Fidelity Measure


The Effects and Feasibility of Using Tiered Instruction to Increase Conversational Turn Taking for Preschoolers With and Without Disabilities

Robbins, S.H. (2013). The effects and feasibility of using tiered instruction to increase conversational turn taking for preschoolers with and without disabilities (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from OhioLINK. (kent1365610657)

Response to Intervention Goes to Head Start: A Head Start Graduate Student Research Grant Proposal

Project Abstract: There is an urgent need for teacher training to support children with disabilities in inclusive environments. In particular, Head Start personnel feel the urgency due to federal initiatives requiring larger percentages of children with disabilities to be served. Response to intervention (RtI) is a model of tiered instruction that has the potential to meet the needs of all children in early childhood classrooms where ability levels are increasingly diverse. The aim of the proposed project is to introduce an RtI model to Head Start classrooms in an effort to increase teacher use of research based strategies that support the learning trajectories of children with disabilities. Through a collaborative partnership and series of training sessions, the Head Start teachers will learn to utilize a tiered model of instruction to foster optimal outcomes at the classroom as well as individual child level. Fidelity of implementation and child response to instruction are critical components of the proposed project. The proposal was formulated through a collaborative partnership between the Akron Summit Community Action Head Start Agency and Sandra Hess Robbins from Kent State University .

Project Narrative


Robbins, S.H. (2013, April). A study of tiered conversational turn taking instruction for inclusive preschool programs. Presentation at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference: San Antonio, TX.

Robbins, S.H. (2011, November). Using increasing intensity designs to evaluate tiered instructional models. Poster presentation at the Division for Early Childhood International Conference: National Harbor, MD.

Increasing Intensity Design Poster

Grisham-Brown, J., Pfeiffer-Fiala, C., Hawkins, S., Robbins, S.H., & Harris, K. (2010, October). Implementing tiered instruction: Universal, targeted, and intentional strategies. Pre-conference session presented at the Division for Early Childhood International Conference: Kansas City, MO.

Tiered Instruction Slides

Robbins, S.H. (2010, April). Using LENA to guide tiered instruction: Promoting conversational turn taking in preschool. Poster presentation at the Language Environment Analysis System conference: Denver, CO.

LENA Poster

Robbins, S.H. & Jackson, S. (2008, October). Positive behavior supports: A model for success. Presentation at the Division for Early Childhood International Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Positive Behavior Support Slides

Jackson, S. & Robbins, S.H. (2008, October). A comparison between RtI foundational principles and early childhood recommended practices. Poster presentation at the Division for Early Childhood International Conference, Minneapolis, MN. 

RtI Principles Poster

Jackson, S., Robbins, S.H. & Harjusola-Webb, S. (2008, February). Comprehensive curriculum framework for tiered instruction: A response to intervention model. Poster presentation for the poster symposium at the Conference on Research Innovations in Early Intervention, San Diego, CA.

Curriculum Framework Poster

Handout Packet

Podcast Series on Curriculum Framework Implementation

Jackson, S., Darrah, M., Stacho, H., & Robbins, S.H. (2010, May). Bringing response to intervention practices to early childhood. Presentation at the Ohio Early Care and Education Conference: Columbus, OH.

Robbins, S.H., & Gongola, L. (2009, November). The effects of tiered instruction on preschooler’s social-communication skills. Presentation at the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence Conference: Columbus, OH.

Tiered Instruction Slides

Robbins, S.H. (2009). Program-wide positive behavior supports in preschool. Four part series presented for Ravenna school district preschool program: Ravenna, OH.

Jackson, S., Pretti-Frontczak, K., Robbins, S.H., Goss, S., & Korey-Hirko, S. (2008, May). Response to intervention: What does it mean for preschool programs? Presentation at the State Support Team Region 8: Cuyahoga Falls, OH.

Jackson, S. & Robbins, S.H. (2008, February). Response to intervention: What does it mean for preschool? Presentation at the State Support Team Region 8: Cuyahoga Falls, OH.