Response to Intervention (RTI)Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early
identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The
RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of
all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are
provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate
their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of
personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, and
specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate
and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about
the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student
response to instruction. RTI is designed for use when making decisions in
both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated
system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data.
For RTI implementation to work well, the following essential components must
be implemented with fidelity and in a rigorous manner:
High-quality, scientifically based classroom instruction. All students
receive high-quality, research-based instruction in the general education
Ongoing student assessment. Universal screening and progress monitoring
provide information about a student’s learning rate and level of
achievement, both individually and in comparison with the peer group. These
data are then used when determining which students need closer monitoring or
intervention. Throughout the RTI process, student progress is monitored
frequently to examine student achievement and gauge the effectiveness of the
curriculum. Decisions made regarding students’ instructional needs are based
on multiple data points taken in context over time.
Tiered instruction. A multi-tier approach is used to efficiently
differentiate instruction for all students. The model incorporates
increasing intensities of instruction offering specific, research-based
interventions matched to student needs.
Parent involvement. Schools implementing RTI provide parents information
about their child’s progress, the instruction and interventions used, the
staff who are delivering the instruction, and the academic or behavioral
goals for their child.
Though there is no single, thoroughly researched and widely
practiced “model” of the RTI process, it is generally defined as a three-
tier (or three-step) model of school supports that uses research-based
academic and/or behavioral interventions. The Three-Tier Model is described
Tier 1: High-Quality Classroom Instruction, Screening, and Group
Within Tier 1, all students receive high-quality, scientifically based
instruction provided by qualified personnel to ensure that their
difficulties are not due to inadequate instruction. All students are
screened on a periodic basis to establish an academic and behavioral
baseline and to identify struggling learners who need additional support.
Students identified as being “at risk” through universal screenings and/or
results on state- or districtwide tests receive supplemental instruction
during the school day in the regular classroom. The length of time for this
step can vary, but it generally should not exceed 8 weeks. During that time,
student progress is closely monitored using a validated screening system
such as curriculum-based measurement. At the end of this period, students
showing significant progress are generally returned to the regular classroom
program. Students not showing adequate progress are moved to Tier 2.
Tier 2: Targeted Interventions
Students not making adequate progress in the regular classroom in Tier 1 are
provided with increasingly intensive instruction matched to their needs on
the basis of levels of performance and rates of progress. Intensity varies
across group size, frequency and duration of intervention, and level of
training of the professionals providing instruction or intervention. These
services and interventions are provided in small-group settings in addition
to instruction in the general curriculum. In the early grades (kindergarten
through 3rd grade), interventions are usually in the areas of reading and
math. A longer period of time may be required for this tier, but it should
generally not exceed a grading period. Students who continue to show too
little progress at this level of intervention are then considered for more
intensive interventions as part of Tier 3.
Tier 3: Intensive Interventions and Comprehensive Evaluation
At this level, students receive individualized, intensive interventions that
target the students’ skill deficits. Students who do not achieve the desired
level of progress in response to these targeted interventions are then
referred for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for
special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The data collected during Tiers 1, 2,
and 3 are included and used to make the eligibility decision.
It should be noted that at any point in an RTI process, IDEA 2004 allows
parents to request a formal evaluation to determine eligibility for special
education. An RTI process cannot be used to deny or delay a formal
evaluation for special education.
In addition to variations in the tiers used to deliver RTI services, schools
use different approaches in implementation, such as problem-solving,
functional assessment, standard protocol, and hybrid approaches. Although
there are many formats for how a school might implement RTI to best serve
the needs of its students, in every case RTI can be a school-wide framework
for efficiently allocating resources to improve student outcomes.
Adapted from: RTI Action Network (www.rtinetwork.org).Find more valuable information about RTI by visiting my links page.