• 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). 
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