What is RtI?
Response to Intervention (RtI) is “the practice of providing 1) high-quality instruction/intervention matched to student needs and 2) using learning rate over time and level of performance to 3) make important educational decisions” (Batsche, et al., 2005). This means using differentiated instructional strategies for all learners, providing all learners with scientific, research-based interventions, continuously measuring student performance using scientifically research-based progress monitoring instruments for all learners and making educational decisions based on a student’s response to interventions.
RtI has three essential components: 1) using a three tier model of school supports, 2) utilizing a problem-solving method for decision-making, and 3) having an integrated data system that informs instruction.
1) Three-tier model of school supports: Within an RtI framework, resources are allocated in direct proportion to student needs. This framework is typically depicted as a three-tier model that utilizes increasingly more intense instruction and interventions.
Tier 1 is the foundation and consists of scientific, research-based core instructional and behavioral methodologies, practices and supports designed for all students in the general curriculum. At Tier 2, supplemental instruction and interventions are provided in addition to core instruction to those students for whom data suggest additional instructional support is warranted. Tier 3 consists of intensive instructional interventions provided in addition to core instruction with the goal of increasing an individual student’s rate of progress.
2) Problem-solving method of decision-making: Across the tiers, the problem solving method is used to match instructional resources to educational need. The problem-solving method is as follows:
(a) Define the problem by determining the discrepancy between what is expected and what is occurring.
(b) Analyze the problem using data to determine why the discrepancy is occurring.
(c) Establish a student performance goal, develop an intervention plan to address the goal and delineate how the student’s progress will be monitored and implementation integrity will be ensured.
(d) Use progress monitoring data to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention plan.
3) Integrated data collection that informs instruction: Within an RtI model, progressively more intensive interventions and supports are coupled with more frequent progress monitoring of student achievement in order to guide the educational planning. At Tier 1 data are collected and are used as a general screening process for all students and to determine the effectiveness of core instructional practices. At Tier 2 data are collected to determine the effectiveness of the intervention and determine if an instructional change is needed. At Tier 3, data are collected for the same reasons as Tier 2, but are collected on a more frequent basis so that educational decisions can be made in a more timely manner. Data systems used for screening and progress monitoring within an RtI model should be consistent across all three tiers and be scientifically based.
Progress Monitoring and Data Collection
RtI encompasses a three-tier process of increasingly intensive instructional interventions put in place in response to frequent progress monitoring indicating that a student’s academic and/or behavioral needs are not being met in the current instructional program. Such continuous monitoring leads to responsive levels of intervention matched to the student’s demonstrated academic and behavior achievement and rate of growth. In a fully implemented response to intervention model a student may move fluidly from tier to tier as a result of his/her response to the educational program.
Special Education Eligibility Considerations
When implementing an RtI process, school teams use student progress data collected at each tier to document a student’s response to scientific, research-based interventions as part of the evaluation process in order to consider eligibility for special education services. Such eligibility decisions typically occur within Tier 3 when students do not respond to the most intensive interventions, but may occur at any tier. It is also important to note that, a parent may request an evaluation at any point during this intervention process. This process may be used as part of the evaluation process for students considered for eligibility in other disability areas.