Response to Intervention

Unpacking and Implementing RTI Using Technology

By: Valerie, Henry, Angela, & Brocha

What is RTI?

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a method that:

  • identifies students who are at risk for poor outcomes in academic and behavioral areas
  • provides them with systematically applied strategies and targeted instruction at varying levels of evidence-based intervention
  • adjusts the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness

RtI represents an important educational strategy to close achievement gaps for all students, including students at risk, students with disabilities and English language learners, by preventing smaller learning problems from becoming insurmountable gaps. The philosophy of RtI is to replace remediation, which goes into effect after a student falls behind, with intervention, which is designed to prevent academic failure. One of its underlying premises is the possibility that a child’s struggles may be due to inadequacies in instruction or in the curriculum either in use at the moment or in the child’s past.

The federal mandate is for states to have RtI in place for identifying students with disabilities in literacy K-4 by July 1, 2012. New York State has recently established regulations to conform with IDEA that not only address the use of RTI for learning disability determinations but also introduces the RtI process as a general education initiative. Regulations have included RtI as a methodology for addressing students’ behavioral needs as well, understanding that academic frustration may be the cause and/or the result of a student’s ability to self-monitor his or her behavior. The goals of RtI have expanded beyond the narrow scope of the federal mandate to include all subject areas at all grade levels.

Implementing Response to Intervention -- Prairie Children Preschool

Essential Elements and Key Terms

  • screening children within the general curriculum
  • tiered instruction of increasing intensity
  • evidence-based instruction
  • close monitoring of student progress
  • informed decision making regarding next steps for individual students

Universal screening means all students are involved in an initial assessment of knowledge and skills. From this universal screening, it’s possible to identify which students appear to be struggling or lacking specific knowledge or skills in a given area.

Evidenced-based interventions are a cornerstone of instruction within an RTI process. Within an RTI process, instructional strategies and interventions are based on what research has shown to be effective with students

Progress monitoring is constant checking of a student’s progress with whatever evidence-based instruction is being used. Progress monitoring keeps track of children’s academic development and helps pinpoint where each individual student is having difficulties.

Informed decision making for individual students. When used as part of a tiered instructional process, progress monitoring can provide the information by which informed judgments can be made about the student’s development. This includes the need to move to the next tier of instructional intensity, or perhaps be referred for a comprehensive and individualized evaluation under IDEA.

How Does RTI Work?

Process of RTI

Tiered instruction. Students identified through the universal screening as “at risk” or “struggling” then move through the general education curriculum with adapted and individualized interventions that increase in intensity. An RtI Process most often consists of a three tier delivery model that incorporates a problem solving process to make informed decisions regarding student improvement.

  • Tier 1: All students receive research-based high quality general education that incorporates ongoing universal screening, progress monitoring and prescriptive assessment to design instruction. At-risk children who have been identified through a screening process receive research-based instruction, sometimes in small groups, sometimes as part of a classwide intervention. Each student’s progress is monitored closely. If the child does, indeed, respond to the research-based intervention, then this indicates that perhaps his or her difficulties have resulted from less appropriate or insufficiently targeted instruction.

  • Tier 2: If, however, the child does not respond to the first level of group-oriented interventions, he or she typically moves to the next RtI level. The length of time in Tier 2 is generally a bit longer than in Tier 1, and the level of intensity of the interventions is greater. They may also be more closely targeted to the areas in which the child is having difficulty. Again, child progress is closely monitored. It is quite possible that, if the problem is caught early enough and addressed via appropriate instruction, the child learns the skills necessary to continue in general education without further intervention.

  • Tier 3: On the other hand, if the child does not respond adequately to Tier 2 intervention , then a third level becomes an option for continued and yet more intensive intervention. This third level is typically more individualized as well. If the child does not responded to instruction in this level, then he or she is likely to be referred for a full and individual evaluation under IDEA.
Pyramid Response to Intervention: How to Respond When Kids Don't Learn

Technology for RTI

SPECTRUM K-12 Applications

Spectrum K12 School Solutions Inc., the leading provider of Response to Intervention (RTI) software and student achievement management solutions for K-12 school districts, today announced that it recently passed the 400,000 students served mark in school districts employing its EXCEED™ RTI software. EXCEED RTI is a web-based software application that automates and delivers the Response to Intervention process, simplifying an otherwise cumbersome and paper driven process. Tracking, monitoring and managing intervention and student performance data, EXCEED RTI ensures fully-informed decision making and high quality instruction.


A web-based application that can help a school manage their RTI programs. It can monitoring an RTI program, collect data and track student progress and prescribe future instruction.

EXCEED Student Achievement Management System enables educators to target instruction specifically to the needs of each student. Through assessments and observation, teachers identify areas of difficulty for a student. The teacher can record this information in EXCEED and immediately set‐up a plan for intervention based on proven research‐based methods. Through progress monitoring, educators can assess the success of a given student intervention in real‐time, adjusting the intervention plan as needed. If a student is referred to special education, the entire intervention history is part of the same electronic record and is easily accessible by the appropriate staff. EXCEED is a Rich Internet Application, designed specifically with end user ease of use in mind.


IXL is a web-based math practice and skill-building application that is capable of tracking individual learners across grade level and skill development. It can be used from pre-kindergarten to algebra/geometry practice in grades 9-12. As students play math games, they are rewarded with game prizes (such as unlocking a new animal for their online zoo). IXL tracks a student against Common Core Standards and creates data sheets and graphs to measure student progress. It can also create data to identify whole class areas of need and suggest practice skills necessary to close gaps. IXL could be used in Tier I to help improve instruction as well as Tier II and III to provide targeted and individualized instruction.


Achieve 3000 is another great online tool that can be used for RTI. Achieve 3000 is a series of software for different age groups (KidBiz 3000, TeenBiz 3000) that can be fully integrated into classrooms using the web. It provides shared experiences in literacy with differentiated reading passages and integrates literacy to various content such as Science and Social Studies. Achieve 3000 is great for RTI because it is based on scientific research and allows for differentiation and progress monitoring.

Achieve3000 Solutions


How Do You Feel About RTI?

Break up into grade level teams or groups of 4-5 personnel. Within your group, talk about and jot down the following:

  • Describe 2 things you like about RTI
  • List 2 concerns you have about RTI
  • Share at least 1 tool (preferably a technology tool) that you think could be used by students or yourself to implement RTI