Response to Intervention (RTI)

Group C: Kerry O'Connor and Donald Paulson


  • Inform educators about RTI
  • Answer the 5 W's of RTI (who, what, where, when, why)
  • Introduce the 3 tiers of RTI
  • Provide an example of RTI in action
  • Present strategies and products using technology to benefit interventions

What is Response to Intervention (RTI)?

Response to Intervention, or RTI, can be defined in a few ways...

  • According to the National Center on RTI:

"...schools identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness, and identify students with learning disabilities or other disabilities" (NCRTI, 2010).

  • According to RTI Action Network:

"...RTI is a multi-tiered approach to help struggling learners. Students' progress is closely monitored at each stage of intervention to determine the need for further research-based instruction and/or intervention in general education, in special education, or both" (RTI Action Network, 2013).

Purpose: Who? What? Where? When? Why?

RTI is not for everyone. Specific students need RTI at different times for different things.

  • Who?:

RTI is designated for students who are struggling in specific content areas or social behaviors. Through interventions and researched-based instruction, students can move through tiers in order to receive the appropriate instruction needed to succeed. These students need that extra attention that is not available in whole-class instruction. Through the intervention, these students receive the whole-class instruction with extra time to focus on their weak skills. When intervention does not work, it is possible that a student can become evaluated for special education services.

  • What?:

RTI can vary among students' needs. Many students need academic interventions, while some may need behavior interventions. Either way, these students are below their peers in development. Students could receive small group instruction or 1:1 instruction depending on needs, and a variety of strategies can be used. Technology is known to be a great factor in helping to develop skills needed to succeed.

  • Where?:

RTI is generally done in the classroom, in a small group setting, or in a 1:1 setting. Where RTI is implemented depends on which tier the student(s) is categorized in. Tier explanations are to be explained in the next section (see video).

  • When?:

RTI is found to be the most beneficial during the elementary school years. The earlier the intervention is given, the better chance a student has in succeeded in his or her previous weakness area. However, this does not mean that RTI cannot be implemented in high grades. Although it is beneficial for smaller children to receive intervention at a young age, many older students can benefit from the intervention as well.

  • Why?:

RTI is needed for struggling students. Without it, students can fall further behind their peers in important developmental skills. Additionally, many can be overlooked as having a disability. RTI helps educators determine what students need in order to be successful in the general education curriculum.

RTI: 3 Tiers of Intervention

RTI is split into three tiers, each designating what type of intervention is needed for each type of student who enters that tier.

Here is a video and two visual representations to educate you about the RTI tiers:

Response to Intervention: A Tiered Approach to Instructing All Students

RTI and Technology

  • Technology facilitates collecting, managing, and analyzing educational data and thus, technology-enhanced assessment (TEA) supports RtI implementation.
  • Technology allows teachers to differentiate instruction and provide focused support, enabling every student to be successful.
  • Well-constructed and research-based technology-enhanced interventions target both the student deficit and allow for automated delivery.

Sample Technology

Example: How RTI is Implemented...Meet Mike*

* name of child has been changed

- not a picture of an actual student


  • Mike is a fourth grade student in a small New England town.
  • Educational Strengths: Oral comprehension and background knowledge is at grade level.
  • Educational Weaknesses: Mike has difficulty identifying words while his oral reading ability is typically labored and disfluent.
  • Teacher used "Developmental Reading Assessment 2" (DRA2) to assess Mike's reading deficiencies and found that Mike reads on a 1st grade level.

Three Tiered Inventions Used to Help Mike:


Personal Experiences with RTI

Donald's Experience - A Story Of On Going RtI

  • Z is an average 9th grade student with dropping grades and behavioral issues. Z was referred to the RtI Committee by his English Teacher in March of 2013.
  • RtI committee found that student Z routinely did not complete assignments across all his subjects. Student Z showed little effort in independent work and lacked focus in class.
  • The RtI committee recommended: 1. Refocusing and redirection; 2. Preferential seating (away from distractions); 3. Daily routing sheet
  • The RtI Committee will meet again in May of 2013 to assess student Z's Progress.
  • Potential Tier 2 interventions for student Z include but are not limited to: 1. Specially designed small group counseling interventions with school psychologist, school social workers or school counselors.
  • Potential Tier 3 interventions for student Z include but are not limited to: 1. Using wraparound planning which is based on a students strengths and needs across home, school and community. Plans are tailored to meet the unique needs of students who exhibit chronic behavior problems.

Kerry's Experience - An RTI Success Story

  • G was a boy who received ESL services in 1st grade (first language is Arabic).
  • In 2nd grade, G was removed from ESL services and put into a general education classroom.
  • All students are evaluated on their reading levels using DRA2 assessments. Scores are then converted to Fountas and Pinnell reading levels (AA-Z).
  • Starting out, G was a level E reading level, which is considered beginning of 1st grade.
  • G had difficulty decoding words, which affected his fluency and comprehension.
  • He struggled with basic phonics knowledge.
  • Receiving Tier I instruction, G showed little to no progress, and therefore was recommended for Tier II services: small group instruction, 30 minutes, 3x a week.
  • G's focus in Tier II intervention was phonics practice and fluency.
  • Assessments were given every 9 weeks.
  • G showed improvement in phonics knowledge (reading level moved up to reading level G).
  • Because G was still low in his reading level compared to peers (but showed improvement from intervention), G continued Tier II services.
  • Another evaluation 9 weeks later showed more improvement, now assessing at level J reading level.
  • Again, because G was showing improvement but was not up to grade reading level, G continued in Tier II.
  • Because G was showing improvement in Tier II for G focused on decoding, while incorporating word attack skills, fluency, and comprehension.
  • At the end of the year, G was reading at level M and was removed from Tier II RTI.

  • I checked up with G recently in his 3rd grade class, and he is currently reading at a level O, which is on-level for 3rd grade.
  • He is currently not receiving intervention.

Questions? Comments?

If there was anything you were confused about, or anything you were wondering about throughout the presentation, please feel free to ask us!

Any comments about the presentation itself or suggestions to better provide you with information, please feel free to share!

- Donald and Kerry