Response To Intervention

Key Understandings, Processes and Resources for OSE Staff

"The Most Effective RTI Strategy is Strong Tier 1 Instruction"

What is Response To Intervention?

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What Is Tier 1?

All students are Tier 1 students. Tier 1 supports are those things you would do in class, with any student, as part of meeting everyone’s needs. It's differentiation. It's creative ideas. It's learning styles, reteaching, and presenting it "yet another way". It's how you develop, refine, and continually improve your craft so that all students are reached. This might be through weekly running records, small group lessons such as guided reading or guided math groups which target a specific skill, allowing a student to use graph paper to line up numbers, giving a student flashcards to practice with, having a student listen to a story on tape and scaffolding in comprehension questions....These are just a few differentiation ideas in place in your classrooms which support all students. This is Tier 1. It is the most powerful and important piece of the RTI triangle and the heart of our work. It is where most student's needs are found, and addressed.

About 85% of students should be successful and on a forward learning trajectory with regular Tier 1 supports that all students can receive from classroom teachers. A student does not need to be identified as being in RTI in order to benefit from classroom differentiation. It is what we do with all students. This is why "all students are Tier 1", but not all students need to be identified as such by uploading Tier 1 forms and having Tier 1 meetings (shudder!)

Here's a neat video that captures a few teachers sharing common RTI Tier 1 instructional strategies, or, "Core Instruction" if you are thinking of our triangle above.
WCS Formative Assessment

What If Tier 1 Interventions Are Not Enough?

This is our "Supplemental" group if thinking about our triangle. When it becomes a concern, when what you are doing in class isn’t enough—things that you would do for basically anyone who at times struggles with content, you want to go ahead and fill out the Tier 1 info in Aware (the “Initial RTI form” and “Tier 1 documentation Log”) and request a Tier 1 meeting. The RTI team will meet and examine classroom data, assessment results, and student work. We would then brainstorm and develop other strategies that might help close the gaps for the student, based on your data. These Tier 2 interventions might include things such as before or after school tutoring, chunking, more visual supports, graphic organizers to structure writing, word lists, word banks, sentence stems, digital learning avenues …..It just depends on the student, needs, and resources we have available at the time. These supports would be put into place in addition to the ongoing Tier 1 instructional strategies.

The student would then be classified as being on “Tier 2” in our RTI model. The teacher would go forward with the interventions decided upon by the Tier 2 team, monitoring the students progress for 3-6 weeks with those new Tier 2 interventions in place. Every other week, you will go into Aware and upload recent Tier 2 progress monitoring information using the Tier 2 log (see RTI folder) in Aware. For about 90-95% of the student population, we would expect these interventions to be successful. Once progress is being made and the gaps are closing, you can discontinue uploading forms but continue to monitor that student’s progress in the classroom.

What If Tier 2 Interventions Are Still Not Enough?

Going back to our traingle above, we are now talking about our "Intensive" group. If after a period of time (usually 4-6 weeks) the student is still not successfully progressing, you will request another RTI meeting. The team will again look at data, Tier 2 intervention logs, and student work samples. The team will now consider even more targeted interventions for this student. That might be things like a pull-out for literacy groups, or 1 on 1 interventions both in and out of class for short spurts of time, etc. Again those depend on the student, needs, and resources available at the time. Because this is a more intensive list of interventions, these are classified as Tier 3 interventions. Thus, the student is now classified as being on “Tier 3” in our RTI model. As noted above, very few students will need this when Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports are being implemented with fidelity.

Going forward, the teacher would keep and upload Tier 3 documentation and progress monitoring logs in Aware. This would now be done weekly as opposed to every other week, because it is more targeted and intensive monitoring. Again, these supports are put into place for about 6 weeks (depending on student/needs) and are in addition to ongoing Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions. For most Tier 3 students, these interventions are enough to move them forward and begin to close gaps. Once progress is being made and the gaps are closing, based on data and student performance, you can discontinue uploading forms but continue to monitor that student’s progress in the classroom.

What If Tier 3 Interventions Are Still Not Enough?

We could expect this might be the case for less than 5% of students. Another RTI meeting would be requested. The diagnositician would be present, along with other specialized teachers. In this situaton, we have exhausted all other avenues and there is a strong consensus that further evaluative measures need to be taken. Referral for testing (Dyslexia, Sped) would be considered/discussed at this time.


Is the purpose of RTI to place a student on a path to ultimately get tested?

No. The purpose of RTI is to identify interventions that successfully close gaps and move students forward when what is being done in the classroom is not enough.

What types of things might I list on progress monitoring logs?

  • Running records, results of “quick checks” or exit tickets
  • Student journal samples which show patterns of thinking/understanding
  • Teacher observations/notes
  • Classroom assessment scores/ district assessment scores
  • Rubrics
  • Fluency checks/wpm
  • Graphic organizers used for writing
  • White boards/markers for “quick checks”
  • Graph paper for lining up problems when multiplying

Did they work? Did they not work? Share the intervention method (these things I just listed or others) as well as the student’s performance/resulting score/data using a progress monitoring log (see RTI folder for ideas). Upload to Aware.

What should I bring to an RTI meeting?

Student work samples

Current scores on classroom assessments and recent district assessments

Info regarding the student’s strengths

Specific challenges (“Fluency”, “Context Clues”, or “Subtracting w/regrouping” - as opposed to “Reading” or “Math”).

Do parents attend RTI meetings?

It is not required that they attend but it is required that they be notified of the process involving RTI and their student. You will want to communicate that you have scheduled an RTI meeting, explain what it is, etc. so that they are informed as to the progress and interventions currently being used.

If I use these interventions, doesn’t this skew grades and not give a true reflection of where a student is?

We want to keep the focus on learning and closing achievement gaps. If a student requires certain interventions to reach mastery, we want to implement them. That being said, you can document on student work “with manipulatives” , “with teacher assistance”, or some other notation to indicate to parents that there are interventions which are being used to reach mastery. You will also have your RTI documentation logs for reference. Communication with parents is key here. If they do not hear from you and they see only grades, then yes, there will be a skewed view. If information is not entered and updated in Aware, there will be a skewed view for future teachers as well. Parents should be continually informed and involved in the process through ongoing conversations and conferences with you - both prior to and throughout the RTI process.

Some of you might also wonder...

Why do we have to wait so long during each Tier?
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Why do we have to wait so long during each Tier?

Research has shown that in order to determine if an intervention is successful, a period of about 4–6 is needed to capture data and track progress effectively. For intensive intervention, such as in Tier 3, a period of at least 6 weeks is usually needed, because heavier interventions require a little longer to develop and allow us to gather evidence of effectiveness. For some, though, we can and do accelerate the process.

Back To The Beginning Quote

Keep in mind, the goal of RTI is to close the gaps through effective, research based interventions and ultimately be able to discontinue them. Therefore, as noted at the beginning, the best Response To Intervention strategy will always be strong Tier 1 instruction.

RTI Resources

RTI Aware Screencast

Want to explore further? Here are some books I recommend.