RTI Bulletin

Sharing Session

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered approach to help struggling learners. Find out how RTI helps students succeed.

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RTI Background

While RTI originally began in elementary school settings to change the way students are identified for special education services, it is now making its way into middle schools and high schools. Special education eligibility requirements have changed and the identification process no longer is limited to ability vs. discrepancy requirements. The RTI process requires highly qualified teachers to implement research-proven best practices to identify students that fail to achieve for reasons other than access to quality instructional practices. It is designed to accelerate student learning and progress is monitored closely at each level. The goal is for the school to intervene for all students, and start helping all students before anyone falls really far behind.


There are three tiers. Tier 1 is supplemental-instruction in the classroom. A classroom teacher, or interventionist, may administer in-class interventions for students that are not on benchmark level. Data is collected both pre and post intervention to reflect upon student progress in relation to their peers and growth that is made. At least 2 interventions should be administered, each lasting 6 weeks, before a student can be referred to an I&RS team or progress to a more intensive intervention. If enough progress is not made, a student progresses to tier 2 (targeted intervention in a small group setting). The instruction received is usually 30 min. in addition to core instruction. Tier 3 is intensive, daily (usually 60 minutes) intervention that targets skill deficits and a comprehensive evaluation for special education services may be conducted. If a student begins making progress, an evaluation would not be conducted. If they continue to make insufficient progress, then they would be referred for an evaluation.
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Tracking Process

Although the tracking process takes time to document, it is essential. If a student moves through the tiers and still does not show adequate progress despite research-proven instructional practices, your documentation will be important in the special education eligibility process. Students who failed to qualify for special education services in elementary school because they did not meet the ability vs. achievement discrepancy requirements will no longer fall through the cracks.