6. RTI Success

In 2009 the Institute of Education Sciences, U. S. Department of Education, issued a Practice Guide for Response To Intervention (RTI), written by a panel of distinguished educators. RTI is an early detection and prevention method for “struggling students” to help them avoid failure. Pupils are first screened and then assigned to instructional plans matched to their present performance. Progress evaluations define success. RTI is used for both reading and math.

Typically children are assigned to one of three tiers:

Tier 1 is associated with general classroom instruction. Evidence-based reading instruction is recommended.

Tier 2 provides supplemental instruction for pupils who show they are struggling in reading. Their instruction might include small-group activities.

Tier 3 is for pupils who do not show improvement after a reasonable amount of time at Tier 2. Activities include one-one-one tutoring with a mix of intervention techniques.

A wide range of school personnel can collaborate for RTI implementation. The Guide does not indicate who should be on the team.

On-going data collection is important for Tier 3 pupils. If Tier 3 progress is negligible, a referral to special education might be made. The hope is the RTI will prevent the over-identification of at-risk children, especially non-disabled minority children.

The authors indicate Tier 3 is weak in conceptualization and research support. No validation research for this stage was found. Although there is hope referrals to special education will be reduced, procedures for RTI referrals are not described.


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