What is RtI?

My son is struggling in school, especially with reading. I asked his teacher what we can do, and she told me that they are working on improving his reading skills through a process called RtI. What does RtI mean? I’m concerned that my son is going to fall further behind if they don’t help him now.

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a process to assist struggling learners in the general education setting that includes identifying students who are at risk, providing targeted instruction to improve their skills, and frequently measuring whether there is progress. Depending on how the student responds, the interventions can be increased and intensified.

Response to Intervention is help now! It can give students the help they need early on. Sometimes learning disabilities do not show themselves to the extent where a student would qualify for special education for years – perhaps third or fourth grade- leaving valuable time wasted. RtI gives students access to research-based interventions (meaning they have been tested and proven to work) as soon as they show signs of struggling, and can assist in differentiating the students with learning disabilities from students who have simply experienced gaps in their education.

RtI Terms to Know:
These are terms you will hear in discussions about RtI. It is important to understand what they mean:

Universal ScreeningProgress MonitoringScientific, Research-Based InstructionUniversal Design for Learning (UDL)

All students are assessed- or ‘benchmarked’- in order to establish an academic and behavioral baseline and to identify learners who need additional support. Those students whose test scores fall below a certain cut-off are identified as needing more specialized academic interventions.

Scientifically based practice that is used to frequently assess students’ academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring procedures can be used with individual students or an entire class.

Curriculum and educational interventions that have been proven to be effective –that is, the research has been reported in scientific, peer-reviewed journals.

Rather than make students adapt themselves to a one-size-fits-all curriculum, the curriculum is adapted to benefit all kinds of learners – content is presented in different formats, students have opportunities to express what they know according to their own strengths, and learning is reinforced for all types of learners according to their affinities and what motivates them to learn. Grounded in belief that every learner is unique and brings different strengths and weaknesses to the classroom.

Check out these WIHD CSN RtI Resources:

Click here to download the SEPC RtI Quicktips document handout!

Other Web Resources:

Response to Intervention (RTI): A Primer for Parents  This web page is produced by The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and explains RtI and including its role in the special education eligibility process.

A Parent’s Guide to Response to Intervention Produced by the NYS Education Department.

National Center on Response to Intervention: Provides technical assistance to states and districts and building the capacity of states to assist districts in implementing proven models for RTI

Intervention Central Website created by Jim Wright with tools and strategies for educators.