Definition of Response to Intervention
Response to Intervention, or RTI, is an approach used throughout the country to meet the ever-changing academic needs of children/students. RTI consists of three tiers, or levels of academic support, which help teachers and schools better identify, target, and support, both students and their individual skill deficits. The RTI approach or process can vary greatly from school to school, district to district. Therefore, the information below describes the tiers as they are generally understood within the educational/academic community.
RTI Tier 1
Tier 1 consists of universal instruction for all students, which should be research based. Typically, 80% or more of students should be able to make steady and consistent academic growth with whole group instruction and support from their classroom teacher. Children/students who are in Tier 1 may experience academic challenges or frustration at times, but they can quickly overcome such difficulties with little impact to their overall academic performance.
RTI Tier 2
Tier 2 consists of targeted intervention for specific groups of students. Typically, between 6% and 15% of students are identified as needing additional support in specific academic domains (reading, writing, math, language, and/or behavior), beyond the standard whole group instruction and support from the classroom teacher. Children/students in Tier 2 can be slightly or significantly behind their peers, but with this additional support and targeted intervention, they make rapid and consistent growth.
It is logical, and even necessary at times, to try different interventions as the true nature of a child’s difficulties are explored. Children/students who are learning English may make growth more slowly, due to the inherent challenges of navigating dual languages, but their progress should remain steady and consistent.
Tier 2 interventions can take as long as eight weeks before academic improvement is noticeable, and children/students may need to remain at Tier 2 for a bit of time to increase or maintain their growth.
RTI Tier 3
Tier 3 consists of highly targeted individualized and intensive interventions, and typically consists of between 1% and 5% of students.
At some schools, Tier 3 is simply a more intensive tier, in which those students are being considered for special education, but nothing formal has been initiated.
At other schools, Tier 3 is for special education and therefore in order for a child/student to be considered, the formal special education initial eligibility process must either begin or be complete.
Regardless of how a school or district interprets or uses Tier 3, children/students at this tier are those who have not responded as expected to the interventions that have been tried. Either the child/student’s growth was minimal, or the growth was not steady or consistent. As a result, this tier indicates that the specific nature of a child’s difficulty must be more closely examined, which is typically done through formal educational/academic evaluations.
Comparing the Three Tiers
|RTI Tiers||Types of Interventions||% of Students||Expectations|
|Tier 1||Universal instruction for all students||>=80%||Children may experience academic challenges or frustration at times, but they can quickly overcome such difficulties with little impact to their overall academic performance.|
|Tier 2||Targeted intervention for specific groups of students||6% – 15%||It can take as long as eight weeks before academic improvement is noticeable, and children/students may need to remain at Tier 2 for a bit of time to increase or maintain their growth.|
|Tier 3||Highly targeted individualized and intensive interventions||1% – 5%||The specific nature of a child’s difficulty must be more closely examined, which is typically done through formal educational/academic evaluations.|
Many years ago, the number of children/students that were being both identified as needing special education and those that were being exited from such specialized programing in such a short period of time, did not match the definition of an individual with a learning disability. As a result, it was determined that educators across the country were misidentifying struggling learners, and labeling them as having a learning disability, when in reality they only needed a bit more targeted intervention.
Helpful Questions regarding RTI…
Depending on your concerns as a parent/guardian, below you will find a few questions that can help you gather more information from your child’s school or teacher.
For general information, or if you have concerns about your child’s progress…
- Does the school use RTI, and if so what is called?
- What is the typical process or procedure for a child who is struggling?
- Should my child be receiving intervention?
- Share what you are seeing and why you are concerned, and remember that your child acts and performs differently at school, than at home.
- How is my child performing in comparison to his/her peers?
- Feel free to ask for specific examples to understand the comparison.
Feel free to ask if your child is in RTI…
- How long should you expect for your child to be receiving interventions?
- What specifically are the interventions targeting?
- How often does the intervention occur?
Still have questions? Do you want another perspective or opinion?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me for a free initial conference!