What is Response to Intervention (RTI)?

Response to Intervention (RTI) is an approach that provides early and systematic support to students with learning and behavioral needs. Students who are underperforming are given interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate the rate of learning. INcompassing Education can help implement RTI in your school by providing high-quality professional development and educational consulting.


Response to Intervention involves research-based instruction, progress monitoring, and the use of data to make educational decisions. The objective of RTI is to apply interventions which are proven effective in randomized controlled trials.


• School-wide screening

The data collected in RTI comes from school-wide screenings. The goal is to identify students who might require interventions. The assessments cover basic subjects such as reading, mathematics, etc.

Scores are compared to specific criteria or broad norms to evaluate student performance. The data gathered are important not only for identifying students who need help, but also for determining possible areas of improvement in general classroom instruction (in cases where many students fall below expectations).

• Teaching

The core curriculum should be research-based and field tested. It means that the curriculum must be effective as proven by research and has a record of achievement. Moreover, it should be taught by highly-qualified teachers adequately trained to deliver a particular instruction.

• Progress Monitoring

Progress monitoring is a set of scientifically based procedures used to assess the academic performance of students on a regular basis. Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is used to collect data on interventions to determine what works best for individual students. Additional methods are tried until the students respond to the intervention.


• Tier 1 (High-quality Classroom Instruction)

Tier 1 uses universal screening assessments to evaluate individual student growth and know whether students are progressing as expected. Students are identified using benchmark scores, data are collected, and measurable goals are set. Interventions are then designed for at-risk students. The classroom teacher implements these interventions. Observations are conducted to ensure the fidelity of classroom instruction, while the RTI team reviews the progress of students periodically.

• Tier 2 (Targeted Interventions)

In Tier 2, supplemental interventions are provided (within or outside the classroom) and progress monitoring is conducted more frequently. This type of targeted instruction usually takes 30 minutes a day, two to four days/week, for a minimum of nine weeks.

The objective of progress monitoring in Tier 2 is to determine whether interventions are effective in helping students learn at an appropriate rate. Rules are created to know when a student no longer needs additional interventions, when the interventions require modification, or when a student may be identified for special education screening.

• Tier 3 (Intensive Interventions)

Some students may not respond well to Tier 2 and require more intense and individualized intervention. Tier 3 is similar to Tier 2; the difference is that it’s more intense in focus, frequency, and duration. This type of targeted instruction is usually delivered for 30 minutes, two times per week, for 9 to 12 weeks.

Typically, the instruction is delivered outside the general education classroom. If Tier 3 is delivered appropriately and consistently and is not successful, it is possible that the student has a learning disability. In such cases, the entire body of data and specific information about the student would need to be assessed by a team of educational experts to determine if testing is needed. Tier 3 may be considered as special education in some cases, with instruction being provided by special education teachers to individual students or small groups.


The number of schools implementing Response to Intervention continues to grow. RTI is implemented as part of a school-wide problem-solving program. Research shows that RTI has a lot of benefits, such as:

increasing academic skills
more students passing state accountability tests
reduction in students referred and placed into special education

RTI can help identify at-risk students, guide adjustments to instruction, monitor progress, and make the necessary recommendations. RTI can also be helpful to students with emotional problems. The process of RTI can help these students succeed in the academic environment.

The main reasons for implementing RTI are the following:

• to identify students with learning difficulties
• to reduce racial or ethnic disproportionate representation of minority students in special education
• to increase integration and collaboration of general and special education
• to improve achievement for ALL students


RTI aims to identify and help students who are struggling in school by using a multi-tier approach to accelerate their rate of learning. The RTI team includes educational specialists, general education teachers, and special educators. INcompassing Education can help your school implement RTI by providing high-quality professional development and educational consulting.

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