Response to Intervention(RtI)
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. For RTI implementation to work well, the following essential components must be implemented with fidelity and in a rigorous manner:
- High-quality, scientifically based classroom instruction. All students receive high-quality, research-based instruction in the general education classroom.
- Ongoing student assessment. Universal screening and progress monitoring provide information about a student’s learning rate and level of achievement, both individually and in comparison with the peer group. These data are then used when determining which students need closer monitoring or intervention. Throughout the RTI process, student progress is monitored frequently to examine student achievement and gauge the effectiveness of the curriculum. Decisions made regarding students’ instructional needs are based on multiple data points taken in context over time.
- Tiered instruction. A multi-tier approach is used to efficiently differentiate instruction for all students. The model incorporates increasing intensities of instruction offering specific, research-based interventions matched to student needs.
- Parent involvement. Schools implementing RTI provide parents information about their child’s progress, the instruction and interventions used, the staff who are delivering the instruction, and the academic or behavioral goals for their child.
Students who do not achieve the desired level of progress in response to these targeted interventions are then referred for a comprehensive evaluation and considered for eligibility for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The data collected during Tiers 1, 2, and 3 are included and used to make the eligibility decision.
The Benefits of RtI
The most commonly cited benefit of an RTI approach is that it eliminates a “wait to fail” situation because students get help promptly within the general education setting. Secondly, an RTI approach has the potential to reduce the number of students referred for special education services. Since an RTI approach helps distinguish between those students whose achievement problems are due to a learning disability versus those students whose achievement problems are due to other issues therfore, referrals for special education evaluations are often reduced. Finally, parents and school teams alike find that the student progress monitoring techniques utilized in an RTI approach provide more instructionally relevant information than traditional assessments.
In Santa Fe ISD each campus utilizes a multi tiered process designed specifically for each campus. Each campus has a campus administrator designated to facilitate the campus RtI process with campus teams meeting regularly to review progress and make educational decisions about interventions. Collaboration with parents is an integral part of the Response to Intervention process and parents are encouraged to attend periodic meetings. Each campus is provided support through the Department of Special Programs.