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Response to Intervention

Defining Response to Intervention

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a problem solving process for providing increasing levels of support to students. RtI integrates student assessment and instructional intervention in a prevention-oriented approach by linking assessment and instruction to inform educators’ decisions about how best to teach their students. Response to Intervention, or RtI, is the practice of meeting the academic and behavioral needs of all students through a problem-solving process with three key elements:

  • High-quality instruction and research-based, student centered tiered interventions
  • Frequent monitoring of student progress
  • Use of data in making educational decisions regarding student success.

The fundamental purpose of RtI is to enhance grade level instructional practices while supporting students in need to learn at high levels.

The National Center on Response to Intervention offers a definition that reflects what is currently known from research and evidence-based practice. “Response to intervention integrates assessment and intervention within a multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and to reduce behavioral problems. With RtI, schools use data to determine students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness, and identify students with learning.”

Laws Supporting Response to Intervention (RtI)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA 2015) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004) focus on the quality of instruction that students receive in the general education setting.

ESSA and IDEA require:

  • The use of research-based instruction and interventions
  • Effective reading and mathematics instruction
  • Essential components for reading and math
    • Reading: phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, phonics instruction, and fluency
    • Mathematics: mathematics calculation and problem solving

Response to Intervention is not designed to be a pre-referral process. It is not a model in which a student must “fail” before interventions begin. It is a proactive, positive approach for supporting all learners, particularly those who are struggling.