Educators know all children can learn; however, we are also faced with the harsh reality that some at‐risk students progress through school without access to learning opportunities that are finely attuned to their individual needs.
Historically, it has been up to the classroom teacher to determine the next best action for a student performing below grade level. In many cases, teacher decisions lead to positive outcomes and improved student learning. However, in other cases, students continue to perform poorly without getting all of the support they need – not necessarily due to a lack of effort on the teacher’s part. There is a clear need for strategies and tools that can help educators identify these students’ needs more efficiently and systematically.
Simply put, Response to Intervention (RTI) is a framework for implementing proactive data-driven decision making. It provides teachers with better, more timely information about students in order to improve student learning and performance.
RTI is not just a model for special education classrooms, but increasingly an early identification and prevention model that helps schools and districts nationwide broaden the range of interventions available in general education and ensure that the curriculum truly meets the needs of all students.
RTI models were initially formulated to address concerns that some students were being misidentified as learning disabled when in actuality they were failing to learn because the pace or style of instruction was mismatched to their learning needs.
With the appropriate processes in place, RTI can help schools identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor their progress, and provide evidence‐based interventions early on – when students first exhibit signs of learning problems. The nature and intensity of such interventions can be continually adjusted depending on each student’s responsiveness.