University of Pittsburgh 
School Of Education

© University of Pittsburgh 2013. Home | Terms and Conditions

Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

Response to Intervention (RTI) - Topic 5

What is it?

     Response to Intervention or RTI is a framework in which tiers or layers of increasingly intensive instruction are provided to students who fail to demonstrate adequate levels of academic gain.  In the most recent reauthorization of IDEA, this process may be used to identify students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) and entitle them to special education services.  The model was initially conceptualized for elementary students with reading difficulties.  In this model, young students would receive an evidence-based core reading program (i.e., Tier 1).  Students who failed to benefit from this instruction (e.g., failed to achieve an appropriate benchmark on a progress monitoring measure) would be provided with additional, more intensive instruction or Tier 2 (e.g., 30 additional minutes of daily reading instruction provided in a small group).  Students who failed to demonstrate appropriate response after a predetermined amount of time (e.g., 12 weeks) would be referred to a more intensive tier (e.g., Tier 3) in which additional adaptations would be made to individualize and intensify the instruction.  Although the structures of RTI models vary, in most, this would represent a referral to special education.  RTI is increasingly being implemented in secondary schools as well.  However, it is less clear whether RTI should play the same role for older students (See King, Hill, & Lemons, 2012).

Why is it important?

      RTI is a framework that schools use (a) to provide increasingly intensive interventions to students who are struggling academically, and (b) to identify students with SLD.  It’s incorporation into IDEA dramatically increased the implementation in schools.  It is likely that MOSAIC graduates will be involved in RTI in some capacity upon taking a teaching job (regardless of whether the job is general or special education).  RTI is important because it may reduced the number of students referred to special education and it assists schools in providing supplemental services to students at risk for academic failure.

Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., & Compton, D. L. (2012).  Smart RTI: A next-generation approach to

         multilevel prevention.  Exceptional Children, 78(3), 263-279.

King, S. A., Lemons, C. J., & Hill, D. R. (2012).  Response to intervention in secondary schools:

         Considerations for administrators.  NASSP Bulletin, 12, 5-22.  Doi: 10.1177/0192636511430551  


Web Links

      IRIS Center - RTI: An Overview

      National Center on Response to Intervention

Course(s) in which topic is addressed:

      IL 2512 Assessment

Table of Contents

Next Topic

Previous Topic