Response to Intervention - What is RtI and what does it look like?

  • RtI stands for Response to Intervention. It is an approach schools use to help all students, including struggling learners. It is not a special kind of program or book. Many schools are using this approach to make sure that every student has opportunities to learn and that students are working at their grade level. The goal of RtI is to help all students be successful.

    All students benefit from RtI. Since all students are tested several times a year, teachers can know who is at-risk for learning difficulties. These at-risk students receive small group intervention. Interventionists closely monitor student learning in interventions and adjust the lessons. This allows everyone to have a clear picture of student performance.

    In schools that use RtI:

    1.Classroom teachers provide effective instruction to all students. 

    Many schools schedule blocks of time for content-area instruction. (Content areas are reading, math, language arts, science, and social studies.) This helps make sure students get enough daily instruction in each of these areas. Teachers also make sure students learn how to behave in school. Effective teachers design daily lessons that focus on what research shows is critical for success. They explain a new concept and show students how to use it. Then they guide students’ practice. Students practice what they have learned many times.

    2. The RtI team assess all students several times a year. 

    In schools using RtI, teachers test or screen all students multiple times. These times often are the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. Teachers compare students’ scores to “benchmark” scores. Benchmark scores are what are expected for all students at that grade level for that time of year. Students whose scores are below the benchmark are at-risk for learning problems. Teachers may test them more to find out where they are having trouble.

    3. The RtI team members, including classroom teachers, identify at-risk students.

     At-risk students need immediate help to prevent learning problems. In schools using RtI, teachers know which students are at-risk by using the universal screening assessments along with classroom assessments and observations.  

    4. RtI team members use assessment information to plan lessons that meet at-risk students’ needs. 

    The team reviews students’ benchmark scores along with other assessment data. They form small groups of students with similar needs. They identify the students’ gaps in learning, set goals, and plan interventions.

    5. At-risk students receive intervention. 

    Intervention is provided in small groups. Interventionists can give students more attention and practice when they are in small groups.  Students who are at less risk receive interventions in a larger group in the classroom.  

    6. Interventionists check at-risk students’ progress often. 

    At-risk students are assessed every 2 or 3 weeks. This is called progress monitoring. Brighton area schools keeps a data system of each student’s progress. This helps the RtI team know whether the intervention is working. When students “respond to intervention,” it is working. The RtI team changes the intervention when students are not meeting their learning goals. If at-risk students meet their goals, they no longer need intervention.

    Sometimes an at-risk student does not make enough progress in the intervention. The teacher knows this from monitoring the student’s progress. When this happens, the teacher tries a different strategy. The student’s progress is checked again. If the student is still not meeting goals, the teacher may ask other teachers for ideas to solve the problem. Then if the student continues to struggle with learning, a school team may meet to figure out what is needed.