Response to Intervention Helps Each Student Succeed in School

by EducationInfo4U

Response to Intervention is a process used in schools to identify and assist students who need extra help in mastering the skills necessary for academic progress.

What is RTI?

Response to Intervention is a process used in schools to identify and assist students who need extra help in mastering the skills necessary for academic progress. RTI encourages collaboration among staff members, including the classroom teacher, special educators, school psychologists, administrators, and aides in an effort to support the student’s learning. The curriculum and methods are culturally responsive. The school also strives to include parents in assisting their own children. The goal of RTI is to help the child realize their own potential.

Although many children benefit well from classroom instruction, research shows that up to one in five may require additional help. The Response to Intervention system is designed to provide that extra support in a multi-tier approach to education. The first tier is high-quality basic instruction. The second tier is support provided in small groups. Subsequent tiers of intervention are more intense, and are usually provided individually.

Children who may need extra help are first identified through a universal screening of all incoming students. Progress is monitored at regular intervals throughout the school year. Both the entire class and individuals who are receiving extra help are monitored. Based on the results of testing, instruction is planned to ensure that each child makes optimum progress.

Use of online learning games within the response to intervention system helps to ensure that students are engaged at their proper learning level. The games can automatically adjust to allow more practice at lower levels for students who need extra support. They also adjust to allow learners who have mastered concepts and skills to move ahead. Real-time teacher feedback enables instructors to pinpoint trouble areas and provide immediate help when a child is struggling.

Image: Stuart Miles /

Universal Screening

Certain research-based tests are chosen by the school system to be given to all students at a grade level. These help to identify students who may be struggling with the skills and concepts being taught at that level. The teacher then works with those students to ascertain which skills are needed and the best approach to take.

Core Instruction

This is the basis of the educational process. The classroom teacher provides high-quality instruction to the class as a whole. The materials and methods used in the classroom have been shown by research to be effective. In the primary grades, the teacher also teaches reading to smaller groups while the rest of the class completes assignments. The majority of students profit well from these classroom-based learning experiences. The classroom teacher sometimes provides extra help to individual students within the classroom setting. This is based on progress the child is making and strengths and weaknesses the teacher has identified.

Online learning games incorporated into the classroom allow students to practice skills and concepts while the teacher works with small groups. The games can automatically adjust to provide extra practice or let a child move ahead to the next level. Real-time teacher feedback enables the instructor to monitor progress and provide assistance when and where it is needed.

Tier Two Instruction

Students who are struggling with some of the skills and concepts being taught at the classroom level may work with an instructor in a small group. This can be done either in a quiet corner of the classroom or away from the class. This intervention is given daily and may last from 30-40 minutes. The teacher focuses on the specific difficulty each child is having.

Progress Monitoring

Children who are receiving extra help are tested regularly to check their progress. This may take place as often as once each week. The test is very brief, and progress is recorded on a chart. Both teacher and student benefit from seeing how the child is moving along. If the student is progressing well, instruction continues in the same way until the child no longer needs the extra help. If progress is slower than predicted, the teacher may modify the way instruction is given. This process continues until the best method for the particular student is found.

Image: Sujin Jetkasettakorn /

Tier Three and Above

Students who need more intense intervention are given more time with special assistance. This is usually done on an individual basis to ensure the best possible results. Monitoring continues as long as the student requires assistance.

Response to Intervention: A Tiered Approach to Instructing All Students

Data-Based Decision Making

At all levels in the Response to Intervention system, teams of educators use test data to decide on the best interventions to use with particular students. They also use test results in deciding when a student should be moved to a different tier within the system, and to identify disabilities. This collaborative approach to education results in improved student performance.

Response to Intervention is one method of providing additional support to students who are struggling in school. Online learning games that support the instruction can be of great benefit both in the classroom and in continuing practice when a student is at home. Both the student and the teacher benefit from the advantages of online games that adjust automatically to student needs and abilities.

Best results are obtained with frequent, brief and non-threatening progress checks and good communication between staff members, students and parents. Intervention is provided in a multi-tier system according to student needs. The goal of RTI is to ensure that each student has the opportunity achieve their highest potential.

Implementing Response to Intervention

Updated: 01/04/2012, EducationInfo4U
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