Let's Go Learn Knowledge Base
What is RtI?
 
RtI stands for Response to Intervention.

RtI is the model of intervention that a school district follows when responding to students who are below grade level in their core reading and math abilities. It states that there are three tiers of students. Tier 1 represents the majority of students, who are at or above grade level and are on track. Tier 2 students may be only slightly behind but are at risk of falling further behind. Tier 3 students are very far behind and require immediate and intensive remediation. See the drawing below.

Implementing an RtI model requires the following steps:

Step 1: Problem identification
Step 2: Problem analysis or diagnosis
Step 3: Intervention planning
Step 4: Progress monitoring

Step 1 can usually be accomplished by some sort of universal screener. Many districts use their annual state test, since it is administered to all students. Any student who is below or far below the basic level will fall into the Tier 2 or 3 category.

Step 2 is more difficult. It requires diagnosing students, which often means one-on-one assessment. The highly energetic teacher who can multi-task with a full student load will differentiate instruction to each student's need. In practice, this only works in pull-out classes or at the elementary level. In secondary, it rarely happens. DORA and DOMA can help automate this required diagnostic assessment step.

Step 3 is executing intervention appropriate for each student, Tier 3 intervention being more intense than Tier 2. This step often happens without Step 2, which is a huge stumbling block. Just because Step 1 identifies students who need intervention doesn't mean all students who are below or far below the basic level should receive the same interventions. Also, "RtI Progress Monitoring Systems" miss the point here. They encourage monitoring but assume differentiation, which isn't the case.

Step 4 is progress monitoring, which is necessary to be sure students are benefiting. RtI recommends more monitoring for students in Tier 3, as they are further behind. Monitoring can occur via a wide variety of informal or formal assessments. It could be a fluency test, sight word lists, a cloze passage assessment, or DORA and DOMA.

Let's Go Learn's philosophy is that better diagnostic assessments up front make intervention more effective, because less time is wasted teaching students materials that are either too easy or too hard.

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