How to Use RTI in the Classroom

Teachers often use RTIs to develop reading fluency.

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a classroom-based intervention program designed to maximize student learning and reduce behavioral problems for students in all grades. As a preventative system, RTI offers an early identification for students who are at-risk of developing long-term learning or behavioral problems. Part of the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), RTI can also be used to help educators identify students with a learning disability.

Complete the screening process. In accordance with IDEA, all students should complete a screening assessment to provide a snapshot of their performance in each area. The screening assessment can be designed and administered by the class teacher at the beginning of the school year only or at regular intervals throughout the year.

Analyze the data from the screening process. This allows teachers to identify students who may require additional support through an RTI intervention. For students who score below the accepted benchmark, a second stage of screening with more in-depth testing or short-term monitoring can be used to confirm a student's at-risk status.

Determine the required level of prevention. Now that the screening process has identified at-risk students, the RTI intervention can begin. The RTI has three levels of prevention–primary, secondary and tertiary–offering different levels of support. The required prevention level is determined at an RTI meeting, which includes teachers, parents, school counselors and intervention specialists. It is their job to draw up a detailed, individualized plan of support for each student.

Implement the prevention plan. The length and intensity of the plan will have been decided at the RTI meeting. As part of their prevention plan, students may receive specialized instruction in one or more subjects, a report card for behavior monitoring or one-to-one reading support.

Monitor progress to determine the effectiveness of the plan. An RTI meeting with parents, educators and specialists is beneficial in considering how well a student has responded to the intervention. For students who have responded well, the plan can be ended with no further action required. For students who have not responded well, it may be necessary to increase the intensity of the intervention and move them from primary to secondary or secondary to tertiary intervention. In this case, step 3 should then be repeated.

Complete further evaluation. In the case of students who have not at all responded to the intervention plan, it may be necessary to refer them to their special education office for further evaluation. (A lack of response to the RTI can be indicative of a learning disability, so it is important to complete a further evaluation and progress monitoring).

Kaye Jones has been a freelance writer since 2009, specializing in history, education and mental health. Her undergraduate dissertation was published by the Internet Journal of Criminology. Jones has a first-class honors Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Manchester.