Response to Intervention

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered framework designed to maximize achievement for all students. It focuses on outcomes through the systematic gathering of data to guide educational decisions. It is important to note that RTI is an educational process which benefits all students, not just a system to categorize and refer students for Special Education testing and qualification.

The basic elements of RTI are required by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Evidence based practices ensure that all students receive appropriate and effective instruction. Instructional fidelity through monitoring practices is also essential and expected. It is important for all stakeholders to understand that RTI is not an “add – on”; rather, it is an instructional concept or framework.

The goal of implementing Response to Intervention is to increase student achievement. The following desired outcomes are expected with the implementation of RTI at Everest Academy:
Maximum effect from core instruction and behavioral supports for all students
Targeted instruction and early intervention for at-risk students
Increased pro-social student behavior
More positive attitudes toward school and academics
Enhanced ESL effectiveness
Improved integrity of academic, behavioral, and attendance interventions

RTI is based on the following core principles:
We can effectively teach all children.
Intervene early.
Use a multi-tier model of service delivery.
Use a problem solving method to make decisions within a multi-tier model.
Use research-based, scientifically validated interventions/instruction.
Monitor student progress to inform instruction.
Use data to make decisions.
Use assessment in screening, diagnosis, and progress monitoring.

Dynamics of RTI

The Response to Intervention model is a multi-tiered approach to providing services and interventions to students at increasing levels of intensity based on progress monitoring and data analysis. The RTI Model is implemented by the classroom teacher with the assistance of the School-Based RTI Support staff to ensure fidelity. Rate of progress over time is used to make important educational decisions. Although the instruction and interventions encompassing the RTI model may involve many different levels of intensity and individualization, there are typically three broad, fluid tiers:

Tier 1-Core Instruction (foundation): This primary tier involves the general education population (all students) and can affect any student in a classroom who is performing below level. The students receive instruction using the core curriculum with progress monitoring to assess their response to instruction. The teacher may slightly vary instructional routines or groupings to accommodate a Tier 1 student. It is estimated that 80% of all students will positively respond to Tier 1 intervention (Bender & Shores, 2007). Students who do not show positive response with Tier 1 intervention move into Tier 2.

Tier 2-Strategic Interventions (supplemental): In Tier 2, more intensive forms of strategic interventions are applied for those students not responsive to the Tier 1 interventions. More frequent progress monitoring will show that the student(s) are not achieving the desired standards despite receiving differentiated and high quality instruction. These interventions are typically in consultation with the RTI team. These interventions are designed to be implemented immediately and are intended to be short term. However, there is no specific time limitation for a student to be in Tier 2. Students may remain in place as long as data indicating strong progress continue to be acquired. It is estimated that 15% of all students need Tier 2 Interventions to show a positive response to instruction. (Bender & Shores, 2007). Students who respond to Tier 2 Supplementary Instruction may move back to Tier 1. Students not responsive to Tier 2 Supplementary Instruction move to Tier 3.

Tier 3-Intensive Interventions (intensive): It is estimated that 5% of all students need Tier 3 Interventions to show a positive response to instruction. (Bender & Shores, 2007). This level is characterized by intensive intervention that is increased in frequency, intensity, and duration based on targeted assessment results showing lack of response by the student. These interventions are supplemental to Tier 1 and Tier 2. These students show significantly low performance in the standards. If these interventions are effective, a student can move back to Tier 2. If continued interventions are not effective at this level, the School-Based RTI Support Team will meet to discuss the referral of the student and data to relevant specialists for consideration of further evaluation.

School-Based RTI Support Team:

The School-based RTI team includes School Administrator, School Guidance Counselor, Regular Education Teacher, and any other peRTInent staff member.
The Team focuses on the following for school-wide implementation of the RTI plan:
Review of screening data
Review of progress monitoring data
Planning of interventions
Self assessment of problem solving implementation
Assessment of the school staff’s development
Use of data in decision making
Teacher support
Parent Involvement

Behavior and School Wide Positive Behavior Support

In an RTI approach to behavior, systematically collected data (i.e. office referrals, observations, etc.) provide a basis for making decisions on behavior supports. A student who displays challenging behavior should be evaluated, just as the student would if an academic concern was raised. Based on the results, staff uses evidence based practices to support the student in reducing challenging behaviors and developing positive attitudes toward academic and social life. Evidence based interventions may include reinforcement, modeling, and problem solving skills.

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) consists of a set of clear expectations for behavior. School wide strategies are aligned with Tier 1 interventions. Classroom interventions are aligned with Tier 1 and 2 interventions, making use of school wide strategies with classroom lesson plans. Interventions for targeted groups are associated with Tier 2 and include small groups of students from many classrooms aiming toward the same behavioral goal. Tier 3 includes individual interventions which are considered critical.

School wide PBS targets the entire school population by mapping out procedures and processes through a set of behavioral expectations for an entire school. These expectations are taught to staff and students and highlighted through all school activities. The expectations are made into a variety of visual reminders throughout the school. Staff members regularly teach and refer to the expectations when dealing with all students.

A variety of data is collected with the goal of identifying students who need support at various levels. Data collected will identify types of discipline issues, locations, settings, and chronic offenders. Once the data is compiled and analyzed, decisions can be made as to what types of interventions are necessary. For example; if data show that problems are occurring within one particular classroom or setting, then interventions are selected or tailored to meet that need or setting.

PBS strategies range from providing rewards and incentives for students who follow school wide expectations to implementing effective skills lessons with students needing higher tiers of support. The school based team works together to design interventions based on data analysis.

Progress monitoring for behavioral interventions is similar to progress monitoring for academic interventions. Continued collection of data should be analyzed for effectiveness of strategies that have been initiated. Movement between the tiers may be indicated based on success rates shown through data analysis.

Parent Involvement

Parent involvement is key to the success of RTI program. A parent can help create an effective RTI program through giving a unique perspective on a child which may not be evident to the teacher in the classroom. Therefore, a parent should be included in the process from the outset, beginning with core curriculum instruction. This parent involvement may be performed in traditional ways such as parent-teacher conferences, regularly scheduled meetings, or other effective methods unique to the child and the situation. Continued parental contact including progress reporting to the parent is essential throughout the RTI process for success.

No parental consent is necessary for universal screenings since RTI is a process of delivering general services, assessments, and interventions to all students based on instructional need. However, in the event the interventions progress to a point where an evaluation is considered or recommended for special education services, parental consent must be obtained.

Screening and Progress Monitoring

Screening, progress monitoring, and diagnostic instruments used may include standardized tests and classroom assessments. Other monitoring may be accomplished through classroom observation, interviews, or targeted assessments which are designed to be more specific to the students’ learning difficulties and skill deficits. These assessments may be administered by trained general education teachers, or other specialists. Parents should continue to be a part of the screening process as results show where the student deficit may be and specific interventions are selected.

Professional Development

The Professional Development plan is designed to build and provide training to faculty and staff on the RTI process with full fidelity. Fidelity refers to the implementation of instruction and interventions as designed, intended, and planned. Fidelity is achieved through sufficient time allocation, adequate intervention intensity, qualified and trained staff, and sufficient materials and resources. Fidelity is vital in universal screening, instructional delivery and progress monitoring. This means that the intervention plans are applied consistently and accurately. It is the responsibility of the school administration to ensure fidelity by monitoring the delivery of instruction (e.g. Principal’s Walk Through and providing appropriate Professional Development to RTI support team.)

Evaluation and Data Analysis

The school RTI team sets regular meeting schedules to review the evaluation data, manage and discuss resources, troubleshoot unexpected barriers, and make adjustments to the plan implementation based on evaluation information.

The school RTI team monitors the plan implementation for fidelity with periodical monitoring and direction. There is a reconnection with the needs assessment data from the outset to be certain that the plan is moving in the desired direction.

After multiple attempts have been made to implement all available Tier 3 interventions with fidelity, high frequency and high intensity, a student will be considered non- responsive when:
The student’s level of academic achievement has been determined to be significantly lower than that of his or her peers and
The gap between the student’s achievement and that of his or her peers increases (or does not significantly decrease).
Unless other information explains the lack of achievement, students who are non- responsive at Tier 3 interventions will be referred for consideration for psycho-educational evaluation.

RTI and English Language Learners

In planning RTI approaches with English Language Learners (ELL), it is important to fully consider the ELL services the student is receiving, how the native language and English proficiency is assessed and monitored, knowledge and skills in the first language, and performance in the second language (English). When evaluating RTI data, ELL are compared not only to native English-speaking peers, but also to other ELL students with similar levels of English proficiency. If ELL students as a whole are not making adequate progress, more ESL (English as a Second Language) strategies are implemented. If most (<80%) ELL students demonstrate adequate progress; a more individualized approach is indicated for those students not progressing.