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Response to Intervention Model Research Paper

Bibliographic information about the program and costs

Initially, the Response to Intervention (RTI) model was adopted in 1970s as a tool for assessing learners with potential learning difficulties. Such learning challenges covered various areas in acquiring instructional information. It aimed to replace the conventional model of ‘wait to fail’.

The RTI model moved away from determining the gap between the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores and the prescribed grade. Instead, it provided a rapid, evidence-based mode of identifying learning difficulties.

In 2004, the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) recognized the RTI model as an appropriate tool for determining and identifying students with learning difficulties.

In most cases, a number of students who have learning disabilities also depict reading difficulties. Intervention programs have proved effective in overcoming such learning difficulties (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006).

The cost of implementing the model could be relatively high because in cases where teachers lack knowledge of implementation processes, external assistance may be required.

Objectives of the program

The RTI model aims to eliminate chances of academic failure by embarking on early intervention, regular assessment of learners’ progress and facilitating thorough research-based instructional programs for learners with difficulties.

The RTI is an intervention program that has “several levels and can be adjusted and changed to meet learning needs of various students” (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006).

With regard to identifying students with learning disabilities, the RTI framework is an alternative to the conventional framework that relied on the gap between learners’ IQ scores and test scores.

The supporters of the RTI model have touted it as an intervention program that focuses on the Specific Learning Disability (SLD) for the purposes of clarification and clarity.

On the contrary, opponents have claimed that the RTI model just identifies low achievers instead of learners with learning difficulties.

The RTI framework strives to offer regular feedback to both learners and teachers on learners’ achievements and progress on an individual basis. All people involved can evaluate results because they are visually presented and interpreted.

The model allows teachers to adjust contents to meet learning needs of specific learners because it is easy to adjust. In this case, the RTI does not rely on tests or grades to facilitate changes.

The model aims at highlighting national achievements of students and making comparison for additional information on learners’ achievement.

Finally, the RTI model also allows the instructor to identify learners who may benefit from learning in groups, as individuals or require further tuition and instructions. When such learners get the right interventions, they reduce high chances of learning deficits.

Instructional program target

One major approach of the model involves data collection based on the universal school-wide screening of learners. Instructors can focus on a specific grade or level and conduct learners’ screening based on a given subject, such as writing, reading or mathematics. Overall, RTI screening can focus on all students.

The screening processes aim to establish efficiency and practicality in assessment. The fundamental objective of this process is to identify learners who require further assistance at all levels.

The RTI model uses specific criteria (criterion referenced) or general norms (norm referenced) to assess students’ performance scores against the screening items (McCardle & Chhabra, 2004).

In some instances, cut scores may be applicable with the criterion referenced, which focus on a given level of proficiency based on grading levels. On the other hand, norm referenced relies on the learner’s scores against scores of other students or a large group of learners.

The program allows educators to conduct learners’ assessment during fall, winter and spring. The collected data are useful in guiding the instruction of the RTI based on its three tier processes. This process allows educators to identify learners with difficulties, as well as potential areas for interventions and improvement in a larger classroom where many learners may fail to score the required grades.

The National Research Center on Learning Disabilities recommends that schools should adopt regular reviews after five weeks to assess achievements of learners and implement interventions for learners who need them. The regular assessment aims to eliminate challenges of over-identification at the beginning of the year.

Qualifications and required instructor training

The RTI framework is a multilevel tool and could be complex for many instructors. In addition, it is thorough and requires collaboration among regular teachers and special education instructors.

Therefore, teachers must understand the importance of teamwork when using the RTI model for intervention.

The model requires highly trained teachers with various resources to implement the three tiers of the model successfully.

Instructors may also require training in Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) for effective implementation of the model to meet needs of learners with various learning difficulties. However, lack of resources, including time may hinder implementation of the model.

One should recognize that some instructors who lack or have little experience in teaching learners with disabilities might experience significant challenges with the RTI model. In addition, instructors must understand how a research-based method is effective in helping learners with difficulties.

Further, instructors must prepare for additional work with the model and crucial changes in expectations of various stakeholders.

This is necessary to avoid potential resistance of the model by educators.

For effective utilization of the model, a school might seek services of external consultants or educators to assist with effective implementation of the model.

Span of the program

Instructors conduct learners’ evaluation at the beginning of the year for any preferred areas of learning. The model may also require regular assessment after five weeks to ensure its effectiveness.

The RTI framework has three primary elements to ensure that it covers the necessary areas as an intervention model. All these three important components must work in tandem for the RTI model to remain relevant and achieve its desired outcomes.

Therefore, any failure to include all the components of the model could result in incomplete assessment of learners and subsequent interventions. In this case, the model may not work and collapse altogether.

For instance, any school that only adopts the problem-solving component but fails to collect data on the needs of learners cannot claim to have used the RTI effectively. The model insists on regular and repeated measures of learners academic achievements. The three components include:

  1. The first component: A Delivery System Designed with Multiple Tiers of Interventions
  2. The second component: An Integrated Assessment/Data Collection System to Make Informed Decisions
  3. The third component: A Problem-Solving Method (Batsche, Kavale and Kovaleski, 2006)

Instructional focus of the program

Users must recognize that the RTI model was developed for various purposes in a learning environment. In addition, it accounts for all stakeholders in the learning process. In this case, staff members, administrators and auditors must understand how the model works.

The instructional focus of the program could be in any core subject such as mathematics, reading and writing.

The critical component of the RTI model is the problem solving. Different user groups must follow the developed procedures used in the component. In most cases, teachers and other school specialists might lack deep experiences with the RTI model. Thus, they must rely on the systematic instructions provided.

The second user group is the selective users. Selective users require the manual for reference on specific elements of the model. Such users may include school psychologists who participate in the support process.

The last group includes the intervention specialists who use the model frequently in problem-solving processes.

Sample instructional activities

It is imperative to recognize that the RTI framework requires high standards of collaboration because of its scope and approach. In fact, various stakeholders in the education system participate in the problem-solving process.

For instance, in the problem-solving component, various stakeholders take part in different processes.

The Problem-Solving Model

Figure 1: The Problem-Solving Method

These processes involve core guidelines in the RTI. They include:

  • Defining the problem
  • Analyzing the cause
  • Developing the plan
  • Implementing and monitoring the plan
  • Evaluating the plan

In this process, the classroom teacher has specific roles in the process. The classroom teacher conducts the following procedures for any given core subject.

  • Differentiates the instruction
  • Administers standard levels
  • Monitors learners’ progress
  • Identifies students at risks
  • Communicates with various stakeholders, including parents and support team about learners’ challenges
  • Completes the Student Support Team (SST) form
  • Takes part in the SST meeting
  • Actively engages in the development and implementation of the SST intervention plan

Therefore, an instructor must work with intervention specialists in different areas.

Progress monitoring devices

The RTI framework has several monitoring devices. Some of the progress monitoring devices within the RTI framework as identified by Dexter and Hughes (2009) study include the following:

  • SPMM – Standard-protocol mathematics model
  • SCRED – St. Croix River education district model
  • RBM – Idaho results-based model
  • BSM – Behavior support model
  • IST – Pennsylvania instructional support teams
  • MPSM – Minneapolis problem-solving model
  • TRI – Tiers of reading intervention
  • FSDS – Illinois flexible service delivery system model
  • IBA – Ohio intervention-based assessment
  • STEEP – System to enhance educational performance
  • EGM – Exit group model

This is a long list of RTI monitoring devices, which can allow instructors to select an appropriate device for the subjects or students. However, it is paramount for instructors to understand how to use these monitoring devices for effective outcomes.

Literature and research on the program

Research and literature reviews exist about the RTI model. Such studies (Burns, Griffiths, Parson, Tilly & VanDerHayden, 2007; McCardle & Chhabra, 2004; Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006) have established that the RTI model was associated with improved learning outcomes among many students in early reading and mathematics.

However, other studies have criticized the RTI framework for a lack of empirical data to support its claims.

Commentary and critiques

Scholars have identified some core concerns with the RTI framework. One major concern is that the model assumes that the educational system can account for the needs of all learners.

However, a critical review of the model shows that it does not account for gifted students (Reynolds & Shaywitz, 2007). Therefore, it is imperative to introduce a component that accounts for the needs of gifted students.

Other critics have commented that the RTI framework is an effective prevention tool that lacks empirical evidence. In addition, they note the framework may deny or delay interventions for learners with disabilities (Reynolds & Shaywitz, 2007).

Other critics have also questioned the implementation procedures of the model, and that the model’s supporters have ignored any forms of criticisms (Fuchs & Deshler, 2007).

At the same time, other studies have supported critics by noting that the RTI framework does not yield reliable respondents or non-respondents (Fuchs & Fuchs, 2006). Consequently, they have claimed that RTI might not be an effective model for determining learning disabilities.

Other comments

Learners with disabilities require effective intervention models. Consequently, there are various models to serve different needs of such students. The RTI is a model that relies on data to determine learning difficulties and develop appropriate interventions.

Given the positive outcomes of RTI with many learners, it is imperative for many instructors to understand how the model works. Instructors might seek for training or assistance of external consultants to implement the model successfully.

Further studies are necessary to address some of the challenges identified in the implementation processes of the model. In addition, instructors must work with other stakeholders in education and acquire the required skills for the model.

It is important to recognize that the model can only be effective if all its components are implemented. Specifically, the components of data collection and problem solving are critical in the model, but they are highly demanding.

Overall, the model has been effective as an intervention tool for enhancing learning among learners with various disabilities because it focuses on specific needs of individual learners.


Batsche, G. M., Kavale, K. A., and Kovaleski, J. F. (2006). Competing views: A dialogue on Response to Intervention. Assessment for Effective Instruction, 32(1), 6-19.

Burns, M. K., Griffiths, A., Parson, L. B., Tilly, W. D., & VanDerHayden, A. (2007). Response to intervention: Research for practice. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Directors of Special Education.

Dexter, D. D., and Hughes, C. (2009). . Web.

Fuchs, D., & Deshler, D. (2007). What we need to know about responsiveness to intervention (and shouldn’t be afraid to ask). Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 22, 129-136.

Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. (2006). Introduction to Response to Intervention: What, why, and how valid is it? Reading Research Quarterly, 41(1), 93-99. doi:10.1598/RRQ.41.1.4.

Lohman, J. (2007). . Web.

McCardle, P., & Chhabra, V. (2004). The voice of evidence in reading research. Baltimore: Brookes.

Reynolds, C. R., & Shaywitz, S. (2007). Response to intervention: Remediation, perhaps, diagnosis, no. Child Development Perspectives, 3, 44-47.

Veldhuis, S. (n.d). Simply RTI: Response-to-Intervention – a framework for student success. Web.

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