What is Response to Intervention (RTI)?

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a collaborative, evidence-based, approach to differentiating and personalizing instruction and intervention, across academics and behavior for all students—so that every student can achieve academic and life success. RTI is one of the most effective ways to provide an equitable educational experience, because it leverages collective knowledge and expertise to help teachers understand their learners’ needs and make informed and strategic decisions that best support them.

RTI begins with teachers assessing the skills of everyone in the class, to proactively identify who may need additional support in an area (e.g. reading, math, behavior). Students then receive support (research-based, targeted instruction or intervention) matched both to their skills and level of need. Those students’ progress is monitored closely to ensure that the additional support is helping. If the achievement gap has resolved, the additional support in that area is no longer required; if it does not improve, then the level of personalization increases, further problem solving to understand why each student struggles, and to design a customized plan to support their needs in a defined and systematic way.

RTI is not new. There are a many academic experts and learning scientists ready to share the do’s and don’ts of supporting the diversity of student learning needs. There are 1000s of research-backed interventions to choose from, tons of best practices to keep in mind, and so many data points to inform our data driven decision making. There is tremendous evidence supporting the power of an effective RTI system to improve student outcomes for struggling learners, but there is also solidly convincing research that it improves student outcomes for ALL learners. A rising tide raises all boats.