Essential Components Of RTI – A Closer Look At Response To .

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Essential Componentsof RTI – A CloserLook at Responseto InterventionApril 2010National Center on Response to Intervention

About the National Center on Response to InterventionThrough funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office ofSpecial Education Programs, the American Institutes for Research andresearchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansashave established the National Center on Response to Intervention.The Center provides technical assistance to states and districts andbuilds the capacity of states to assist districts in implementingproven response to intervention frameworks.National Center on Response to Interventionhttp://www.rti4success.orgThis document was produced under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special EducationPrograms Grant No. H326E070004 to the American Institutes for Research. Grace Zamora Duránand Tina Diamond served as the OSEP project officers. The views expressed herein do not necessarilyrepresent the positions or polices of the Department of Education. No official endorsement by theU.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in thispublication is intended or should be inferred. This product is public domain. Authorization toreproduce it in whole or in part is granted. While permission to reprint this publication is notnecessary, the citation should be: National Center on Response to Intervention (March 2010).Essential Components of RTI – A Closer Look at Response to Intervention. Washington, DC:U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Responseto Intervention.

IntroductionTo assist states and local districts with planning for RTI, the National Center onResponse to Intervention (NCRTI) has developed this information brief, EssentialComponents of RTI – A Closer Look at Response to Intervention. This brief providesa definition of RTI, reviews essential RTI components, and responds to frequentlyasked questions. The information presented is intended to provide educatorswith guidance for RTI implementation that reflects research and evidence-basedpractices, and supports the implementation of a comprehensive RTI framework.We hope that this brief is useful to your RTI planning, and we encourage youto contact us with additional questions you may have regarding effective implementation of RTI.NCRTI believes that rigorous implementation of RTI includes a combination ofhigh quality, culturally and linguistically responsive instruction, assessment, andevidence-based intervention. Further, the NCRTI believes that comprehensive RTIimplementation will contribute to more meaningful identification of learning andbehavioral problems, improve instructional quality, provide all students with thebest opportunities to succeed in school, and assist with the identification of learning disabilities and other disabilities.Through this document, we maintain there are four essential components of RTI:lA school-wide, multi-level instructional and behavioral system forpreventing school failurelScreeninglProgress MonitoringlData-based decision making for instruction, movement within the multi-levelsystem, and disability identification (in accordance with state law)Essential Components of RTI—A Closer Look at Response to Intervention1

The graphic below represents the relationship among the essential components ofRTI. Data-based decision making is the essence of good RTI practice; it is essentialfor the other three components, screening: progress monitoring and multi-leveledinstruction. All components must be implemented using culturally responsive andevidence based practices.Defining RTINCRTI offers a definition of response to intervention that reflects what is currentlyknown from research and evidence-based practice.Response to intervention integrates assessment and intervention within amulti-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and to reducebehavioral problems. With RTI, schools use data to identify students at risk forpoor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-basedinterventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventionsdepending on a student’s responsiveness, and identify students with learningdisabilities or other disabilities.2Essential Components of RTI—A Closer Look at Response to Intervention

Levels, Tiers, and InterventionsThe following graphic depicts the progression of support across the multi-levelprevention system. Although discussions in the field frequently refer to “tiers” todesignate different interventions, we intentionally avoid the use of this term whendescribing the RTI framework and instead use “levels” to refer to three preventionfoci: primary level, secondary level, and tertiary level. Within each of these levels ofprevention, there can be more than one intervention. Regardless of the numberinterventions a school or district implements, each should be classified under one ofthe three levels of prevention: primary, secondary, or tertiary. This will allow for acommon understanding across schools, districts, and states. For example, a schoolmay have three interventions of approximately the same intensity in the secondaryprevention level, while another school may have one intervention at that level.While there are differences in the number of interventions, these schools will have acommon understanding of the nature and focus of the secondary prevention level.Each prevention level may,but is not required to, havemultiple tiers of interventions.Tertiarylevel ofpreventionSecondarylevel ofpreventionPrimary level of preventionEssential Components of RTI—A Closer Look at Response to Intervention3

The “What” Part of the Center’sDefinition of RTIRTI integrates student assessment and instructional interventionRTI is a framework for providing comprehensive support to students and is not aninstructional practice. RTI is a prevention oriented approach to linking assessmentand instruction that can inform educators’ decisions about how best to teach theirstudents. A goal of RTI is to minimize the risk for long-term negative learningoutcomes by responding quickly and efficiently to documented learning or behavioral problems and ensuring appropriate identification of students with disabilities.RTI employs a multi-level prevention systemA rigorous prevention system provides for the early identification of learning andbehavioral challenges and timely intervention for students who are at risk forlong-term learning problems. This system includes three levels of intensity or threelevels of prevention, which represent a continuum of supports. Many schools usemore than one intervention within a given level of prevention.lllPrimary prevention: high quality core instruction that meets the needs of moststudentsSecondary prevention: evidence-based intervention(s) of moderate intensitythat addresses the learning or behavioral challenges of most at-risk studentsTertiary prevention: individualized intervention(s) of increased intensity forstudents who show minimal response to secondary preventionAt all levels, attention is on fidelity of implementation, with consideration forcultural and linguistic responsiveness and recognition of student strengths.RTI can be used to both maximize student achievement and reducebehavioral problemsThe RTI framework provides a system for delivering instructional interventions ofincreasing intensity. These interventions effectively integrate academic instructionwith positive behavioral supports. The Positive Behavioral Interventions andSupports (PBIS) Center ( provides a school-wide model similar4Essential Components of RTI—A Closer Look at Response to Intervention

to the framework described herein, and the two can be combined to provide aschool-wide academic and behavioral framework.RTI can be used to ensure appropriate identification of students withdisabilitiesBy encouraging practitioners to implement early intervention, RTI implementationshould improve academic performance and behavior, simultaneously reducing thelikelihood that students are wrongly identified as having a disability.The “How” Part of the Center’sDefinition of RTIIdentify students at risk for poor learning outcomes or challengingbehaviorStruggling students are identified by implementing a 2-stage screening process. Thefirst stage, universal screening, is a brief assessment for all students conducted atthe beginning of the school year; however, some schools and districts use it 2-3times throughout the school year. For students who score below the cut point onthe universal screen, a second stage of screening is then conducted to moreaccurately predict which students are truly at risk for poor learning outcomes. Thissecond stage involves additional, more in-depth testing or short-term progressmonitoring to confirm a student’s at risk status. Screening tools must be reliable,valid, and demonstrate diagnostic accuracy for predicting which students willdevelop learning or behavioral difficulties.What is a cut point?A cut point is a score on the scale of a screening tool or a progress monitoringtool. For universal screeners, educators use the cut point to determine whetherto provide additional intervention. For progress monitoring tools, educators usethe cut point to determine whether the student has demonstrated adequateresponse, whether to make an instructional change, and whether to move thestudent to more or less intensive services.Essential Components of RTI—A Closer Look at Response to Intervention5

Provide research-based curricula and evidence-based interventionsClassroom instructors are encouraged to use research-based curricula in all subjects.When a student is identified via screening as requiring additional intervention,evidence-based interventions of moderate intensity are provided. These interventions, which are in addition to the core primary instruction, typically involve smallgroup instruction to address specific identified problems. These evidenced-basedinterventions are well defined in terms of duration, frequency, and length of sessions, and the intervention is conducted as it was in the research studies. Studentswho respond adequately to secondary prevention return to primary prevention (thecore curriculum) with ongoing progress monitoring. Students who show minimalresponse to secondary prevention move to tertiary prevention, where more intensive and individualized supports are provided. All instructional and behavioralinterventions should be selected with attention to their evidence of effectivenessand with sensitivity to culturally and linguistically diverse students.What is the difference between evidence-based interventions andresearch-based curricula?We refer to an evidence-based intervention in this document as an interventionfor which data from scientific, rigorous research designs have demonstrated (orempirically validated) the efficacy of the intervention. That is, within the contextof a group or single-subject experiment or a quasi-experimental study, the intervention is shown to improve the results for students who receive the intervention. Research-based curricula, on the other hand, may incorporate design features that have been researched generally; however, the curriculum or programas a whole has not been studied using a rigorous research design, as defined bythe Elementary and Secondary Education Act.Monitor student progressProgress monitoring is used to assess students’ performance over time, to quantifystudent rates of improvement or responsiveness to instruction, to evaluate instructional effectiveness, and for students who are least responsive to effective instruction, to formulate effective individualized programs. Progress monitoring toolsmust accurately represent students’ academic development and must be useful forinstructional planning and assessing student learning. In addition, in tertiary6Essential Components of RTI—A Closer Look at Response to Intervention

prevention, educators use progress monitoring to compare a student’s expectedand actual rates of learning. If a student is not achieving the expected rate oflearning, the educator experiments with instructional components in an attempt toimprove the rate of learning.Adjust the intensity and nature of interventions depending on a student’sresponsivenessProgress monitoring data are used to determine when a student has or has notresponded to instruction at any level of the prevention system. Increasing theintensity of an intervention can be accomplished in a number of ways such aslengthening instructional time, increasing the frequency of instructional sessions,reducing the size of the instructional group, or adjusting the level of instruction.Also, intensity can be increased by providing intervention support from a teacherwith more experience and skill in teaching students with learning or behavioraldifficulties (e.g., a reading specialist or a special educator).Identify students with learning disabilities or other disabilitiesIf a student fails to respond to intervention, the student may have a learningdisability or other disability that requires further evaluation. Progress monitoringand other data collected over the course of the provided intervention should beexamined during the evaluation process, along with data from appropriatelyselected measures (e.g., tests of cognition, language, perception, and social skills).In this way, effectively implemented RTI frameworks contribute to the processof disability identification by reducing inappropriate identification of studentswho might appear to have a disability because of inappropriate or insufficientinstruction.Use data to inform decisions at the school, grade, or classroom levelsScreening and progress monitoring data can be aggregated and used to compareand contrast the adequacy of the core curriculum as well as the effectiveness of d