Creating lessons for students involves a teacher’s skill in combining 1) required skills and content to learn and 2) different ways to get that across to students. While many teachers try to find ways of teaching the curriculum with interesting lessons that will capture attention and reach all learners, there are still students that will have trouble mastering the lessons’ content. When teachers notice a pattern of this lack of success, it becomes time to consider whether the student needs additional support. This additional support would come in the form of the response to intervention (RtI) process. This is a three-tiered system of support for students. While most students will fall into Tier 1, essentially general populations, some will need extra help and will move up the tiers; to what degree becomes the question.
Defining Response to Intervention
Response to intervention is the process by which educators can support struggling students before they are potentially determined to need accommodations due to learning or other related disabilities. It is also a way to collect the data necessary for students to be able to be given the diagnosis if there is one needed.
The RtI process is used following the spirit set forth by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004. It is both a way of providing support to students and collecting data to continue to support them in the most appropriate ways, for them.
In this case, one would consider the data as the evidence in combination with other documentation, possibly doctors’ input, for the student to obtain an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which may be long-lasting or a 504 plan which may be for temporary situations (Alahmari, 2019).
What Does RTI Involve?
RTI could be, among other interventions, in the form of extra attention in small groups on specific skills or intensive interventions that may require pulling the student out of the class for one-on-one instruction with another teacher. The process involves not only the learner and the curriculum but also the environment and instruction. In terms of active participants in the RtI process, you have students, teachers, administrators, and parents. All are necessary components to help the child become successful in both academic and behavioral contexts.
Key Features of RTI
During the RTI process, students are put on progress monitoring plans that not only take note of student behaviors but can also take note of the measures being taken to support the students and the responses to those supports (Arias-Gundin & Garcia Llamanzares, 2021). This first step in providing support, using screening procedures, and collecting data would fall most in line with the three tiers of interventions (Coyne et al., 2018).
The 3-Tier Model of RTI
Tier-1 is the basic, general education category of classroom instruction. Its measurement for success is that “80 percent of students are expected to reach targeted goals” (Veras, et al., 2019). For students that struggle in Tier-1, there are targeted interventions such as small-group and supplemental instruction; for others, there is Tier-3 which requires “more intensive and individualized interventions” (Veras et al., 2019).
Tier-2 constitutes small-group interventions
Tier-3 is the most intensive intervention for students who struggle with tiers 1 and 2.
It is important to note that parents and guardians are advised that simply being put into Tiers 2 or 3 does not automatically mean their child has a learning or other disability. They may simply need more support than is provided with basic classroom instruction (FDOE, n.d.).
If the implemented interventions are not sufficient, teachers can meet learners individually or in pairs after school, once or twice a week. These would be the Tier-3 students that need the most assistance from various professionals. During this process, educators can keep records that will consist of observations of classroom behaviors during the studying process, as well as how many times the Tier-3 students are pulled or held for individual or tandem tutoring.
Differentiated Instructions are aimed at modifying instructions until it meets the needs of all learners.
The key components of this process involve learning environment, curriculum, assessment, instruction, and classroom leadership and management.
In my classroom of Ninth Grade students, I am quite sure that a few of them need more help. I had been considering referring some of them for testing for exception education. However, I was advised of RTI and told I must implement the procedures in my classroom. The methods I will be using are multiple modes of presentation, small groups, and peer tutoring. As we are reading a novel, I have recorded the audio version over the PDF version to supplement the physical book. The audio/digital copy is presented on the ClearTouch monitor in the class and it reads along in the character’s voices as the students either follow on screen or in their paperbacks. The questions are posted on Schoology.com and are printed for those students who either request them or need them. While questions are previewed before the reading after the reading students can work as individuals, in pairs, or in small groups. The results I hope to see are that students are engaged from top to bottom, that those that need the small groups or pairs show mastery (at least at eighty percent), and that those that need the extra intervention can show mastery (at least at eighty percent) with the support.
I believe that by taking the steps in my class for the Novel Study that follow the guidelines of the RTI process, my students should be able to succeed, with at least an eighty percent proficiency. If a student were still not to respond to the interventions, I would very much like to meet with the parents, Reading Interventionist, SPED/ESE Teacher, and Administration to see what else it is that we can do (possibly other interventions) to help the child be successful. There may be some extra information needed, possibly from a doctor, if the interventions I use, that are effective for the other students in the RTI process are not proving to be of benefit for a particular student.
Alahmari, A. (2019). A Review and Synthesis of the Response to Intervention (RtI) Literature: Teachers’ Implementations and Perceptions. International Journal of Special Education, 33(4), 894-909.
Arias-Gundín, O., & García Llamazares, A. (2021). Efficacy of the RTI model in the treatment of reading learning disabilities. Education Sciences, 11(5), 209.
Florida Department of Education. (n.d.). Parent Information for Students Receiving Intensive Intervention. Florida Department of Education.
Sternberg, R. & Williams, W. (2022). Educational psychology. Pearson.
Veras, K., Phillips, M. K., Smith, L., Christian, X., & Fernandez, Y. (2019). Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). Dade Schools. Web.