Responsiveness To Instruction (RTI)

What is RtI?

Nationally, RtI is known as Response to Intervention. In North Carolina, RtI is known as Responsiveness to Instruction in order to emphasize that the intervention in RtI is direct instruction or teaching rather than strategies, accommodations and/or modifications.

RtI is a framework for meeting the needs of struggling (and advanced) learners. RtI is a new way of conducting business in schools. As noted in the book Pyramid Response to Intervention, RtI shifts the responsibility for helping all students become successful from special education and curriculum to all staff, including special education teacher a AND regular education teachers and curriculum. Schools will operate as Professional Learning Communities, implementing RtI through a pyramid of interventions, to address the needs of ALL children. RtI requires a cultural shift to ensure all staff members demonstrate a collective responsibility to help all students learn. RtI recognizes that some students will need more time and support to learn. RtI provides a school-wide, systematic process of intervention, both for students who can’t learn as well as those who won’t learn. RtI provides a strong core curriculum to all students, conducts universal screening to identify those students who need supplementary instruction, and conducts frequent progress monitoring to measure student response to the instruction.

Where Did RtI Originate?

In the late 1990s the National Learning Disabilities Summit, the National Reading Panel and the North Carolina Learning Disabilities Study Team, as well as other study groups, examined the research on Learning Disabilities and reading and recommended RtI as a replacement for the flawed Discrepancy Model as the way to identify students as Specific Learning Disabled.

RtI is now written into state and federal laws governing children with disabilities (IDEA 2004 and NC Article 9).The philosophy behind RtI includes:
  • All children can learn
  • Focus on meeting the needs of all children
  • Wealth of knowledge and partnership from parents
  • Work collaboratively to develop solutions and strategies
  • Proactive instruction within general education
  • Prevention more cost effective than remediation
  • Utilize resources necessary to meet the educational needs of all children
  • Evaluate effectiveness of educational strategies frequently
  • Communicate accurate information about student progress regularly
  • Provide opportunities for all children to achieve their goals
  • Best educational strategy: the one that works!
Important Points include:
  • School-based collaborative process
  • Uses problem solving approach to identify academic/behavior needs
  • Involves data-based decision-making
  • Primary purpose is to design useful interventions in the regular education environment
  • The focus is on Problem-Solving NOT a mechanism for referring students to special education
  • RtI Is NOT a pre-referral team
  • Assessment is functional & diagnostic
  • Interventions based on data NOT a guessing game