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Response to Intervention: Helping Prevent Academic Failure

By The Editorial Team

Response to Intervention (RTI) offers a way to bring students back up to grade-level. In the RTI program all students are assessed and then placed into tiers based on the amount of support they need. By assessing student needs, introducing a plan of differentiated instruction and monitoring student progress, RTI puts a plan of action in place to prevent academic failure for all students.

Providing adequate support

Included in the RTI model are multiple tiers designed to give students the support they need.

  • Tier 1. The majority of students fall into this tier, which involves providing high quality instruction and support in the regular education classroom. Students are assessed multiple times throughout the year to determine whether benchmarks are being met.
  • Tier 2. Students who are not meeting benchmarks or seem to have general difficulty in the regular education classroom may be recommended for this tier where students receive small group instruction or additional instruction and support. When a student is placed in this tier, teachers and other individuals involved in the child’s education typically set goals for the child and the child’s progress is monitored more closely. Around five to ten percent of students fall into this tier.
  • Tier 3. Between one and five percent of students are placed in this tier, including students who receive special education and ESL services. However, the tier is not limited to students receiving special education or ESL training. Many students placed in this tier may be capable of performing at level academically, but may have emotional or behavioral issues that prevent them from reaching their potential. At this stage, additional goals are developed for students and intensive intervention strategies are put into place.

Continually assessing student needs

One of the key components of the RTI model is continually assessing student progress and acting based on that progress. These regular assessments allow educators to catch problems early. While student progress is measured at a general level in tier 1 of RTI, as students move to tier 2 the measure of progress becomes more personal.

In a successful RTI program, teachers set goals and create a specific intervention plan designed to meet the needs of students in tier 2 and tier 3. These plans are not based solely on state and national benchmarks and no intervention plan or goals will look the same. This individualized approach makes sure students’ needs are adequately addressed.

No chance to fail

The general idea behind RTI is that students are not given the chance to fail. Because students are assessed regularly, educators can catch developing problems early and immediately recommend that students move up a tier and receive the necessary interventions. Whether students need a few months or years of interventions, the support they need is available and immediately to provided to them.

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