George Lucas Educational Foundation

Response to Intervention: Resources for Educators

Explore resources to help understand, implement, or refine Response to Intervention.

Youki Terada
Research and Standards Editor
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  • Multi-tiered instruction: All students receive Tier 1 support. Students that need additional help (typically about 15 percent of students) also receive Tier 2 support in small groups. About five percent of students receive intensive, one-on-one, Tier 3 support.
  • Ongoing assessment: All students undergo regular monitoring to determine whether they need Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 support.
  • Collaborative decision-making: Schools often use a team of educators (such as general education teachers, learning specialists, and school counselors) to make decisions about what supports a student may need. Parents are also heavily involved.

RTI models vary across schools and states. Also known as Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTII), which emphasizes research-based instruction at its core, RTI is often paired with Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), which supports students’ emotional needs. More recently, Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is being used as an umbrella term that includes academic, behavioral, social, and emotional supports for students.

Getting Started With RTI

  • State/local departments of education are excellent sources for RTI information. Visit the California Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency, and the New York City Department of Education to learn more.
  • What Is Response to Intervention?: Explore resources for RTI based on whole-class, small-group, or individual support. (ASCD)
  • Getting Started Guide: Learn more about the various phases of RTI implementation, from building support to developing and evaluating your program. (RTI Action Network)
  • RTI Fact Sheet: Use this one-page PDF to help explain RTI to teachers, parents, and community members. (New Mexico Public Education Department, 2009)
  • Using an RTI Framework to Improve Student Learning (PDF): Read this pocket guide to learn how using a research-based RTI framework can improve learning for all students, particularly in low-performing schools and those with large achievement gaps. (American Institutes for Research, 2013)
  • Ask the Expert: Watch over two dozen videos with expert answers for commonly asked questions such as, "How does the RTI Framework intersect with the Common Core State Standards Initiative?" (Center on Response to Intervention)

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Implementing RTI at Your School

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Assessing Student Learning

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Reaching Out to Parents

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Resources for Funding RTI

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The Research Behind RTI

  • Research Spotlight on RTI: Dig into an overview of the research on RTI, and learn more about the essential components of a successful program. (National Education Association)
  • Research Support for RTI: Learn about effective RTI implementation, including efficacy studies as well as best practices. (RTI Action Network)
  • Study: RTI Practice Falls Short of Promise: Read about research that found how RTI may not be as effective for first-grade students as initially thought. (EdWeek, 2015)

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Downloads and Examples From Schools That Work

Safe Spaces for Math and Literacy

At Charles R. Drew Charter School, the Literacy Center and Math Lab provide fun, engaging, and enriching interventions to help support students most in need.

Meeting Students at Their Learning Ability

Learn how educators at Meyer Elementary School support student needs and growth through their RTI program.

MTSS: Reaching All High School Students

P.K. Yonge uses Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to meet the learning needs of its high school students. MTSS is similar to RTI, with an added emphasis on behavioral support. Check out a few of P.K. Yonge's MTSS teacher tools:

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Nona Craft's picture

Having a "go-to" list of resources is more than helpful for teachers who are teaching in an inclusive setting. I have bookmarked this page!

IreneFenswick's picture

RTI is not so easy to implement. It requires addressing problems via appropriate instructions. First of all, a mindset change is needed. But I think we're on the right track.

Youki Terada's picture
Youki Terada
Research and Standards Editor

You're absolutely right, Irene -- everyone needs to be on the same page for a program like RTI to work. One of the articles I link to does a great job talking about the importance of getting teachers and students involved early in the process:

Intervention for Failing Students: What Matters Most?
"And I agree, when Something New comes to a school, so often the devil is in fact in the details. But I'd like to take it a step further by saying, as are the angels in the implementation. Those angels are teachers and students. To start with, schools with successful intervention systems in place include teachers fully and from Day One in the decision-making process."

Many of the resources I link in the "Getting Started" and "Reaching Out to Parents" sections give tips on how to talk about RTI with the school community, including staff, students, and parents. RTI is complex enough that it's dangerous to implement without everyone having the same mindset -- a great example is the "Safe Spaces for Math and Literacy" video (embedded above) and how the school works hard to ensure that students feel supported, not stigmatized, for needing extra instruction.

Thanks for your comment, the importance of mindset can't be emphasized enough.

vcrunnfe's picture

Thank you for all of the valuable resources to help support RTI. I am learning more about RTI in coursework for my masters, and it has opened my eyes to how differently it is implemented in each district. Our district is going through a change in implementation for the upcoming school year, and as a teacher, who is also learning about how RTI should be implemented, I am curious as to how the new system will work. One of the things I have found most difficult is documentation of interventions as well as consistency between teachers and inadequate training of how the process works for all teachers.

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