01 October, 2012

Response to Intervention (RTI): A Definition

RTI was identified in the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA as an alternative way to identify if students were entitled to additional educational services as a result of poor performance on academic and behavioral measures (James, 2004).  Since then, RTI has evolved as an organizational framework for instructional and curricular decisions based on student academic and behavioral performance.  Essential components of an RTI framework include:

  • Universal screening
  • Tiered levels of instruction
  • Progress monitoring

The Virginia Department of Education (2007) defined RTI as:

The practice of using data to guide high-quality instruction and behavioral interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instructional goals, and applying child response data to make critical educational decisions.  This process should be used for making decisions regarding general, supplemental, and special education, and for formulating a closely coupled system of instruction and intervention by child outcome data (p.viii).
The overwhelming goal of the Response to Intervention initiative is to provide a framework that enables educational institutions to implement a well established system that monitors the effectiveness of curriculum, the proficiency of teachers, and the achievement of students.  All of which is centered on providing students with an academic experience that revolves around the use of research-based curriculum and evidence-based instructional practices that close achievement gaps in student performance.


Virginia Department of Education (2007). Responsive instruction: Refining our work of teaching all children. Response to Intervention Institute, Fredericksburg, VA

James, F. (2004). Response to intervention in the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004. International Reading Association retrieved from www.reading.org/downloads/resources/idea_rti_report.pdf

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