RTI at Secondary: Is That Possible?

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    Yes! Some think that because there is little or no ‘research’ at the Middle or High school level that RTI is not valid. Not true. The elements of RTI are the same at all levels. That is, RTI is about providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently, and using data to make educational decisions.

    The challenge becomes what multiple measures you will use to decide what skills need more intense instruction or intervention. Although curriculum-based measures are typically developed for K-5, others are currently in development or further underway for grades 6-8. It is not unreasonable to develop them for grades 9-12, if necessary. Other multiple measures typically include scores on state assessments, grades (although subjective), literacy screens, and pre-assessments in core curriculum materials being used in English Language Arts, for example.

    In the end, RTI is about strategic and intensive instruction (or behavioral intervention) based on student need.  In the secondary level the challenge is the master schedule and finding time to provide Tier 2 and 3 interventions for students while still allowing students to earn credit toward graduation.  In sum, secondary, in general, has its own set of challenges just by nature.  RTI can be seen as another challenge or a necessary way of teaching and learning that is truly about holding all students to high expectations.  RTI can be successfully implemented when there is a commitment to all students’ learning, alignment of resources, existing mandates and initiatives, the delivery of integrated professional development, and use of data-based decision making.
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