RTI Blog

Every week we will have a new editorial from an experienced implementer and/or researcher who will be posting commentary about common, emerging, or controversial issues regarding RTI. Readers are invited to post their reactions and thoughts.

Recent Comments

    RTI and MTSS work only when implemented with fidelity
    In November, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education published an evaluation of RTI. Ed Week then published an article interpreting the findings of the evaluation. The title of the article was: Study: RTI falls short of promise.

    The RTI listserv and the RTI Action Network are dedicated to evidence based RTI (and MTSS), implemented with fidelity.

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    Practical Advice for RTI-Based SLD Identification
    As the Director for School Transformation at the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), I am very pleased that the nation is moving toward the systemic use of the Response to Intervention (RTI) process and the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) framework. As more and more districts are moving in this direction, it is necessary to have easily accessible, practical guidance for how to identify a student as eligible for special education in the Specific Learning Disability (SLD) category using RTI as a base for that decision making.
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    A Middle School Principal’s Perspective: Transitioning to a “New” School
    Over the past 10-15 years, the student population at our school has been steadily increasing. This past year saw our numbers increase to an all-time high of 1,610 students. As you can imagine, a building intended to hold a maximum of 1,100-1,200 gets quite interesting when you add 400 extra pre-adolescents. Thankfully, our district has been planning for how to deal with this increase for a number of years as well. Beginning next year, our sixth grade staff and students will report to a new school designed to house the sixth grade from both sides of the district. That will leave us with roughly 1,050 seventh and eighth grade students for us to plan schedules and interventions to support.
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    Bigger than the Details: Topics to Build into Faculty Discussions
    In the district I serve, we’ve made considerable advancements with our RtI practices. We have a district protocol that has served us well for several years. We are expanding our protocol into our preschool settings and we continue to work hard to integrate our academic and behavior structures. We have a multi-year approach to growing our skills around evidence-based practices, data-based decision making, and the application of the problem-solving process. Yet, while every building in the district could make the list of particular practices they want to improve and strengthen, there are some important topics that deserve some conversation and acknowledgement among our faculties.
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    Getting the Best Return on Investment from MTSS/RTI Assessments
    Districts and schools across the country have invested heavily in screening assessments to identify students who will need additional support to be successful in light of increasing standards (e.g. CCSS). These screening assessments often measure “general outcomes” (e.g. comprehension) and are very reliable predictors of state summative assessments. Unfortunately, they offer little guidance to teachers and administrators about what to do if a student is predicted not to be successful. These same screening assessments are often used to monitor student progress across the year. Many of these assessments have been normed, are equated for difficulty, and even have adaptive versions which allow their use 3-5 times per year. This ensures that a “reliable estimate of student growth” can be obtained. Thus, schools and teachers can make reliable and valid decisions about student progress, as well as which instruction and intervention supports seem to be effective for students. In order for a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) to be effective and for Response to Intervention (RTI) implementation to be successful, schools must be able to determine not just “if” instruction and intervention supports are working, but which students they are working for, how well they are working, and under what conditions they are working (e.g. with a specific amount of intensity).
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    See all entries in the archive.