RTI is an instructional approach or framework that identifies students who have gaps in learning or behavior, and immediately provides them with increasingly intense levels of interventions until the gaps are closed. Some schools call it “multi-tiered systems of support,” or MTSS.
“RTI” may have different meanings to general educators and special educators. To general educators, it is an instructional framework that provides all students with the instruction they need for learning success. To special educators, RTI is the documentation of a student’s response to intervention that may be used to determine a learning disability.
The goal of an RTI framework is to intervene early – when students begin to struggle with learning – to prevent them from falling behind and developing learning difficulties. RTI has these key elements:
- reliable, valid assessments administered to all students;
- explicit, differentiated instruction for all students;
- research-based interventions to target specific students’ needs;
- ongoing professional development to support teachers and administrators.
Each element is essential for effective RTI implementation. None can be lacking or missing for RTI to have its intended impact on all students’ learning.