The Response to Intervention KnowledgeBase

Element 1: Learn About Response to Intervention (RTI)

Purpose: As defined by the National Center on Response to Intervention (RtI), "response to intervention integrates assessment and intervention within a multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and to reduce behavior problems." Although RtI may have a different name in some states, the basic approach remains the same. Schools use data to identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student's responsiveness, and identify students with learning disabilities or other disabilities. Element 1 provides overview information on RtI.

Activity 1: An Overview of RTI

Activity 2: Resources to Support RtI

Activity 3: Legal and Equity Issues

Element 2: Understand Universal Screening

Purpose: Identifying students at risk for poor learning outcomes is an essential component of response to intervention (RtI). Universal screening is a brief assessment given to all students focusing on specific skills. Possessing a basic understanding of the role universal screening plays in RtI is essential in understanding the RtI concept. Element 2 provides information on universal screening.

Activity 1: Universal Screening

Activity 2: Collect Screening Data

Activity 3: Use Screening Data

Element 3: Become Familiar with Progress Monitoring

Purpose: The National Center on Student Progress Monitoring defined progress monitoring as "a scientifically based practice that is used to assess students' academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students or an entire class." As an essential component of response to intervention (RtI), teachers need to understand its principles and application in practice. This task provides resources explaining progress monitoring.

Activity 1: Progress Monitoring

Activity 2: Collect Progress Monitoring Data

Activity 3: Use Progress Monitoring Data

Element 4: Use Data-based Decision-making

Purpose: Data analysis and decision making occurs at all response to intervention (RtI) implementation and instruction phases. Data teams use screening and progress monitoring data to make decisions about instruction and movement of students within the model. This element provides resources to inform teachers about using data to make applicable decisions within the RtI model.

Activity 1: Data-based Decision-making

Activity 2: Strategies for Reviewing Data and Making Data-based Decisions

Activity 3: Use Data to Inform Instructional Decision-making

Task 1: Implement Primary Prevention/Core Instruction


Guideline: Primary prevention, sometimes referred to as "core instruction" and often delivered in Tier 1 of an response to intervention (RtI) framework, is designed for all learners and is intended to meet the needs of approximately 80% of students; it is considered the "foundation" of the RtI framework. It is predicated on the use of universal screening (see Element X), and research-based, standards-aligned, core classroom instruction. It is important for educators to understand the role of primary prevention within the RtI framework and how to deliver instruction effectively to meet the learning needs of students.

A Consumer's Guide to Evaluating A Core Reading Program Grades K-3

This guide identifies critical elements to consider when evaluating a core reading program.

Common Core State Standards Initiative

This link to the Common Core State Standards Initiative website provides links to the English Language Arts and Mathematics standards.


Selecting a Scientifically Based Core Curriculum for Tier 1

This RTI Action Network article discusses tier 1 instruction from a scientifically based perspective.


Using Student Center Activities to Differentiate Reading Instruction: A Guide for Teachers

This link is to the Center on Instruction guide for teachers. As noted at its website, it "describes a suite of Student Center Activities offering teachers a wide range of activities to engage students in differentiated reading activities during small-group work in the classroom. The activities target specific skills, scaffold student learning, and provide engaging practice to extend student learning and increase the time focused on critical reading skills at all levels of reading proficiency. Originally prepared for use in Florida schools, these activities are appropriate in any elementary school context and are consistent with scientific research on reading instruction."

High-Quality Mathematics Instruction: What Teachers Should Know

This link to one of Vanderbilt University's IRIS Center learning modules describes the components of high-quality mathematics instruction (a standards-based curriculum and evidence-based strategies) and highlights effective practices teachers might use to teach mathematics.


Indicators in Action

Indicators in Action is produced by the Center on Innovation and Improvement. As noted at its website, "Based primarily on the Center's research syntheses, Indicators in Action provides an explanation of indicators of effective practice. Video clips of principals, teachers, and teacher teams show the indicators 'in action.'" Indicators in Action may be useful to support professional learning.


RTI (Part 3): Reading Instruction

This link to one of Vanderbilt University's IRIS Center learning modules provides reading strategies that may be used with the RtI model to improve reading skills. Click here for a link to a Spanish version.

Element 5: Become Familiar with Tiered Instruction

Purpose: As defined by the National Center on Response to Intervention, "tiered instruction describes levels of instructional intensity within a multi-tiered prevention system." The primary prevention/intervention level comprises the core instruction. The secondary prevention/intervention level consists of supplemental instruction, while the tertiary prevention/intervention level provides intensive interventions to those students showing minimal response to the secondary interventions. This element provides resources on the tiered instruction concept.

Activity 1: Primary Prevention/Intervention

Activity 2: Secondary Prevention/Intervention (Supplemental Interventions)

Activity 3: Tertiary Prevention/Intervention (Intensive Interventions)

Element 6: Improve as a Teacher

Purpose: Planning for professional growth is part of a career-long learning process. Adjusting teaching practice to incorporate response to intervention (RtI) strategies is part of that process. This Element provides information on developing a professional learning plan and resources for professional growth.

Activity 1: Individual Professional Learning Plan

Activity 2: Professional Learning

Element 7: Commit to Fidelity and Evaluation

Purpose: Fidelity refers to adhering to or exacting following the premises and/or principles associated with a program or initiative. With Response to Intervention (RtI) fidelity represents adherence to the principles outline in its essential components. Element 7 provides resources to help educators adhere to the RtI model principles.

Activity 1: Evaluation of Model Implementation

Activity 2: Use Fidelity and Achievement Data to Inform Continuous Improvement

Element 8: Factors Supporting RtI Implementation

Purpose: In addition to the essential components of response to intervention (RtI), additional factors supporting its implementation include leadership, collaborative culture, acknowledging changing staff member roles, stakeholder involvement, and parent and family partnerships. Being aware of the role these factors play with supporting RtI may enhance its successful implementation. Element 8 provides resources about these factors.

Activity 1: Leadership

Activity 2: Collaborative Culture

Activity 3: Staff Member Roles and Responsibilities

Activity 4: Stakeholder Collaboration

Activity 5: Parental Involvement and Community Partnerships

Element 9: Be Familiar with RtI Implementation at the Secondary Level

Purpose: Response to intervention (RtI) is an instructional framework frequently used at the elementary school level, but the implementation of tiered interventions in middle and high schools is becoming increasingly popular. Though there is very little research on such frameworks at the middle school level and no research yet supporting the use of tiered interventions in high schools, "professional wisdom" is emerging to guide practitioners wishing to move forward with such implementation at the secondary level. Element 9 provides resources to assist educators in becoming familiar with the emerging research in this area, deepening their knowledge of how the essential components of RtI may translate to the middle and high school levels, and providing tools and resources that will guide the use of assessment and effective instruction within a tiered system of delivery.

Activity 1: Current Research

Activity 2: Implementation of RtI in Secondary Schools

Activity 3: Resources and Tools

Element 10: RtI with Diverse Learners

Purpose: The response to intervention (RtI) model is intended to support all learners regardless of learning challenges. For example, some students facing learning challenges due to language and cultural differences and/or who show traits of giftedness may require interventions. This element provides educators information on applying the RtI model to English language and gifted learners.

Activity 1: English Language Learners

Activity 2: Gifted Learners

Activity 3: Early Childhood Learning