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RTI – A Guide

A teacher or an educator shoulders several responsibilities in a classroom. Among the many, the most crucial task is to ensure academic enrichment in individual learners. In a classroom, you find students of varying types who may struggle with academics differently. It is common to come across genuinely concerned teachers wondering why they cannot meet the learning objective in all the students. Besides, the inappropriate behavior of students adds to the agony.

The process of Response to Intervention (RTI) comes as their solution. This article discusses the various aspects of intervention in education. Read ahead.

What is RTI?

RTI or Response to Intervention refers to the systematic and appropriate assistance provided to the children who struggle to perform as per the age or grade-level standards. RTI aims to identify struggling students early and supports them to get ahead in learning and academic performance.

It is a systematic and step-by-step process that involves research-based intervention for struggling learners that supports them before struggling students fall far behind.

The process of RTI has two domains:

  • Academic RTI- designed to support students with academic challenges.
  • Behavioral RTI, to assist pupils with challenging behavior.

Objectives of Response to Instruction

Response to instruction aims at the following:

  • To help students to meet grade and age level expectations.
  • To identify specific learning disabilities in students at an early stage.
  • To restore pupils from Tier 2 and Tier 3 to regular classroom education.

Process of RTI

Response to intervention has expanded from special education to general education. It involves the following processes that aim at promoting academic success in students.

  • Universal screening: Screening of all the students to identify who needs help.
  • Monitoring progress: Keeping track of students' advancement
  • Early Intervention: Research-based instruction and interventions
  • Intensive intervention: Increasingly focused intervention on students who continue to struggle.

Levels of Intervention

In the Response to Intervention process, students are grouped according to their level of struggle. Each group is given targeted teaching as per their need. The teachers extend the most help to the group with the most struggling students. Students' progress is monitored, and they are moved between groups as per their needs. Thus, RTI operates in three tiers, as given under.

Tier 1 – The whole class

Tier 1 includes students from the whole classroom, where evidence-based instruction and intervention target all the students. At this tier, the school conducts universal screening, and any struggle in learning is identified in students.

Intervention strategies at Tier 1 are designed to be proactive and preventative. The teachers conduct independent, paired, or group activities and instruct them in a way they learn the best. The school monitors the performance and progress of the students through home tasks, tests, etc., which helps identify struggling students.

In a classroom, 80 to 90% of the students should be able to learn fine and continue to learn regularly, without additional assistance. Students who struggle to meet the expected performance level and need extra support or supplementary interventions are moved to Tier 2.

Tier 2 – Small Group Interventions

Students who cannot meet the grade-level performance in Tier 1 are moved to Tier 2. These students need more focused intervention as compared to Tier 1. Approximately 15 % to 20 % of students need Tier 2 support.

Tier 2 involves small group interventions, twice or thrice a week, to support the struggling students. The students are taught using research-based supplementary interventions that have scientific validations.

Tier 2 instruction is targeted at the specific areas where students need help. The intervention is designed after identifying what the student is struggling with—for example, concepts such as number identification, place value system, etc.

Students in Tier 2 continue to be a part of the regular lessons, along with the other class students. Upon tracking the student's progress, if the teacher finds the skill levels have progressed, they might be moved back to Tier 1. If they continue to struggle in Tier 2, they might be placed in Tier 3.

Tier 3 – Intensive Interventions

Students who continue to struggle after Tier 2 interventions are moved to Tier 3. Around 1% to 5% of students may fall at Tier 3. At this level, students require more individualized instruction and support in learning. Hence Tier 3 instructions generally involve tiny groups or one-to-one attention. Often, a special educator attends to the students at Tier 3.

The students at Tier 3 continue to learn with Tier 1 students in a regular classroom environment. However, spend a larger portion of their day receiving intense intervention in the resource room.

Teachers monitor the Tier 3 students frequently and closely, intending to help them move back to Tier 2 or 1.

After providing individual and intensified intervention, if the students still do not show progress, then it is likely that the students may have a learning disability. Hence they are referred for testing.

Intervention Strategies and Techniques

Educators use several strategies and techniques in Response to Intervention. Some of these include:

  • Identify learning needs
  • Build strong connections with the students
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Plan effective instruction
  • Provide cues and prompts
  • Teach- review- reteach
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Monitor progress consistently
  • Be open to modification of strategies

Importance of intervention

  • Academic interventions help increase students' academic achievements by identifying areas of weakness and addressing them.
  • Behavior interventions address negative behavior in children, such as inappropriate language, disrupting behavior, aggression, unresponsiveness, etc.
  • RTI uses research-based instruction and strategies to ensure no child is left behind. Implementing RTI at school helps the school management and teachers to track students' performance and address learning gaps.
  • It helps educators self-assess their instructional strategies and address the gaps.


Implementing RTI at schools enables early identification of students with specific learning disabilities. Furthermore, it addresses the needs of students who face difficulties in learning due to poor instruction. Thus, Response to Intervention is a true revolution in education.

Teachmint offers the best-in-class education ERP solutions to educational institutes. Do check it out to provide a hassle-free experience to your stakeholders and increase your student enrolment percentage. With our advanced learning management system, you can improve the teaching-learning experience.

Suggested Read: 4 Types of Evaluation Models to Assess Teachers

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