Learn About RtI

Implementation of a Research-Based, High Quality RTI System

This section is intended to aid schools as they begin to implement the RTI process. This information is a starting point for schools and will not take the place of high quality professional development and technical assistance on RTI. Before implementing RTI school and district level administrators will need to consider some issues discussed throughout this document.
Considerations for Taking an RTI Approach
Successful implementation of RTI requires a change in the way education is provided. In RTI, more attention is placed on the collection and use of data to prevent learning problems from occurring. It requires coordinated collection of data and use of data to inform instruction at the individual student, classroom, school, and district levels. RTI must happen at a school or district level if it is to be successful. Individual teachers and grade levels cannot meet the needs of their students without coordinated and systematic resources, guidance, and support at the school and district level. This systems approach requires allocating resources in new ways to provide the instructional supports necessary for meeting the needs of all students. A key thing to keep in mind is that the focus should first be on the implementation of scientifically-based core instruction such that 80% of students achieve benchmarks with core instruction alone. Schools typically jump to implementing interventions for Tier 2 and 3 supports, and this can be problematic from a resource and effectiveness perspective. Core supports should be in place to prevent the need for larger numbers of students to receive intervention. It is also important to consider that it requires years for schools to get to the point where they are implementing RTI such that the process is successfully meeting the needs of all students and is sustainable. RTI is a process that requires constantly using data to meet students needs based on the research that is available. Thus, instruction may change as students’ needs and available research change.
Implementation Guidelines
Before implementing a full RTI system, schools should ensure that some key components are in place that will provide the foundation for a high quality RTI approach to service delivery.
  • A representative schoolwide leadership team that includes representatives from general education, special education, administration, and other specialists (school psychologists, speech pathologists, reading specialists). Someone with training and expertise in interpreting and using data to make instructional decisions should also be included. Teams work through a strategic planning process for getting the RTI system in place at a school and ensure that all staff are involved and informed of RTI related practices and decisions.
  • Collection of universal screening data with an assessment that is technically sound for the purpose of screening. Screening data are typically collected 3 times a year. A plan needs to be put into place for who will collect the data, when it will be collected, how it will be entered into a data system, and how it will be shared with staff.
  • Professional development on assessment, the use of assessment data to inform instruction, the science of reading, and research-based instruction. All staff need professional development in these areas so an understanding not only of the process of implementing RTI but also the rationale for taking an RTI approach and for each of the key components is understood.

Guiding Questions:

  1. Do you have any of these foundational components in place in your school?
  2. How will you begin to implement these foundational components?