Response to Intervention KnowledgeBase

The Response to Intervention KnowledgeBase is an online resource supporting educators in understanding and implementing the response to intervention (RTI) model. The National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) has identified four stages in the implementation of evidence-based strategies such as RTI. The first stage is Exploration, and it involves consideration of the essential components of RTI models and the district or school's readiness to implement an RTI model with fidelity. During the second stage, Installation, a district or school selects an RTI model and works actively to put in place all of the supports necessary for implementing the essential components. These supports can include staff member training, policies, implementation guides, forms, assessments, instructional programs, and software. The third stage is Initial Implementation, and it involves implementing the essential components. Initial Implementation can involve just a few components or teachers, and then implementation expands over time. When the majority of teachers are implementing all components of RTI with fidelity, the district or school is in the fourth stage, called Full Implementation. This KnowledgeBase is geared primarily toward those in the Exploration and Installation stages, with some resources for those in the Initial Implementation stage.

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

Task 1: Review Legal and Equity Issues


Guideline: District and school staff members should be familiar with the legal and equity issues associated with Response to Intervention (RtI). Reviewing the provided resources may provide such an understanding.

Questions and Answers On Response to Intervention (RTI) and Early Intervening Services (EIS)

This link is to questions and answers (Q & A) released by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services as follow up to the October 2006 final regulations for the reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This Q & A addresses RTI and early intervening services.

Assistance To States For The Education Of Children With Disabilities

This link to the IDEA 2004 website provides the federal regulations related to Assistance To States For The Education Of Children With Disabilities under IDEA.

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Legal Rights: The Overrepresentation of Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Students in Special Education

Authored by the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems, this document offers "guidance for practitioners on the federal laws guaranteeing a free and appropriate public education and protecting students with disabilities from discrimination."


Office of Special Education Programs Memorandum

This link is to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs memorandum explaining how an RTI process cannot be used to delay or deny an evaluation for eligibility under IDEA.

Cultural Considerations and Challenges in Response-to-Intervention Models

This link is to a Fall 2005 National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems position statement on cultural challenges associated with RTI.


Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center

This link to the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center website provides information regarding race, gender, and national origin equity to educators including podcasts, webinars, and resources that can be downloaded.


National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems

This link is to the former website of the National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems (NCCRESt). NCCRESt is now supported by the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University (ASU).


Preventing Disproportionate Representation: Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Pre-referral Interventions

This 2006 National Center for Culturally Responsive Educational Systems practitioner brief discusses the issues associated with culturally and linguistically responsive interventions for culturally and linguistically diverse students.


RTI and Disproportionate Representation: An Annotated Bibliography

This link to the Center on Response to Intervention website provides an annotated bibliography of key articles for understanding disproportionate representation. As noted at the website, "the bibliography is categorized into three sections: Practitioner-oriented, Practitioners Who Want to Learn More, and Research-oriented. The Practitioner-oriented category is mainly composed of articles that are simple and practical. The category entitled, Practitioners Who Want to Learn More, is for those who want more detailed information about disproportionality."


Response to Intervention: An Equity Perspective

This link to an issues paper prepared by the ten Regional Title IV Equity Assistance Centers discusses the equity issues associated with RtI. The paper identifies eleven recommendations to assure successful implementation of RtI.


Revitalizing Special Education for Children and Their Families

This 2002 U.S. Department of Education document summarizes the findings of the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education. As noted in the transmittal letter, "the report outlines findings and recommendations for improving the educational performance of children with disabilities."


Truth in Labeling: Disproportionality in Special Education

This 2007 report from the National Education Association and the National Association of School Psychologists provides information on disproportionality in special education. As noted in the report's introduction, it addresses "what it is, issues that contribute to it, implications for students, schools, and communities, and practices that can create positive change, including response to intervention models, early intervening services and positive behavior supports."

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

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 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, 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 that aid these factors in supporting RTI implementation.

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