Response to Intervention (RtI) is the practice of providing high-quality instruction/intervention matched to student needs and using learning rate over time and level of performance to make important educational decisions about an individual student. (NASDSE, 2006)
RtI represents an important educational strategy to close achievement gaps for all students, including students at risk, students with disabilities, and English language learners, by preventing smaller learning problems from becoming insurmountable gaps. It has also been shown to lead to more appropriate identification of and intervention with students with learning disabilities. Each day educators make important decisions about students' educational programs, including decisions as to whether a student who is struggling to meet the standards set for all students might need changes in the nature of early intervention and instruction or might have a learning disability. This decision as to whether a student has a learning disability must be based on extensive and accurate information that leads to the determination that the student's learning difficulties are not the result of the instructional program or approach. RtI is an effective and instructionally relevant process to inform these decisions.
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has established a regulatory policy framework for RtI in relation to school-wide screenings, minimum components of RtI programs, parent notification and use of RtI in the identification of students with learning disabilities. The Regents policy establishes RtI as a school-wide system of organizing instruction and support resources to deliver high quality instruction to meet the diverse needs of learners.
RtI begins with high quality research-based instruction in the general education setting provided by the general education teacher. Instruction is matched to student need through provision of differentiated instruction in the core curriculum and supplemental intervention delivered in a multi-tier format with increasing levels of intensity and targeted focus of instruction. As a consequence of school-wide screenings of all students and progress monitoring, students who have not mastered critical skills or who are not making satisfactory progress can be identified for supplemental intervention. If the student continues not to make sufficient progress after receiving the most intensive level of instructional intervention, it may be determined that a referral for a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility for special education is needed.