RTI: The New Normal

If you do any teaching with kids who have suspected learning disabilities (and who doesn’t?), then you have probably heard of Response to Intervention, or RTI.

RTI is designed to help diagnose learning disabilities by requiring students to be engaged in research-based interventions (targeted at the suspected problem) over a period of time.  No longer is it acceptable to do one test and make decisions about a student’s acceptance or denial of special services based on a snapshot of information.  NCLB has forced us to take a more thoughtful approach by requiring several data points based on formative assessments over time.

RTI has led to the hiring of specialized instructors for subjects such as reading.  These “reading coaches” often take on the responsibility of arranging the intervention strategies that take place over 12 weeks or so.  The jury is still out over whether RTI is a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing.

I attempted to do some off-the-cuff research at my school.  I sent an email to every teacher on campus asking for their opinion on RTI.  I mentioned I would share those opinions in this post.  Out of nearly 70 teachers, I had one response.  The reading teacher who sent me a response believes that RTI is a great tool that is bringing significant benefit to children.

I would be interested in your experiences with RTI.  How do you feel about the new standards?  Post a comment for me and we’ll see how far the discussion takes us!


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  1. Susan Tompkins said:

    I think in theory it is a good thing. But, as often the case, practice tends to reveal a different picture. I am surprised at the level of apathy from the nearly 70 staff members especially when it is about student learning. Our LA blog just posted some interesting information on some ideas that sort of parallels your topic. Hope you can find it worth your time!

  2. Anne Truger said:

    Our district has an RtI team in place. They have become integral in everything we do. We are a special education district and the data from RtI is what is driving our decision making. Our RtI team also goes out a trains other districts. We have 8 people consisting of a parent, teacher, Psych, Soc Worker, Reading specialist, Assistive Tech, Occupational Therapist, and Speech Path.

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