RTI Roundtable

Welcome to the NASETRTI Roundtable, NASET’s e-publication on the latest information on Response to Intervention (RTI).  RTI is a newly-identified process described in the federal special education law (IDEA 2004) for identifying students with learning disabilities.The RTI process is a multi-tiered approach to providing services and interventions to struggling learners at increasing levels of intensity. RTI can be used for making decisions about general, compensatory, and special education, creating a well-integrated and seamless system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data. The NASET RTI Roundtable is a monthly education resource that provides members with the latest information on RTI in Question and Answer format.

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RTI Roundtable Q & A

Issue #1 Questions:

  • What is Responsiveness to Intervention (RTI)?
  • What is the Purpose of RTI?
  • Why is RTI Important?
  • What Are Other Benefits of RTI?
  • Is RTI a “New Approach”?
  • What are the Core Principles of RTI?


Issue #2 Questions:

  • Why Was There A Movement Towards Change Towards RTI?
  • What is a Tiered Service Delivery Model?
  • What is the Three-Tier model?
  • What is the Focus of Tier 1?
  • What is the Focus of Tier II?
  • What is the Focus of Tier III?
  • Is RTI Just Applicable to Special Education?
  • What are Some Conditions and Activities of RTI?
  • Is There Federal Funding to Support RTI Related Activities?
  • Does RTI Address Challenging Behavior?
  • Does a School District’s “Child Find” Obligations Change within RTI Systems?
  • Is Parent Involvement and Important Component for Successful RTI Programs?
  • Can RTI Promote Optimal Learning?
  • What is Fidelity?
  • Does Implementation of RTI Methods Require a Serious Commitment?
  • What Does the RTI Process Mean for Teachers?
  • What Do Teachers Need in Terms of Professional Development and RTI?

Issue #3 Questions:

  • How Does IDEA 2004 Define a Specific Learning Disability?
  • How Have Children Been Identified Under the Category of Specific Learning Disabilities?
  • What Events Led to Changes in LD Identification in IDEA 2004?
  • Why Replace the Discrepancy Model with RTI?
  • What are Major Issues Related to the Use of the Concept of Achievement-Ability Discrepancy? Why Change?
  • Why was RTI Considered in the Process of SLD Determination?
  • Today, What Role Should RTI Play in the Identification of Children with a Specific Learning Disability?
  • Can RTI Be Used as the Sole Determinant for SLD Classification?
  • Are There Other Indicators of LD That are More Valid and Reliable?
  • If Authorities Believe Underlying Processing Disorders are the Cause of Learning Disabilities, Why Doesn’t IDEA 2004 Include a Model Based on Measuring Processing Problems?
  • In the Big Picture, How Does RTI Fit Into the Determination of LD Process?

Issue # 4 Questions: 

  • What Basic Decisions Should a School or District Make Before Implementing RTI?
  • How Do You Measure Academic Growth?
  • How Do You Use Validated Interventions?
  • How Do You Distinguish Between Types of Learning and Performance Problems?
  • How Do You Determine the Effects of Instruction and Make Decisions about Cutoff Criteria?
  • What is Problem Solving or Hypothesis Testing?
  • What are Pre Referral Approaches?
  • What is Tiered Intervention?

Issue # 5 Questions: 

  • What is Screening?
  • What Considerations Are Part of the Selection of Appropriate Screening Measures?
    • Accuracy
    • Cut Score
    • Criterion versus Norm Referenced Measures
    • Efficiency
  • How is School-Wide Screening Done Within an RTI Model?
    • How to target students for preventative intervention

Issue # 6 Questions: 

  • What is Progress Monitoring?
  • How Can Progress Monitoring Be Useful in an RTI Context?
  • What Role Does Progress Monitoring Play in SLD?
  • How is Progress Monitoring Accomplished in Tier 1?
  • How is Progress Monitoring Accomplished in Tier 2 and Tier 3?
  • How is Progress Monitoring Accomplished in Special Education?
  • Will the Implementation of a Progress Monitoring System within an RTI Model Require Shifts in School Structures?

Issue # 7 Questions: 

  • What is a Multitiered Service Delivery Model?
  • What is Tier I-Core Instruction?
  • What Percentage of the Student Body Must Tier I Serve?
  • What are the Core Features of a Tier 1 Intervention?
  • How Does Tier 1 Fit Within an RTI Model?
  • What is Universal Screening and/or Benchmarking?
  • How is Progress Monitoring Done in Tier I?
  • What if Students Do NOT reach a Proficiency Level at Tier I?
  • How Will Tier 1 Interventions Affect Staff and School Structures?
  • What is an Intervention?
  • What is a Tier 2 Intervention?
  • When Does Tier 2 Intervention Start?
  • What Percentage of Students Need Tier II Interventions?
  • Are Strategic Interventions in Tier II Short or Long-Term?
  • What are the Core Features of a Tier 2 (and beyond) Intervention?
  • How Long Should Tier 2 Interventions Be?
  • What is a Problem-Solving Approach (Individually Designed
  • Instructional Package)?
  • What is a Standard-Protocol Approach?
  • How is Progress Monitoring Done in Tier II?
  • What if Students are Successful at Tier II?  What if They are Unsuccessful?
  • How Does Tier 2 (and Beyond) Fit Within an RTI Model?
  • Will Tier 2 (and Beyond) Interventions Affect Staff Roles, Responsibilities and School Structures?
  • What are Tier III Interventions?
  • What Percentage of Students Need Tier III Interventions?
  • Who Delivers Tier III Interventions?
  • Is Progress Monitoring Still a Part of Tier III?
  • How are Tier III Interventions Delivered?
  • What if Students are Successful at Tier III?  What if They are Unsuccessful?

Issue # 8 

  • What is Problem Solving in RTI?

Problem solving is a data-based decision making process that is used to identify needed interventions for students in Tiers I, II and III. Decisions are made by teams that are composed of individuals who are qualified to make the important educational decisions to help students succeed in school. As a general rule, the composition of a decision making team changes by adding additional specialists’ expertise as students move from tier to tier. When using problem solving or standard treatment protocol techniques, decision making teams should always include the student’s general education teacher(s) and parents. If districts choose to use existing teams, they may need to modify procedures to align with the problem solving steps discussed in this issue of the RTI Roundtable.

Issue # 9 

RTI Models in Special Education

This issue of the RTI Roundtable provides answers to the following questions:

  • Why is Special Education an Integral Step in a Multitiered Model Such as RTI?
  • How Does Special Education Fit Within an RTI Model?
  • When Should a School District Initiate a Special Education Referral in a RTI System?
  • If a Student is Determined Not Eligible for Special Education Services, How Long May That Student Continue to Receive the Intensive Interventions Provided at Tier III?
  • How Might Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) Differ From the Tier III Interventions a Student May Have Been Receiving Prior to Qualifying for Special Education Services?
  • Can a School District use RTI Data to Support the Decision That a Student Has a Disability in a Special Education Disability Category Other Than SLD?
  • HowWill Use of the RTI Process Affect Special Education Referrals?
    What Changes Are Needed in Special Education to Staff Roles, Responsibilities, and School Structures?

Issue # 10 

Parent Involvement in the RTI Model

This issue of the RTI Roundtable provides answers to the following questions:

  • What Does IDEA State About Parental Involvement?
  • What Should Parents Know About the RTI Program in Their School?
  • What Questions Should Parents Ask About RTI in Their Schools?
  • Are There Standards for Judging Parent Involvement?
  • Are There Measures Used to Judge Parent Involvement?

Issue # 11 

Fidelity of Implementation

This issue of the RTI Roundtable provides answers to the following questions:

  • What is Fidelity of Implementation?
  • Why is Fidelity of Implementation Important?
  • How Can Schools Ensure Fidelity of Implementation?
  • What Are the Three Dimensions that Keep Implementation of Fidelity Manageable for Schools?
  • How Does a School Achieve High Fidelity?
  • Does Fidelity of Implementation Affect School Structures and Staff’s Roles, and Responsibilities?

Issue # 12 

Review System Requirements for Response to Intervention

This issue of the RTI Roundtable provides answers to the following questions:

  • What is a Leadership Team?
  • What is Teaming?
  • How Do You Use a Research-Based Core Curriculum?
  • What are Valid Screening or Identification Procedures and Decision Rules?
  • What are Adopted Intervention Protocols and Progress Monitoring Intervention Protocols?
  • What are Policy and Procedure Development including Special Education Procedures?
  • What is Capacity Building?

Issue # 13

Application of the RtI Model in Learning Disability Diagnosis: Perception of Current Practices by New Jersey Special Education Administrators

This issue of NASET’s RTI roundtable was written by Pamela E. Lowry, Ed.D. from Georgian Court University and was published in the Spring 2013 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals (JAASEP).  Dr. Lowry’s paper examines current practices in implementing a Response to Intervention (RtI) in diagnosing specific learning disabilities. The use of the aptitude achievement discrepancy model, RtI model or a combination is reviewed.  A survey of special education administrators in New Jersey compares methods of identification and consistency of application across districts. Findings indicate that few districts are currently implementing RtI along with the discrepancy model in determining eligibility with a specific learning disability.  No district is using RtI as the sole determinant for this classification category.  RtI models differ across districts with no consistency in interventions or screening tools.

Issue # 14

Common Progress Monitoring Omissions: Planning and Practice

This issue of NASET’s RTI Roundtable focuses on five common omissions in progress monitoring practices and planning and explains how these activities are integral to the process of meaningful data-based decision making. NASET acknowledges the National Center on Response to Intervention (January 2013) for providing the information from: Progress Monitoring Brief #1 Common Progress Monitoring Omissions: Planning and Practice. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Response to Intervention.

Issue # 15

The Perspective of K-12 Stakeholders Involved in Early Implementation of Response to Intervention

This issue of NASET’s RTI Roundtable was written by Nai-Cheng Kuo, Ph.D. from Georgia Regents University.  Response to intervention (RTI) is an approach that has been implemented in more than 90% of the states in the U.S. The purpose of the study is to advance understanding of what efforts need to be made in order to increase the likelihood that special education professionals will accept RTI. Data used in this study include individual interviews with two principals, three special education teachers (two of whom were school district RTI coaches), one social worker, and one Title I teacher across four K-12 schools. Data were collected and analyzed around four sets of what qualitative methodologists call “grand tour” questions (Bernard, 2001): (1) respondents’ perceptions about data-based decision making, (2) use of evidence-based interventions at each tier, (3) strengths and challenges to achieving effective coordination, and (4) ongoing supports and professional development needs. The participants’ perspectives offer critical information to advance both research and practices related to RTI.

Issue # 16

Response to Intervention with Emphasis on Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners

This issue of NASET’sRTI Roundtable series was written by Adhwaa Alahmari.  This paper reviewed the literature on the response to intervention framework with respect to culturally and linguistically diverse students. This discussion begins with a rationale for implementing response to intervention (RTI) as an identification model. Then, it discusses the most important characteristics for teachers to consider when working with diverse learners in order to improve the learning environment for all students. It reviewed literacy research on RTI tiers, including the limitations and outcomes of each model. There is a paucity of research on the implementation of RTI with diverse students, which means fewer outcomes are available regarding producing RTI.

Issue # 17

Using Collaborative Strategic Reading as Response to Intervention in Early Childhood Education

This issue of NASET’s RTI Roundtable series was written by Sarah Al-Sharif from Ball State University. Response to intervention (RTI) is a set of strategies and tools used by a teacher to help students who are facing difficulties grasping a lesson or skill. Collaborative strategic reading (CSR) is also an important tool in early childhood education. By using CSR, the child can learn how to work collaboratively with his or her fellow classmates. Since CSR involves collaborative learning, children in early childhood education will be able to understand the concept of learning together and come to appreciate the role of others in collaborative learning. After collaborative reading, children prepare questions to ask when they do not understand a concept. This paper illustrates the effectiveness of using CSR as RTI in early childhood education.

Issue # 18

The Role of FBA in RTI2-B

This issue of NASET’s RTI Roundtable was written by Cindy Winer and will focus on the role of FBA in RTI2-B. With the upcoming implementation of RTI2-B, it is imperative that educators understand the role of a functional behavior assessment in the process. One of the most controversial issues that arises within the RTI process is the responsibility of the implementation of components. The conflict stems from a lack of understanding, training, and direction in the FBA process. This article is intended to increase the understanding of who is responsible for conducting a FBA and how it can be done both as a formal and informal assessment.

Issue # 19


This issue of NASET’s RTI Roundtable was written by Christine J. Briggs, Ph.D & Donna E. Wadsworth, Ph.D. Many students receive Response to Intervention (RtI) services during the regular school day in order to scaffold their learning and determine if additional, more intense interventions will be needed. The goal for RtI is to determine if instructional support can be delivered within a classroom setting before a student is considered for special education services. Many schools schedule an RtI time within the school day when all students receive support at a specific time. But to what extent do all of the stakeholders hold a shared understanding of what is RtI and its purpose? This study examined administrators, traditional teachers, teachers of the gifted and special education teachers’ understandings of RtI, a Likert scale instrument with one open-ended question was administered to the participants to learn what is currently understood about RtI. Data was analyzed to determine frequency of responses and themes of understanding about RtI.

Issue # 20

Revised IDEA Regulations Demand Competency in State-Supported Best Practices to Reasonably Attempt Sufficient Progress Towards Ambitious IEP Goals

This issue of NASET’s RTI Roundtable was written by Monica I. Floreani. Expertise in state-supported evidence-based practices is needed for educators to ensure that sufficient progress toward ambitious Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) goals is reasonably attempted. Growing awareness that the need for better dissemination of policies that promote scientifically backed instructional methods and ensure equal access for students with disabilities, like Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS)/Response to Intervention (RtI), exists. Despite the progress achieved in special education law, too many teaching professionals are unfamiliar with current federal rights and civil protections in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) meant to prevent denial of free and appropriate public education (FAPE). The emphasis on accountability and improved educational results for students with disabilities (SWD) requires competency in the IDEA’s revised regulations. More than ever, teachers are vulnerable to scrutiny of service delivery and depend on quality professional training programs and guidance from school leadership with an appropriate scope in special education.

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