Responsiveness to Intervention: Questions PARENTS Must Ask
IDEA 04 offers states and localities the option of using "a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as part of the evaluation process...," but it does not require that states or districts use Responsiveness-to-Intervention, often shortened to RTI. Although RTI is similar to the old pre-referral or problem-solving model first suggested by Dr. James Chalfant in the mid-70's as Teacher Assistance Teams (TAT), parents have begun to hear a lot about RTI as a "new" way to help students with learning disabilities.
What is an RTI?
Although there is no single RTI model, the many variations that are emerging use a two- to five-tiered model in the primary grades. The goal is early intervention for students having difficulty learning, so that achievement is improved for all students. Each tier provides increasingly individualized instruction, continuous monitoring of progress, and criteria for changing intervention and/or tier through a team decision-making process.
In general, three tiers would include:
- Tier 1 - high quality instruction and behavioral supports are provided in general education classrooms.
- Tier 2 - more specialized instruction in a smaller group is provided when student progress and performance fall behind their classmates, schoolmates, or district.
- Tier 3 - more individualized intervention is provided by special education personnel if referral and evaluation for special education determines eligibility for services.
Why should parents get involved now?
As states and districts begin exploring whether an RTI approach will be used, and if so, what form it will take, decisions will be made that affect students with learning disabilities. Unless parents become involved in the decisions of states and localities by asking questions and demanding clear answers, those decisions will be made without parent input. These questions include: 1) what specific steps to be used, 2) how parents will participate, 3) what instruction will be provided and by whom, 4) what criteria will determine changes, 5) who will be on decision-making teams, and 6) when and how will the comprehensive evaluation to determine identification and eligibility be implemented?
What questions must parents ask?
What specific RTI steps are to be used?
How many tiers will be used?
What instruction/interventions will be options in each tier?
Where and by whom can instruction/interventions be carried out in each tier?
At what points will parent involvement be encouraged or ensured?
At what points will parent notification of the right to refer their child be made?
How will parents participate in RTI?
What provisions are in place for involving parents in state/local planning?
How will parents participate in each decision changing about instruction and tiers?
What provisions will ensure that parents get regular information about their child's progress or lack of it?
Who can or will initiate a team meeting to consider tier or instruction/intervention changes?
What instruction or interventions will be provided in RTI ? By whom?
What instructional approaches and interventions will be available for use?
What professional development will ensure high quality general education instruction?
What professional development will ensure high quality specialized interventions?
What resources for providing instruction/intervention will be available?
Who will monitor the accuracy (fidelity) of student instruction/interventions?
What criteria will determine changes in RTI instruction and placement?
In how many subjects and skills will progress be continuously monitored?
Who will administer, record, and review the data from the monitoring
Will student progress be compared with classmates? with other groups?
How much time is required or permitted to determine if instruction is working?
What timelines are established to call a team meeting and implement changes?
Who will be on RTI decision-making teams?
What guidelines will ensure multi-disciplinary participation in decision-making?
How will parent participation in and agreement with team decisions be documented?
Will both general and special education personnel be included on the team?
Will appropriate related services personnel be included on the team?
If RTI is used, when and how is the comprehensive evaluation implemented?
What written materials inform parents of their right to request, at any time, a special education evaluation, as guaranteed under IDEA 04?
How will parent awareness of their right to refer their child at any time be ensured?
What procedures guide team use of RTI data in the identification/eligibility process?
What procedures ensure that comprehensive evaluation includes data beyond RTI data?
Are measures to evaluate intra-individual differences, mandated as part of the comprehensive evaluation?
Will measures of cognitive factors, be available to distinguish between students with SLD and mental retardation?
Will data from measures of ability (I.Q.) and academic achievement be available to address underachievement that is unexpected?
For more information on Responsiveness-to-Intervention, parents are encouraged to review and share the following materials available on the LDA website, www.LDAamerica.org
LDA (March 8, 2006). Information on Responsiveness to Intervention. Pittsburgh, PA: Learning Disabilities Association of America.
NJCLD (June 2005). Responsiveness to Intervention and Learning Disabilities: A Report Prepared by the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (accessed at www.LDAamerica.org, May 2006).