Response to Intervention: What Parents Need to Know

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Disability Rights Texas Handout

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Response to Intervention: What You Need to Know

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What is Response to Intervention?

Response to Intervention (or RtI) is a data-driven, multi-tiered system of support that is designed to help struggling learners in general education settings.

Tier 1: 80 percent of students
Tier 2: 15 percent of students
Tier 3: 5 percent of students

As the intensity of services increases, the number of students decreases.

(Visual: A pyramid with bottom labeled Tier 1 stating 80 percent of students in RtI are in this level. Middle labeled Tier 2 stating 15 percent of students in Rti are in this level. Top part of pyramid labeled Tier 3 indicating 5 percent of students in RtI are in this level. Sloping arrow to the left of the pyramid pointing up along the pyramid with words “intensity increases” on the top part of line “students decrease” on the bottom of the line.)

What do services look like in each RtI tier?

RTI processes and tiers look differently at each school campus. Local leaders can adapt the tiers to fit their unique student body’s needs. For example, some districts may even use more than three tiers of RtI services.

Below are examples of RtI strategies that may occur in each tier.

Tier 1:

  • Tier 1 strategies are used for all students across a campus.
  • Screenings help to identify students who are “at risk” of falling behind their peers academically or behaviorally.
  • Small groups of differentiated instruction may be implemented to target students’ unique strengths and weaknesses.

Tier 2:

  • Students in need of greater support will be bumped up to Tier 2.
  • Students may receive extra lessons in small groups two or three times a week to supplement core instruction.
  • Teachers will monitor student progress with valid assessments at least twice a month.

Tier 3:

  • Students in need of even greater support will be bumped up to Tier 3 for individualized intervention.
  • Students may break away from the core classroom each day for targeted lessons.
  • Teachers will monitor student progress with valid assessments once a week.

(Source: Understood, “At a Glance: Three Tiers of RtI Support,” https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/rti/at-a-glance-3-tiers-of-rti-support)

RTI is a process. That means students can move fluidly from one tier to the next based on their progress and needs.

What information must schools provide about RtI?

When school officials move a child from Tier 1 to a higher service level, they must notify parents with the following information:

  • Descriptions of the RtI services that will be used. (Visual: icon with paper tablet)
  • Data collected at Tier 1. (Visual: icon of bar graph)
  • Estimated durations of RtI service delivery. (Visual: icon of clock)
  • Time frames for progress reports. (Visual: icon of chart on easel)
  • Information about special education evaluations. (Visual: icon of magnifying glass)

These requirements are a result of a Senate Bill 1153 by Senator Jose Menendez passed in 2017. See the full text of the bill at: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/html/SB01153F.htm

When can you make a special education referral?

You can request a special education evaluation at any time during the RTI process.

In some school districts, administrators have required students to pass through each tier of RTI before teachers or other stakeholders could make a special education referral.

This practice directly violates guidance from the Department of Education and should no longer occur in public schools. RtI strategies cannot be used to delay or deny special education evaluations.

If you suspect a disability, you can request an evaluation at any time.

(Visual: Drawing of a woman with glasses and a word bubble that says, “Suspect. Refer. Evaluate.”)

(Source: M. Musgrove to State Directors of Special Education, OSEP Memorandum No. 11-07, https://sites.ed.gov/idea/idea-files/osep-memo-11-07-response-to-intervention-rti-memo/)

Last updated: August 31, 2017
Publication Code: n/a

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Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.

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