Response to Intervention Service-Delivery Model (RTI)
Sandra is a 5th-grade student who has struggled in math throughout her school career. Her past teachers have provided her with after-school tutoring and, in addition, her current general education teacher has provided peer tutors during math class. Should this student be tested for special education services or should she go through the RTI model? Introduction
Response to Intervention (RTI) has been in existence for only a short period, yet it has had a powerful impact on the academic achievement of students across the United States (Cummings, Atkins, Allison, & Cole, 2008). The National Center on Response to Intervention (2010) defines RTI as a delivery-service model that integrates assessment and intervention within a multilevel prevention system to maximize student achievement and reduce behavior problems. With RTI, schools identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student's responsiveness, and identify students with learning disabilities or other disabilities. While reducing the number of special education referrals, RTI has increased student achievement through the use of research-based instructional strategies, and, through the use of this service-delivery model, teachers can identify any learning difficulties and make necessary modifications to the curricula while the student is still in the regular classroom (Cummings et al., 2008). The Discrepancy Model Versus the RTI Service-Delivery Model
Since the 1970s, the method for identifying students for special education services has traditionally been the discrepancy model (Duffy, 2007). This model identifies the inconsistency between a student's IQ and his or her academic abilities as diagnosed by a battery of assessments. The weakness of this method is that the student has to fail or fall behind his or her peers significantly before being recommended for special educational testing. In some cases, students have fallen several years behind their peers, which has caused behavioral problems in addition to academic difficulties. Because of this challenge, researchers attempted to devise a method that would eliminate the discrepancy model and have students obtain academic assistance at a much quicker pace (Martin, 2005). Therefore, the RTI model, which allows students to receive academic support and, in some cases, behavioral assistance at a much earlier stage in their academic careers, was developed. The RTI model has been available for use by school districts for more than 30 years. Names such as "Teacher Assistance Team Model, Pre-Referral Intervention Model, Mainstream Assistance Team Model, School-Based Consultation Team Model, and Problem-Solving Model" (All Kinds of Minds, 2008, p. 1) have been used. The reauthorization of the federally legislated Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 saw school districts acknowledging this model as an alternative method to use in identifying students with learning disabilities. Although use of RTI was a federal initiative, states are permitted to design their own model or concept of how RTI would best benefit their students. Consequently, the definition of the RTI model varies. One definition describes it as a model that can be used throughout all school levels for a variety of students and fits well with all school improvement plans, as the RTI model is designed to close the achievement gap between student peers (Burns, 2008). RTI Models
RTI is a multi-tiered model used to improve both academic achievement and/or behavioral obstacles in a school environment (Johnson, Smith, & Harris, 2009) in which instruction is differentiated to meet learner needs at various levels. Several specific factors help distinguish among interventions at the various tier levels. In general, a higher degree of...
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