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Is Response to Intervention (RTI) Ready for Implementation?

Updated on April 15, 2013
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge holds an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction, an MS in Elementary Education, and a BA in History. She also homeschools her children.

RTI suggests that students of all learning abilities should be in the same classroom.
RTI suggests that students of all learning abilities should be in the same classroom. | Source

Response To Intervention (RTI) refers to a way teachers can help children learn more effectively in the traditional classroom, as opposed to sending students to a special education class.

According to Byrnes (2011), there are several primary elements to RTI: integrated systems that use performance data, problem-solving approaches and multi-tiered intervention systems (p. 145). Essentially, Byrnes states that RTI is a way to systematically monitor student progress, in that it is a prelude to special education.

Fuchs and Deshler, as cited in Byrnes (2011), suggest that RTI is not ready for implementation in the school systems, and that educators do not have specific enough information to properly implement the concepts. Most importantly, Fuchs and Deshler suggest that educators “need to understand the conditions, or contextual factors, in the school or district in which RTI was successfully implemented” (p. 160). Further studying schools that have successfully implemented RTI will show other schools what they need to do and how they need to go about the process.

Fuchs and Deshler, as cited in Byrnes (2011), also note that effective implementation of RTI is dependent upon several factors, including:

•The significant and sustained investment in professional development

•Engaged administrators

•District level support

•A willingness of other staff members to redefine their roles (pp. 160-161)

RTI is dependent upon the school itself and not national readiness, suggests Byrnes, noting, “perhaps the question is not whether educators should implement RTI, but how to do so” (p. 168). While RTI has great potential, educators still need clarification of the definition and intentions of RTI. In this writer’s opinion, RTI is not necessarily ready for implementation to every school and every circumstance.

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