I have an opportunity to collaborate with a group of teachers to improve their practice in the area of RTI. As part of this work, I read Simplifying Response to Intervention by Bauffum, Mattos, and Weber. This reaffirmed my understanding about RTI and clarified the concept. Here’s my current thinking:
- What is RTI?
- RTI is known as Response to Intervention (sometimes Response to Instruction). According to OSPI, RTI is a school-based, multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and reduce behavior problems. That’s a lot of policy-speak. What this means is a school decides how to put the multi-step plan into place. RTI can address academics or behavior.
- What are the components of RTI?
- Prevention (catching kids before they ‘fail’)
- Universal Screening (a little assessment for everyone to see who is missing skills)
- Changing instruction based on screening data
- Progress Monitoring (checking along the way to see if kids are making progress)
- Data-Based Decision-Making (using the above assessments to make decisions)
- Why RTI?
- As educators we are all responsible for every student’s success and learning
- As educators we believe all students can learn
- It is more beneficial to catch difficulties early and address the difficulties, rather than wait until they become large deficits.
If you’re like me, this is dry and abstract. So let me try some visuals.
In a traditional model, my classroom would look something like this:
Although I’m providing quality instruction to everyone, I recognize this doesn’t work for all students. For some, it doesn’t push them far enough. For others, one time around isn’t enough exposure to master the skill or concept. I know I need to do something different.
After a universal screener (a quick assessment to see what kids know), this is how my class will look:
For the students who don’t get it, I can find out why they don’t get it using a diagnostic tool. If I’m lucky, my universal screener will include a diagnostic option that I can view.
Another way to think of this assessment pyramid, is this common view of RTI:
I will then change instruction, now that I know who’s ‘got it’, who doesn’t ‘get it’ and why. For the students who have met standard, or are on track to meet standard, I will offer continued rigorous instruction and perhaps extension activities. For students who are close to meeting standard, I provide instruction based on the needs of those students. For the students who are in Tier 3, or far below standard, I provide rigorous instruction in their area of need.
To be clear, this change of instruction in in addition to the terrific, high quality Tier 1 instruction I’m offering everyone. ALL students get the best, high quality first instruction offered to all students. During an RTI block, for example, this additional instruction occurs. RTI does not replace the terrific things you’re already doing.
After you change instruction, I must see if it’s working. How do I know? Progress Monitoring! This is a quick, frequent check to make sure the instruction I’m providing is working. I will also want to monitor progress to see if students need to move onto another skill or can move out of a group. For students who are benchmark, I will monitor monthly; for students who are below benchmark, I will monitor twice monthly; for students who are far below benchmark, I will monitor 3 or 4 times a month. This model is typical:
|OSPI RTI Resource||Our own backyard resource for RTI information in Washington|
|DIBELS||Screening tools, diagnostic resources, and RTI research|
|The Center on Response to Intervention||Department of ED with background, history, and other resources|