What is Response to Intervention (RTI) & Why it’s Important


Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach schools use to identify students with learning and behavior needs early.

What is Response to Intervention (RTI)?

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach schools use to identify students with learning and behavior needs early. The RTI process starts with universal screening of all students in the general education setting. The data clarifies which students are in need of intervention in specific areas. Through data collection, intervention, assessment of progress and revised practice, the RTI team is able to make recommendations for continued intervention, accommodations, and services that will decrease academic and behavioral challenges and improve student success.

→  Check out our MTSS/RTI guide to help your team run & improve your MTSS/RTI programs.

Why Should Schools Implement RTI Strategies?

Experienced RTI teams will expedite student and school success because there will be strategic systems in place that ensure student’s individual needs are addressed. Schools without RTI systems may not have sufficiently assessed why student performance is stagnant or declining, which is a disservice to students  and denies schools an opportunity to improve their practice. There are many factors that impact growth, and it is the job of RTI leaders to assess student needs and build solutions in collaboration with parents, teachers, and support staff. Additionally, it is the responsibility of schools to provide equitable and adequate academic and behavioral support, which can be ensured through a sufficient RTI program.

How do RTI Programs Improve Student Success

Students Are Identified Early

Paying close attention to student trends will ensure that students don’t go years without getting extra support. Unidentified focus and attention challenges, for example, are much harder to address when students progress to middle school, as opposed to when they are in early elementary. The Response to Intervention process uses screeners to clarify which students may be in need of academic and behavior support. Routinely checking in on student progress and behavioral patterns ensures that schools don’t wait too late to intervene and address student needs.

RTI Systems Can Easily Align With Data Systems Already In Place

RTI teams can determine student need by deeply assessing student data in systems that already exist. For example, assessing daily behavioral trends, chronic absenteeism, suspension data,  retention data, standard school benchmark test scores, and daily objective mastery can tell RTI leaders a lot about students before diving into deeper assessments. Having a consistent process to filter out students who aren’t making progress with general school supports will help schools clarify which students are in need of different supports.

RTI Can Prevent Behavior Challenges

When students struggle to learn, it can cause their behavior to decline. Showing a lack of success in class may impact student confidence and motivation. Students who are in need of intervention may have a hard time keeping up with their peers which can cause them to act out or give up easier. Having a system in place to assess and address needs will ensure that students have the support they need which can prevent these types of behaviors from arising.

Experts Develop Thoughtful Solutions for Students

The best Response to Intervention teams are comprised of experts that bring a deep lens for problem solving for their field. RTI teams can include, but are not limited to the following members:

  • General Education Teacher
  • Parent/Guardian
  • Qualified School Social Worker or Counselor
  • School Administrator
  • School Nurse
  • School Psychologist
  • Speech Therapist

Additionally, RTI teams seek input from other service providers and community influencers depending on student needs. These members are able to critically think about the students’ needs and apply research-based practices that will support growth.

School Leaders Get Insight into Bigger Trends

RTI teams are able to assess outliers and trends. School administrations can use RTI data to determine if school wide, grade level, content level or teacher specific shifts are needed based on data collection.

Equitable schools prioritize Response to Intervention and give students who are in need of extra support a chance to get the help they need. RTI teams prioritize doing the data analysis and solution building that can be challenging for school leaders and teachers to do independently while balancing the day to day school operations. Investing in developing RTI processes will impact student growth and help schools improve their overall success rate.

Here at Kickboard, we have seen schools develop and improve Response to Intervention systems using our mobile app, web platform and professional development services.