Response to Intervention (RtI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RtI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. RtI is designed for use when making decisions in both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data (RtI Action Network, A Program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities).
Response to Intervention was made a legal requirement in Colorado and officially in place as of August 15, 2009. In order to move to a special education evaluation and determine eligibility for special education, RtI must have occurred. One basic reasoning behind requiring RtI was to ensure that all students, regardless of special education status, be able to receive interventions to help close gaps. Previously, in order to receive interventions a student would need to be eligible for special education as determined by a “discrepancy model”. Many students did not have a large enough “discrepancy” between there cognitive abilities and their academic skills to qualify for support. Many believed that it created a “wait to fail” model. RtI works to correct that.