RTI and Learning Disabilities

February 2, 2010

The article, ” Where’s Your State With RTI and Learning Disabilities?” written by Christina Samuels, discusses the background of the response to intervention process. The article distinguishes between the IQ discrepancy model (a distinguished difference between IQ test scores and the actual achievement of the student)  and the new response to intervention model. The IQ discrepancy model is the established method for identifying students for special education services in almost all states. However, the article is quick to mention that more and more states (including Indiana ) are mandating the implementation of the response to intervention process, but is quick to include that the implementation of the response to intervention process is not required by the federal government. The article details some specific components that are included within the response to intervention process.

Response to intervention is a program that is helping many struggling students achieve success. The RTI model is based upon three tiered levels of intervention. The base tier, tier one, is the universal tier. The services received here are given to all the students located within the classroom. If students are not successful in tier one, they move on to tier two of the RTI model. Tier two interventions are more individualized to meet the needs of the struggling learner. The third (and final) tier, is the mosr intensive. Tier three provides the most intense academic supports that are available in the school(usually students with severe academic delays or behavioral problems). Tier three is only available to students in special education.

The IQ achievement discrepancy model has often been criticized because often times students must fail in order to receive the additional help they may need to be successful. However, the RTI process is a great research-based intervention program that catches academic and behavioral problems earlier in schools. Students who need the extra supports of the tiered program receive help as soon as the need becomes apparent.

I think that this article broke down some of the components of the RTI process, however upon further review of this article, there was one thing that was unclear within the article that I wanted to clarify. The article states that if there is no improvement with the interventions a student may be able to receive special education services. This is true, however, the student must work his or her way through the tiered system (through tier two) to be considered for special education services (unless there are other circumstances).

The Forgotten Disability

When Testing Fails


One comment

  1. I love the articles about RTI. Now learning the new aspects of RTI i have become more and more interested in the outcomes that will come from these interventions. I think that RTI is a great way to catch the students that have learning disabilities before they fall through the cracks and end up in special education, when they really don’t need that assistance. RTI is great for all students including the students in the general education classroom. I think that it is a wonderful improvement to the IQ achievement tests that were used in the past. The RTI will allow students to receive the help that they need before they have gotten to far behind to catch them up.

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