Response to Intervention: Does it Work?
**Please forgive my deviation from such vital topics as movie night, shoe shopping, road trips, book reviews, cake raffles, and water parks. Today I am using the blog for school. Read on….
Cool RTI Graphic:
The Quickie Wiki Definition of RTI (translation: of course it’s not that simple): A method of academic intervention used in the United States to provide early, systematic assistance to children who are having difficulty learning.
Response to Intervention (RTI) is a three-tiered model that can be used in any subject matter as a way to identify students who may have a specific learning disability. Click here for more info. But make sure you come back.
Does RTI Work?
What I have heard from those who use RTI is that it requires a lot of training, documentation and research that it is costly and time consuming, and that it ultimately impedes a teacher’s ability to interact with students and individualize instruction. Teachers say they have a set way they like to teach, and they don’t like to be forced to change that. Response to Intervention requires frequent progress monitoring, and research-based interventions, and teachers tell me that the system doesn’t work because their administration can’t spend the money on the professional development needed to make the program successful. Teachers also say that RTI eliminates the “wait to fail” philosophy of education and allows students in need of interventions the help they need sooner, and that they therefore like the process.
What Scares Me About Implementing RTI:
What concerns me is that teaching strategies that work but may not have been researched and proven to work may be eliminated. Good teachers have a million tricks to teach content, and they can find many creative ways to get students to grasp concepts. For example, they may write a song to help students remember math facts, or create their own graphic organizers that help students write papers. My concern with RTI is that these types of teaching tools and intervention techniques would be shunned, or worse, disallowed until proof could be found that they are effective. What drew me to teaching is the ability to find creative ways to help students learn, and I wonder if RTI would not allow that. Another worry I have is that I might place a student in the wrong tier, or that a student may not receive the special education services he or she needs because RTI becomes a panacea for students who are struggling and then the Child Find aspect of IDEA stops. If I were working at a school that used RTI, I would be concerned about keeping up with the additional paperwork that the program requires and that I would miss teaching opportunities and interactions with my students because I was constantly assessing. I also wonder about the impact the program has on students, if they are being assessed too often or if they feel that they are stuck in one tier forever. I’ve also heard that first-year teachers are very busy, so I’d worry about my ability to get it all done and still serve my students in the ways they need.
Despite my fears, my personal take on RTI is that it can work, if you have the time and money to implement it properly, and if you have the buy in of the teachers. I think it has to be a school wide requirement thought, not an optional addition. And I feel that anything that can help students get access to more learning opportunities, the better resources we all wish we had more of: time and money.
Because I don’t have personal experience with RTI, I am appealing to those of you who do. If you are a teacher, post a comment. If you have a child in special education or general education and you have an opinion (good or bad) about RTI, post a comment. If your grown-up child could have been impacted (good or bad) by a program like RTI, post a comment. If you are a student in K-12, post a comment. If, after reading this post, you have an opinion about RTI, comment! I’d love to hear what you have to say.
A Few Links