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What is RTI?

RTI stands for Response To Intervention.  It is a framework to accelerate student learning.  It is a process for identifying students in who are not meeting standards / benchmarks, providing interventions that increase in intensity, and monitoring progress.  Research based instructional practices are at the heart of RTI.

RTI is NOT...
  • Special Ed
  • 504 Plan (accommodations, such as scribing for a student)
  • Remediation

Can I use RTI for Behavior?

Yes. Your regular classroom management plan and rules for behavior are your Tier 1 Core Instruction.  From there you can decide whether the student will need supplemental instruction (Tier 2) or Intensive Intervention (Tier 3). See the RTI Behavior Framework for more about Tier 2 and Tier 3 for Behavior.

Can I have more than one RTI plan for a student?

Yes.  You may have a student with several plans, for math, behavior, reading, etc.

Do I have to use a different RTI Document for each RTI Intervention plan?  

Yes. They can be found here.  Intervention Plans

How do I know when to start a Tier 2 Supplemental Instruction plan?

After you have done your universal/benchmark assessments, and you notice that a child has scored significantly lower than benchmark. You may notice these red flags right away, or after a few weeks of Core Instruction in your regular classroom assessments.

Do I have to document my interventions?  

Yes, for Tier 2 and Tier 3.

Can a student have Tier 2 and Tier 3 intervention plans at the same time? 

Yes.  For example, a student may work four or fives times a week in the math lab, as part of a Tier 3 intervention.  But at the same time, you could be doing a Tier 2 intervention for that child in your classroom by working with them a few times a week on fact fluency.

How do I know when to move ahead to a Tier 3 Intensive Intervention plan?

At the end of a Tier 2 intervention, if you notice a student has made little to no progress, consult with a math/literacy coach and/or special ed teacher to determine whether you will need to do an intensive intervention in Tier 3.

Can a student start the year in a Tier 3 Intensive Intervention plan without going through Tier 1 and 2 first?

Yes, it is possible if they are continuing an RTI plan from the previous year, or in specific cases where regular classroom assessment or the teacher determines that it is in the best interest of the student to go to an intensive intervention. 

When should I refer a student to Special Ed?

At the end of a Tier 3 intervention plan (6-8 weeks), if the student has not made progress, try a different Tier 3 intervention strategy for another 6 - 8 week time period.  If there is still no improvement, then consult with a specialist about a referral.

Creating an Instructional Frame for Literacy

There are many ideas about what constitutes an effective RTI. Here we have provided a table which lists the key characteristics of a successful RTI and contrasts these with what.



One size fits few

One size fits all

School focused

Teacher focused

General education initiative

Special education initiative


Single support options

Problem-solving approach

Directive approach

Understanding learners’ needs

Labeling learners

Emphasis on solutions

Emphasis on problems

Early intervention perspective

Wait-to-fail perspective

Ongoing assessment

One-shot assessment

High-quality instruction

Hit-and-miss instruction

Program coordination

Program isolation

Broad instructional alternatives

Narrow instructional alternatives



Data informed

Data driven





Source: Howard, 2011.