At a Glance: 3 Tiers of RTI Support

By Amanda Morin

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Response to intervention (RTI) is a process some schools use to identify students at risk of failing and provide targeted teaching to help them catch up. Here’s a look at the increasing levels of RTI support.

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At a Glance: 3 Tiers of RTI Support
Think of the three tiers of response to intervention (RTI) support as a kind of pyramid for helping struggling students. The amount of extra help your child receives increases with each level, and progress is measured frequently.
Tier 1
The Whole Class
• In the general education classroom, all students are taught using instruction methods that research has shown to be effective.
• The entire class is screened to identify students who are at risk of failing. Kids may work in small groups in the classroom as the teacher uses differentiated instruction to target different skill levels and learning styles.
• All students’ progress is tracked using a validated measurement tool. The school will let you know if your child is struggling and will update you on his RTI progress.
Tier 2
Small Group Interventions
• If your child isn’t making adequate progress in Tier 1, he’ll receive lessons in small groups two to three times a week, as well as the regular, classwide instruction.
• Skills assessments will be conducted weekly or every other week to monitor your child’s progress.
• The school will keep you updated. They may ask you to work on certain skills with your child.
Tier 3
Intensive Interventions
• If your child isn’t making adequate progress in Tier 2, he’ll receive more intensive instruction in specific skills. You’ll continue to receive progress updates.
• Tier 3 students usually spend part of the day in the general education classroom. Then they break off into small groups to receive targeted lessons while the rest of the class is in enrichment or elective activities.
• If your child isn’t making adequate progress in Tier 3, he may be referred for an evaluation for special education services. In some schools, Tier 3 support is provided to a mix of special education and general education students.
Graphic of At a Glance: 3 Levels of RTI Support
Graphic of At a Glance: 3 Levels of RTI Support

Learn more about RTI and differentiated instruction. Find out which questions to ask your child’s school about the RTI process. You can also explore informal ways teachers can help your child in the general education classroom.

About the Author

Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin

A parent advocate and former teacher, Amanda Morin is the proud mom of kids with learning and attention issues and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

More by this author

Reviewed by Elaine M. Niefeld Jun 22, 2014 Jun 22, 2014

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