Productive Ways to Use Response to Intervention in High School


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Overview and Purpose

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a process which school districts across the country are adopting in an effort to support struggling students. Unfortunately, this is not a one-size fits all type of approach. School districts must implement an intervention program that is conducive to their school environment and content area. To begin creating this process, teachers and administrators must come together and create a model that will best suit the needs of their learning community.

Needs Assessment

Instructional Problem:

Response to Intervention (RTI) is defined by the RTI Action Network as a multi-tier approach which identifies early support of students with learning and behavior needs. In order for RTI to be successful, four essential components must be implemented consistently in an educational setting: 1) High-quality, scientifically based classroom instruction, 2) Ongoing student assessment, 3) Tiered instruction, and 4) Parent involvement. These components are important as they provide teachers with ability to efficiently identify students that would benefit from small group or individual interventions due to poor performance or concerning classroom behaviors.

RTI originated at the elementary level as a measure for early intervention and primary reading instruction (King, Lemons, & Hill, 2012). Studies undergone at that level became the initial RTI framework for secondary schools but differences in academic levels posed potential problems to the process. For example, due to the way in which secondary schools structure their school day (traditional vs. block), scheduling interventions during and outside of class time may be difficult (Batsche, Kavale, & Kovaleski, 2006, as cited in King, Lemons, & Hill, 2012). In addition, L. S. Fuchs et al. (2010) noted that while RTI would benefit struggling students in secondary schools, there are some assumptions made at the elementary level that may be problematic for students in higher grade levels including (a) children should be screened to determine risk status prior to serious academic deficits, (b) children must demonstrate a lack of response to general education over a period of time, (c) remediation approaches shown effective for younger learners will work the same for adolescents (as cited in King, Lemons, & Hill, 2012). The limited research available of RTI programs in high school settings leave administrators in a position of wanting to pursue the process but unsure how to in a manner that best suits their students.

What is to be learned:

This mini-course is meant to provide educators and administrators with information on how RTI-type services are currently being implemented in high school settings. Sharing interventions being utilized in different courses could provide districts with a process for students needing RTI services including what constitutes deficits in specific content areas, how and when students might progress through each tier, and what programs may be useful when tracking data throughout the process.

Performance Objectives

  • Participants will be able to define Response to Intervention (RTI) and explain how it is used in an educational setting.
  • Participants will be able to analyze key characteristics of students in each tier of RTI.
  • Participants will be able to develop appropriate interventions for students in each tier of RTI.
  • Participants will be able to create an RTI program outline for a specific content area in a high school setting.

Course Units

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Unit 1: Response to Intervention (RTI)

Participants will learn the definition of Response to Intervention (RTI) and be introduced to key stakeholders in the RTI process.

Unit 2: Tier 1 Intervention

Participants will examine tier 1 interventions in a high setting.

Unit 3: Tier 2 Interventions

Participants will examine tier 2 interventions in a high school setting.

Unit 4: Tier 3 Interventions

Participants will examine tier 3 interventions in a high school setting.

Unit 5: Progression through RTI Process

Participants will examine RTI program outlines at a high school level.

Proceed to First Unit

Let's explore the definition of Response to Intervention (RTI).

Unit 1: Response to Intervention (RTI)

Course Navigation

Extended Resources

RTI Action Network - A Program of the National Center for Learning Disabilities

King, S., Lemons, J., Hill, D. (2012). Response to Intervention in Secondary Schools: Considerations for Administrators. Sage journals, 96(1), 5-22.