Tiered InstructionBy Sunmy Brown
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Tiered Instruction Information Sheet
Definition of the Strategy:

RTI (Response to Intervention) is a tiered educational model consisting of three levels of instructional interventions based on gaps in student learning (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). Within the RTI system, a tier is a level that includes interventions and supports for a clearly defined group of students (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). The three tiers in RTI:
· Tier 1: Core Curriculum/Instruction; educators deliver evidence-based instructional practices that all students can access.
· Tier 2: Strategic Interventions; students who need more support in addition to the core curriculum. Students usually receive small group instruction in areas of academic difficulty.
· Tier 3: Comprehensive and Intensive Interventions; students who receive individualized interventions.

Practical Application:

The Collaborative Planning Framework for teachers implementing Tiered Instructin (RTI) is composed on three main phases: Planning, Execution, and Feedback (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009).

The first phase, Instructional Planning, grade level teams develop a collaborative support team that functions as a support system for potential instructional problem solving (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). During meetings, educators form grade level teams and adopt the use of an RTI protocol. Using this protocol, teams determine the type of instruction for various students. The grade level team identifies specific areas of difficulty for each student in reading (e.g. phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension) providing a class-wide view of the risk level of the classroom (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). This phase also provides guidance for instructional problem solving and progress monitoring for students in Tier 2 and Tier 3 (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). Also, educators need to consider evidence-based interventions that support instruction and must evaluate the curriculum being delivered ensuring that all students have optimal learning opportunities (Haager & Klingner, 2005).

The second stage, Execution, refers to the identification of the academic difficulty that each student receiving Tier 2 and Tier 3 services experience and how educators collect and review baseline data collected through the RTI universal screening and progress monitoring process (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). The information collected addresses the execution aspect of this model by establishing a baseline and goals through selection of an instructional strategy during differentiated instruction and a progress-monitoring tool (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). The Execution phases is vital in an RTI model because it ensures that core instruction is carefully developed and supported by all teachers in each grade level (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). It also ensures that the selected intervention results from a data informed problem-solving approach that incorporates best practices shared by all members of each grade level team (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009).

The last phase, Feedback, is where grade level teams evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). This phase ensures a cycle of collaborative problem solving that results in more effective data-informed instructional planning and intevention (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). As educators move from differentiation instructional intervention of the execution phase, they must examine progress-monitoring data in order to determine whether academic improvement has occurred (Stuart & Rinaldi, 2009). If improvement has not occurred, the teams need to adjust one of three areas:
· Does the CBM (refers to techniques most often used to evaluate reading skills) tool not measure the progress a student is actually making in a particular skill?
· Does the intervention selected for instruction work but needs improvement?
· Does the intervention not work and does a new intervention need to be selected?

Strategy Match to Students' Needs:

RTI was developed because of the many problems with the discrepancy model for identifying students with learning disabilities (e.g., Francis et al., 2005; O’Malley, Francis, Foorman, Fletcher, & Swank, 2002; Stanovich, 2005; Velluntino, Scanlon, & Lyon, 2000; Walmsley & Allington, 2007). The discrepancy model has drawn four major criticisms:

1. It requires that a learning problem becomes considerably acute in terms of an IQ/achievement support, a problem called “waiting to fail” (Vaughn & Fuchs, 2003).
2. Establishing a discrepancy is not necessary to improve outcomes for struggling readers, as students both with and without a discrepancy are qualitatively the same in their literacy instructional needs (Fuchs, Mock, Morgan, & Yougn, 2003; Vellutino et al., 2000).
3. The IQ/achievement discrepancy has shifted focus away from understanding the impact of other possible factors, such as opportunities to learn (Walmsley & Allington, 2007).
4. Under the discrepancy model, many district and states have seen skyrocketing percentages of students identified as learning disabled, particularly minorities (IRA, 2007; Walmsley & Allington, 2007).

In 2004, IDEA, Public law 108-446, introduced RTI language (U.S. Department of Education, 2006). Within the law, it mentions, “Specific learning disabilities” (§300.307) asserts that states cannot be required to use the discrepancy model for identifying learning disabilities but may permit the use of a process based on the child’s response to scientific, research-based intervention.”

Teacher Implementation:

The RTI Process:
Step 1: Universal literacy practices are established.
Step 2: Scientifically valid interventions are implemented.
Step 3: Progress of students receiving intervention instruction is monitored.
Step 4: Individualize interventions for students who continue to struggle.
Step 5: A decision-making process to determine eligibility for special education services occur when necessary.

Lesson Plan:
RTI Sample Lesson for Instructional Strategy Presentation.doc

Benefits for Implementing RTI:

Districts that are able to effectively implement RtI across schools can potentially reap many benefits. RtI has the power to:
• reinforce a common language about teaching, learning, and behavior throughout the district.
• support evidence-based instructional practices and establish expectations and interventions within
and across schools.
• facilitate common approaches to using data to identify students in need of additional assistance,
inform instruction, and monitor student progress.
The theory is that when RtI is implemented as a robust, data-driven decision-making process, the desired
outcomes of RtI can be realized: a significantly greater percentage of students achieving on grade level,
decreased discipline referrals, and fewer student referrals to special education.

All educators can infuse RTI into instruction by:

1. Providing reading interventions to struggling readers.

2. Providing differentiated instruction for gifted students.

3. Providing research-based instructional interventions to the Special Education population.

4. Providing research-based instructional interventions to General Education population to prevent misdiagnosis of a Learning Disability

5. Providing differentiated instruction to all students.

Resources for Teacher Implementation and Benefits of RTI:

1. RtI White Paper - PCG Education - Feb 2010.pdf
2. National Center for Response to Intervention
3. RTI Action Network
4. RtI for the Gifted Student.pdf


Assistance to States for the Education of Children With Disabilities and Preschool Grants for Children With Disabilities; Final Rule. Retrieved from http://idea.ed.gov/download/finalregulations.pdf

Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. (2006). Introduction to response to intervention: What, why
and how it is valid? Reading Research Quarterly, 41(1), 93-99.

Fuchs, D., Mock, D., Morgan, P., & Yuiong, C.L. (2003). Responsiveness-to-intervention: Definitions, evidence, and implications for the learning disabilities construct. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 18(3), 157-171.

Mesmer, E.M., & Mesmer, H.A. (2008). Response to intervention (RTI): What
teachers of reading need t know. The Reading Teacher, 62(4), 280-290.

Stuart, S.K. & Rinaldi, C. (2009). A collaborative planning framework for teachers
implementing tiered instruction. Teaching Exceptional Children, 42(2), 52-57.