Special Education

Response to Intervention Grows Up: Charting the Challenges and Benefits

By Christina A. Samuels — December 14, 2016 1 min read

Response to intervention and I both got our start in special education around the same time.

I joined Education Week in 2004, just in time to cover the most recent reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. And in 2004, IDEA introduced the concept of “responsiveness to intervention” as one method schools could use to identify students with specific learning disabilities.

Of course, the framework of response to intervention—research-based interventions of increasing intensity, progress monitoring, and data-based decisionmaking—had been around long before IDEA 2004. But it’s fair to say that RTI’s inclusion in IDEA gave the educational framework a boost.

Education Week’s Newest Report on Response to Intevention

Now, RTI is used far beyond the special education world. And in Education Week’s latest special report on RTI, we explore how the framework is being used by many schools and districts as a way of reforming and improving education for all students. We also talk about the ascendance of the term “multitiered systems of supports,” which generally refers to a school reform process that encompasses both academic and school climate improvement.

This special section includes:

This is now my 3rd special report on RTI since 2004. As I reported, I was struck by how mature the RTI and MTSS process is from my first articles more than a decade ago, and how ambitious are the goals of the schools and districts who take on this work. I look forward to gathering readers’ responses to this special report, and also gathering ideas for topics to explore in future articles.

Photo: Terri Peters, a behavior interventionist at Elliott Elementary School in Holt, Mich., coaches a student on resolving a conflict.—Brian Widdis for Education Week.


A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.