For a couple years now, we’ve noticed an interesting traffic pattern on Education Week’s Web site: Whenever a story includes the words “response to intervention” or “RTI” in the headline, it gets a huge number of page views. At first, we thought this might be an anomaly or a short-term trend, but eventually we got it: RTI, a tiered intervention model supported by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 2004, is an issue that educators are hungry for information on.
Indeed, the statistics on the growth of RTI use in schools are pretty staggering. According to a survey of district administrators published by the education software company Spectrum K-12, 71 percent of school districts were using RTI in some form in 2009—up from 44 percent in 2007. The framework is increasingly being implemented across grade levels, the survey reported, with the highest jump reported in high schools.
And as we began researching RTI in more depth, we discovered a couple of other reasons for the urgent level of interest in the topic: RTI is not easy to implement, at either the school or the classroom level, and it is subject to varying interpretations. In other words, people have a lot of questions about RTI.
I won’t insult your intelligence by proclaiming that this issue of the Teacher PD Sourcebook will answer all your questions. Instead, what we’ve tried to do is provide a well-rounded and realistic look at RTI, laying out some of the conceptual background, exploring how particular schools are implementing it, highlighting some of the controversies surrounding it, and suggesting ideas for teachers and school leaders to consider.
RTI is big—and it’s probably not going away anytime soon. Our hope is that this issue of the Sourcebook will help you work with it more, well, responsively.
And if you like what you see, please sign up to qualify for a free subscription.
A version of this article appeared in the April 12, 2010 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook