Seven years after the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was renewed with a provision allowing “response to intervention” to be used when deciding if a child has a specific learning disability, a new study shows 71 percent of school districts use the strategy in at least one school.
The IDEA requires the U.S. Department of Education to have the Institute of Education Sciences review how states and districts put the law in place, separate from the annual reports submitted by the department to Congress on the implementation of the law. The latest national assessment, released in late July, found that response to intervention was used in 61 percent of elementary schools, 45 percent of middle schools, and 29 percent of high schools during the 2008-09 school year.
RTI involves identifying students learning problems quickly and using a series of focused lessons, or interventions, of gradually increasing intensity to address those problems before they become entrenched.
A version of this article appeared in the August 24, 2011 edition of Education Week as Special Education