Response to Intervention (RTI) has caught fire as the latest and greatest method for assessing students for specific learning disability. Teachers across the country are being taught to do RTI before and after making an initial referral for special education testing. Many professionals are calling it the best method for assessment. Why? What is so great about RTI? In this short post, I will give a few of the reasons why people are in love with the RTI method of assessment.
#1. RTI is Individualized
There is no one-size-fits-all RTI method. The method of assessment is somewhat philosophical in that there are no set-in-stone rules for how it operates. Teachers, consulting teachers, and school psychologists can tailor interventions and measurement methods to address the unique problems presenting in the referral question. Since each student referred gets this individualized treatment during assessment, you not only can get more personalized recommendations, but you can better account for cultural issues.
RTI is flexible in that there is no set timeline for how long the process takes or in what setting the interventions are done. One student may go through three interventions lasting a total of three weeks, while another student may go through five interventions lasting a total of eight weeks. Interventions may start in the general education classroom and end in the resource room, or the interventions may take place in entirely in the general education classroom. The flexibility of intervention delivery, especially in natural education environments, add to the individualized aspect of RTI and can provide valuable recommendations for special education and general education instruction.
No Messy Standardization
RTI’s individualized and flexible nature mean that professionals do not have to deal with any standardization issues found in formal academic and cognitive assessments. This removes scoring errors (e.g., raw scores to index scores) and population bias that can be found in traditional academic and cognitive tests. It also removes the expense and hassle of selecting the right academic or cognitive test for the age group, referral question(s), and ethnicity. RTI can streamline the assessment process for individuals with severe disabilities where the disability is “readily apparent.”
RTI has many benefits that attract professionals. It can be highly individualized, flexible, and addresses problems with traditional testing. What are the down sides to using RTI? Stay tuned for part two “Response to Intervention: The Bad.”