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Response to Intervention:

Practical Information for the Classroom Teacher


Instructor Name:

Dr. Karen Lea



Office Hours:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday




Virtual Education Software


23403 E Mission Avenue, Suite 220F


Liberty Lake, WA 99019

Technical Support:





Welcome to Response to Intervention: Practical Information for the Classroom Teacher, a course that introduces the Response to Intervention process for special education teachers, general classroom teachers, parents, and related professionals.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer. Technical support information can be found in the Help section of your course.



Course Materials (Online)


Response to Intervention: Practical Information for the Classroom Teacher


Virtual Education Software, inc. 2017, Revised 2018, Revised 2021


Dr. Karen Lea



Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.



Expected Learning Outcomes

After taking this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:

·         Implement a systematic process, RTI, to ensure that every child learns

·         Apply the essential elements of RTI

·         Navigate through each tier of the RTI

·         Apply the RTI process in the classroom



Course Description

As educators, you have probably heard the term RTI, or Response to Intervention. RTI is a process that schools can and should use to help students who are struggling with academics or behavior. Even though RTI is primarily linked to special education and the early identification of learning problems, RTI is not just for students in special education. RTI is for all students and is based on the premise that a student might be struggling because of instruction or the curriculum in either a past or a current classroom. Every teacher will have students who are struggling, and RTI is a valuable tool for easing that struggle. So welcome to the class on Response to Intervention, where you will learn what RTI is and how to use it in your classroom.



Student Expectations       

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course.  *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.


Course Overview

Chapter 1: RTI Tiers

In this first section of the course, we will look at the history of RTI or Response to Intervention so that you’ll understand the significance of this process. We will also look at what RTI is, the three tiers of a typical RTI, the essential elements of RTI, two basic models, how to talk with families about RTI, and the benefits of RTI. Your goal, or objective, for this section is to be able to explain what a Response to Intervention is and why it is used.


Chapter 2: RTI Tier 1

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a valuable tool for all teachers, at all levels, to ensure that students are receiving the instruction they need to be successful in the classroom. In the RTI approach, struggling students’ skills and behavior are monitored to determine whether they show adequate growth—referred to as responsiveness—following the implementation of high-quality instruction. Students who do not respond adequately to research-validated instruction in the general education classroom are provided with increasingly intensive interventions. Students’ progress in skill areas of concern is monitored frequently (e.g., weekly), and the data collected inform subsequent decisions about whether a student is either appropriately responsive or needs still more intensive instruction. Although RTI is used primarily to enhance academics, which will be the primary focus of this course, RTI is also used for behavior. Response to Intervention starts with universal screening and is typically implemented in three tiers. Tier 1 is the focus of this section of the course. Tier 1 relies heavily on the classroom teacher, and the goal is to ensure that the needs of at least 80% of the students are met before implementing Tier 2.


Chapter 3: RTI Tier 2

Greulich et al. (2014) found that the need for flexibility when using RTI starts in Tier 1; they advocate for rapidly moving students who are persistently inadequate responders in Tier 1 to Tier 2, where they will receive more intensive interventions. Tier 2 is the focus of this section of the course, which also describes using the RTI process with Gifted and Talented students and in grade levels above elementary school. Understanding how the process works with Gifted and Talented and in the middle and high school levels is critical for a complete understanding of RTI.


Chapter 4: RTI Tier 3

All Tiers include high-quality instruction, frequent progress monitoring, and data-based decision making. Together, these elements create a strong instructional foundation for all students: Struggling students receive the additional instructional support they need to catch up with their peers and to succeed in the general education classroom, and students with specific learning disabilities can be identified in the early grades. If it’s to be successful, the RTI approach must be implemented in a context of shared responsibility and increased accountability for student learning. These goals can be achieved through greater collaboration among school leaders, teachers, and parents. In particular, the success of RTI depends on the ability of general educators and special educators to work closely together. Tier 3 is considered a level of tertiary or intensive individualized intervention. Students whose progress is still insufficient in Tier 2 receive even more intensive and individualized instruction. Such instruction is provided through special education services. Tier 3 is the focus of this section of the course.




At the end of each chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination

will lock and not allow further access.  Your final grade for the course will be determined by calculating an average score of all exams.  This score will be printed on your final certificate.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you

may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to

complete the entire exam in one sitting.



Instructor Description

Karen Lea holds a PhD in education. Dr. Lea has 15 years’ experience teaching at the K–12 level and another 14 years’ experience teaching education courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Currently she is a Team Lead/Assessment Developer/Instructional Designer at Western Governor’s University. Dr. Lea has been professionally published over 15 times and has served on more than a dozen panels and boards, including serving on the NCATE (CAEP) Board of Examiners.



Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing Karen Lea at karen_lea@virtualeduc.com or by calling (509) 891-7219 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.



Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219. When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call.


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.


Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.



Bibliography (Suggested reading)

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2021). Response to Intervention. https://www.aota.org/Practice/Children-Youth/School-based/RTI.aspx

Bowman, D. (n.d.). The five best ways to build – and lose – trust in the workplace. TTG Consultants. http://www.ttgconsultants.com/articles/trustworkforce.html

Burns, M. K. (2021). Response-to-Intervention research: Is the sum of the parts as great as the whole? http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/research/response-to-intervention-research-is-the-sum-of-the-parts-as-great-as-the-whole

Cain, K., Compton, D. L., & Parilla, R. K. (Eds.). (2017). Theories of reading development. John Benjamin.

Castillo, J. M., Dedrick, R. F., Stockslager, K. M., March, A. L., Hines, C. V., & Tan, S. Y. (2015). Development and initial validation of a scale measuring the beliefs of educators regarding response to intervention. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 31(1), 1–30.

Clemens, N. H., Hagan-Burke, S., Luo, W., Caerda, C., Blakely, Al, Frosch, J., Gamez-Patience, B., and Jones, M. (2019). The predictive validity of a computer-adaptive assessment of kindergarten and first-grade reading skills. School Psychology Review, 44(1), 76–97. https://doi.org/10.17105/SPR44-1.76-97

Cunningham, B. (2021). What’s the difference between RTI and MTSS? https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/rti/whats-the-difference-between-rti-and-mtss

Coleman, M.R., Buysse, V., & Neitzel, J. (2021). Recognition and response: An early intervening system for young children at-risk for learning disabilities. LD online. http://www.ldonline.org/article/11394/

Davis, K. H. (2017). Teacher perceptions of Response to Intervention and its core components, and its implementation in reading in the primary grades. Theses and Dissertations. 256. http://csuepress.columbusstate.edu/theses_dissertations/256

Ehren, B. J. (2021). Response to Intervention in secondary schools: Is it on your radar screen? RTI Action Network. http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/rti-in-secondary-schools/response-to-intervention-in-secondary-schools

Ehren, J. E., Deshler, D. D., & Graner, P. S. (2010). Using the content literacy continuum as a framework for implementing RTI in secondary schools. Theory Into Practice, 49, 315–322.

Escambia School District. (2015). Using the content literacy continuum as a framework for implementing RTI in secondary schools. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ900895

Esparza Brown, J., & Sanford, A. (March 2011). RTI for English language learners: Appropriately using screening and progress monitoring tools to improve instructional outcomes. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Response to Intervention.

Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. S. (2017).  Critique of the national evaluation of Response to Intervention: A case for simpler frameworks. Exceptional Children, 83(3), 255–268. https://doi.org/10.1177/0014402917693580

Gartland, D., & Strosnider, R. (2020). The use of Response to Intervention to inform special education eligibility decisions for students with specific learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 43(4). https://doi.org/10.1177/0731948720949964

Gersten, R., Beckmann, S., Clarke, B., Foegen, A., Marsh, L., Star, J. R., & Witzel, B. (2009). Assisting students struggling with mathematics: Response to Intervention (RtI) for elementary and middle schools. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/PracticeGuide/2

Gersten, R., Rolfhus, e., Clarks, B., Decker. L. E., Wilkins, C., & Dimino, J. (2015). Intervention for first graders with limited number knowledge: Large-scale replication of a randomized controlled trial. American Educational Research Journal, 52(2), 15–25. https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831214565787

Glaser, J. E. (2017). Breaking the code of silence: Creating a trusting workplace. Huffpost: The Blog. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-e-glaser/breaking-the-code-of-sile_b_3936322.html

Godwin, A. (2015). How to solve your people problems: Dealing with your difficult relationships. Rosenbaum.

Greulich, L., Al Otaiba, S., Schatschneider, C., Wanzek, J., Ortiz, M., & Wagner, R. (2014). Understanding inadequate response to first-grade multi-tier intervention: Nomothetic and idiographic perspectives. Learning Disability Quarterly, 37(4), 204–217. https://doi.org/10.1177/0731948714526999

Grisham-Brown, J., & Hemmeter, M. L. (2017). Blended practices for teaching young children in inclusive settings (2nd ed.). Paul H. Brooks.

High School Tiered Interventions Initiative. (2010). Tiered interventions in high schools: Using preliminary ‘lessons learned’ to guide ongoing discussion. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED521562.pdf

IRIS Center for Training Enhancements. (2015). RTI. http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module

Jennings, M., McDowell, K. D., Carroll, J. A., & Bohn-Gettler, C. M. (2015). Applying a teacher-designed response to intervention to improve the reading among struggling third grade students. Open Communication Journal, 9, 23–33. http://doi.org/10.2174/1874916X01509010023

Johnson, E. S., & Boyd, L. (2012). Designing effective Tier 2 reading instruction in early elementary grades with limited resources. Intervention in School and Clinic, 48(4), 203–209. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053451212462881

Johnson, E. S., Carter, D. R., & Pool, J. L. (2012). Introduction to the special issue: The critical role of a strong tier 2 system. Intervention in School and Clinic, 48(4), 195–197. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053451212462877

Johnson, S. K., Parker, S. L., and Farah, Y. N. (2015). Providing services for students with gifts and talented within a response-to-intervention framework. Teaching Exceptional Children, 47(4), 226–233. https://doi.org/10.1177/0040059915569358

Kame’enui, E. J., Carnine, D. W., Dixon, R. C., Simmons, D. C., & Coyne, M. D. (2011). Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners (2nd ed.). Pearson.

Kamphaus, R. W., Reynolds, C. R., Dever, B. V., Kettler, R. J., Glover, T. A., Albers, C. A., & Feeney-Kettler, K. A. (2014). Universal screening in educational settings: Evidence-based decision making for schools. School Psychology Book Series, pp. 249–273. American Psychological Association.

Kent, S. C., Wanzek, J., & Yun, J. (2018). Screening in the upper elementary grades: Identifying fourth-grade students at-risk for failing the state reading assessment. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 44(3), 160–172. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534508418758371

King, K. R., and Reschly, A. L. (2014). A comparison of screening instruments predictive validity of the BESS and BSC. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 32(9), 687–698. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282914531714

Kotz, M. B., & Canter, A. (2021). Response to Intervention (RTI): A primer for parents. LD online. http://www.ldonline.org/article/15857/

Kovaleski, J. F., Roble, M., & Agne, M. (n.d.). The RTI data analysis teaming process. RTI Action Network. http://www.rtinetwork.org/essential/assessment/data-based/teamprocess

Kwok, A. P., & Lau, A. (2015). An exploratory study on using the think-pair-share cooperative learning strategy. Journal of Mathematical Sciences, 2, 22–28. https://docplayer.net/35036029-An-exploratory-study-on-using-the-think-pair-share-cooperative-learning-strategy.html

Larkin, M. J. (2016). Providing support for student independence through scaffolded instruction. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(1), 30–34. https://doi.org/10.1177/004005990103400104

Let’s Go Learn. (2021). Advancing response to intervention for 2021 and beyond. https://www.letsgolearn.com/instruction/advancing-response-to-intervention-for-2021-and-beyond/

Leung, K. C. (2014). Preliminary empirical model of crucial determinants of best practice for peer tutoring on academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 106, 5–15. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037698

Margolis, H. (2012). Response to Intervention: RTI’s linchpins. Reading Psychology, 33(1–2), 8–10. https://doi.org/10.1080/02702711.2011.630600

National Center for Learning Disabilities. (n.d.). Multi-tier system of supports: aka Response to Intervention (RTI). https://www.ncld.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/MTSS-brief-in-LJ-template.pdf

National Center on Response to Intervention (2010). RTI for English language learners: Appropriately using screening and progress monitoring tools to improve instructional outcomes. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Response to Intervention.

National Center on Response to Intervention. (2013, January). Progress monitoring briefs series: Brief #4: Common progress monitoring omissions: Reporting information to parents. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Response to Intervention.

National Center on Response to Intervention (2016). What is RTI? U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, National Center on Response to Intervention.

Otaiba, S. A., Connor, C. M., Folsom, J. S., Wanzek, J., Greulich, L., Schatschneider, C., & Wagner, R. K. (2014). To wait in Tier 1 or intervene immediately: A randomized experiment examining first-grade response to intervention in reading. Exceptional Children, 81(1), 11–27. http://doi.org/10.1177/0014402914532234

Pieretti, R. A., & Roseberry-McKibbin, C. (2015). Assessment and intervention for English language learners with primary language impairment: Research-based best practices. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 37(2), 5–20. https://doi.org/10.1177/1525740114566652

Rababah, A. A. (2020). The effectiveness of an intensive reading program according to the response to intervention and evidence-based practices in treating dyslexia. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 14(11), 779–794. https://www.ijicc.net/images/Vol_14/Iss_11/141152_Rababah_2020_E1_R.pdf

Regan, K. S., Berkeley, S. L., Hughes, M., & Brady, K. K. (2015). Understanding practitioner perceptions of Responsiveness to Intervention. Learning Disability Quarterly, 38(4), 5–15. https://doi.org/10.1177/0731948715580437

Rose, R. (2017). The administrative team’s role in one elementary school in implementing Response to Intervention (Master’s thesis). California State University. https://csusm-dspace.calstate.edu/bitstream/handle/10211.3/194738/RebeccaRose_Summer2017.pdf?sequence=3

Rosen, P. (2021). MTSS: What you need to know. Understood. https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/treatments-approaches/educational-strategies/mtss-what-you-need-to-know

Rowden, E. S. (2020). Response to intervention: A case study documenting one elementary school’s successful implementation. Virginia Tech. https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/handle/10919/97953

Rowe, D. A., Mazzotti, V. L., & Sinclari, J. (2014). Strategies for teaching self-determination skills in conjunction with the common core. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50(3), 131–141. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053451214542043

Rowe, S. S., Witner, S., Cook, E., & daCruz, K. (2014). Teachers’ attitudes about using curriculum-based measurement in reading (CBM-R) for universal screening and progress monitoring. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 30(4), 305–337. https://doi.org/10.1080/15377903.2014.938793

RTI Action Network. (2021). What is RTI? http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/what/whatisrti

Ruiz, M. I. (2019). Beyond traditional response to intervention: Helping rural educators understand English learners’ needs. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 39(1). https://doi.org/10.1177/8756870519894661

Samuels, C. A. (2011). RTI: An approach on the march. Education Week, 30(22), s2–s5.

Searle, J. (2016). What every school leader needs to know about RTI. ASCD.

Siegel, L. S. (2020). Early identification and intervention to prevent reading failure: A Response to Intervention (RTI) initiative. Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 37(2), 140–146. https://doi.org/10.1017/edp.2020.21

Smith, A. (2014). Think aloud protocols: Viable for teaching, learning, and professional developing in interpreting. International Journal of Translation and Interpreting Research, 6(1), 128–143. http://www.trans-int.org/index.php/transint/article/view/288/156

Test, D. W., Fowler, C. H., & Scroggins, L. C. (2011; updated 2012). Tool for tiered interventions and secondary transition planning for students with disabilities: 101. National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center. https://currikicdn.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/resourcedocs/55c31fd020b29.pdf

Thomas, C. N., Allen, A. A., Ciullo, S., Lembke, E. S., Billingsley, G., Goodwin, M., & Judd. L. (2020). Exploring the perceptions of middle school teachers regarding Response to Intervention struggling readers. Exceptionality. http://doi.org/10.1080/09362835.2020.1729765

Understood. (2021). 3 tiers of support. https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/rti/3-tiers-of-rti-support

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. (n.d.). The six step problem solving model. https://www.uapb.edu/sites/www/Uploads/Assessment/webinar/session%203/NewFolder/6%20Step%20Problem%20Solving%20Process.pdf

University of Kansas. (2021). Understanding Response to Intervention (RTI) and multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). https://educationonline.ku.edu/community/what-is-response-to-intervention

VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Burns, M. K. (2010). Essentials of response to intervention. John Wiley.

VanDerHeyden, A. M., Witt, J. C., & Gilbertson, D. A. (2007). Multi-Year evaluation of the effects of a Response to Intervention (RTI) model on identification of children for special education. Journal of School Psychology, 45, 225–256. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2006.11.004

Werts, M. G., Carpenter, E. S., & Fewell, C. (2014). Barriers and benefits to response to intervention: Perceptions of special education teachers. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 33(2), 3–11. https://doi.org/10.1177/875687051403300202

Yssel, N., Adams, C., Clarke, L. S., & Jones, R. (2014). Applying an RTI model for students with learning disabilities who are gifted. Teaching Exceptional Children, 46(3), 42–52. https://doi.org/10.1177/004005991404600305


Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.



7/22/21 JN