One of the major frameworks that teachers and administrators use to organize their remediation efforts for struggling students is called Response to Intervention, or RTI for short.
Through a series of assessments, remediations, and behavior corrections, students are organized into three tiers:
Tier 1 – Students who are in general education classes. They are assessed consistently, but need no remediation.
Tier 2 – Students who are struggling, usually do to a lack of background knowledge compared to their peers. They spend about half of class time in a general classroom and half being “pulled out” by a remediation teacher to receive instruction in the skills they lack that are keeping them from staying on pace. If done correctly, a student should move up from Tier 2.
Tier 3 – Students who are profoundly struggling or have diagnosed learning or behavioral disabilities. These students spend the majority, if not all, of their time in self-contained classes with a team of teachers. Moving up from Tier 3 is rare but it does happen.
There are specific intervention strategies that go along with each tier. If a school or district is using RTI, most teachers and administrators have received significant training not only in the framework but also the instructional skills needed under the program.
If your child is at an RTI school and you are approached to allow remediation (a move to Tier 2 or 3), here is what you should ask.
What input do I have? – Yes, you should be approached. It’s rare that a parent is not updated regularly under the RTI program and most moves or changes need to be approved, especially if the student has an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
What data supports this move? – RTI is based heavily in data, not only with major state assessments but also with grades and thorough, periodic assessments that are given by the school to inform their instruction. Ask to see this data and how it indicates that your child needs more support.
What specific interventions will my child be receiving? – You want to know what your child’s school day will look like. If they will be spending a significant amount of time with a pullout teacher, ask to meet them. They will be your child’s most important instructor.
What is the forecast? – RTI is designed to help students receive the support they need in order to make educational progress. Students move up and down the tiers all the time. Ask for an estimation of what can be expected of your child in the near future.