• Commonly Used Terms in RtI

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    Tier 1 - Interventions at this level are referred to as primary interventions and are school-/classroom-wide systems that are in place for all students. This tier should adequately serve about 80% of the student population. The main Tier 1 academic intervention is the general education curriculum. Students remain in Tier 1 throughout the school year unless they are not making adequate progress within the general education curriculum. Tier 1 is characterized by high-quality, scientifically based instruction that occurs in the general education classroom and is implemented by the general education teacher. 

    Tier 2 - Interventions at this level are referred to as secondary interventions. These interventions are specialized group systems for at-risk students. This tier should adequately serve about 10-15% of the population of students within the school, those for whom Tier 1 alone is not enough. When a student is struggling, according to screening or progress monitoring, an appropriate instructional intervention is implemented and progress within that intervention is monitored. Tier 2 interventions are provided in small groups of no more than 6 students, with progress monitored monthly, but can be monitored every other week.  The interventions that are used at Tier 2 are to be scientifically based and proven effective with the population that is targeted. Tier 2 interventions are delivered by a student support staff member. Tier 2 is considered to be a group of interventions that are intended to remediate the student’s deficits and promote participation in the general education curriculum.

    Tier 3 - Interventions at this level are referred to as tertiary interventions. Tertiary interventions are specialized individualized systems for students with intensive needs. This tier should serve about 3-5 % of the population of students within the school, those for whom Tiers 1 and 2 are not enough. Tier 3 may mean the student receives special education services, but Tier 3 interventions do not automatically mean the student will be assessed and may qualify for special education. Tier 3 interventions are more intensive than Tier 2 interventions and typically involve smaller groups of 1-3 students. Tier 3 interventions should take place daily, in addition to the general education curriculum. Progress should be monitored at least weekly.

    School-Wide Screening - Within an RtI model, school-wide (universal) screening is used to determine which students might be at risk and in need of closer monitoring in the general education curriculum. School-wide screening also serves to identify students in need of further assessment and possible inclusion in Tier 2 intervention. It is recommended that schools use school-wide screening, also known as benchmarking, 3 times per school year (fall, winter, spring) in combination with other progress monitoring techniques to identify students who require more intense interventions. AIMSweb testing is a way that school-wide screening can occur. The data that is collected is compared to grade level criteria which are available for the benchmarks in order to determine what students are not currently on target for their grade level. This data is used, in conjunction with teacher input, to determine what students may be at risk for future academic difficulty.

    Intervention - A specific skill-building strategy implemented and monitored to improve a targeted skill (i.e., what is actually known or demonstrated) and to achieve adequate progress in a specific area (academic or behavioral).

    Research-Based Intervention - Specific curriculum that has been proven to be effective for most students. To meet the label of “scientifically based,” the research must: Employ systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment; Involve rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions; Rely on measurements or observational methods that provide valid data across observations; and Be accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparatively rigorous, objective, and scientific review.

    Accommodation - Tools and procedures that provide equal access to instruction and assessment for students. Accommodations indicate how the content is taught, made accessible or assessed. They are intended to “level the playing field.” Without accommodations, students who are struggling may not be able to access grade level instruction and participate fully on assessments. Examples include: Reading a test to a student, with no additional help; Allowing extra time to take the same test or complete the same assignments; Signing an assignment notebook; Breaking down the work into smaller segments, but still expecting all segments to be completed; Preferential seating; Providing an extra set of books to be kept at home.

    Modification - A change whereby the student is expected to learn something different than the general education standard (i.e., what is expected to be learned). Indicates that what is being taught, the content, is modified. The instructional level or general education benchmarks or number of key concepts to be mastered are changed. Examples include: Reading a test to a student, and rewording/re-explaining questions on the test; Decreasing multiple choice answers from 4 to 3 options; Shortening a spelling list; Using a different grading scale for a particular student; Reducing homework/number of assignments needed to be completed.

    Progress Monitoring - Progress monitoring is the scientifically based practice of assessing students’ academic performance on a regular basis. It is used to determine the extent to which students are benefiting from classroom instruction and for monitoring the effectiveness of interventions. Progress monitoring should occur at least once per month in Tier 1, and occurs at least weekly in Tier 3. There are three main purposes of progress monitoring: (1) To determine whether children are profiting appropriately from the instructional program, including the curriculum; (2) To build more effective programs for the children who are not benefitting from the core curriculum or other interventions; and (3) To estimate rates of student improvement. In an RtI paradigm, progress monitoring assists school teams in making decisions about appropriate levels of intervention (National Center on Student Progress Monitoring, 2006). Progress monitoring tools are especially helpful because they assess specific and targeted skills, are sensitive to small increments of growth over time, and can be administered frequently. Progress monitoring tools are also relevant to the development of interventions and instructional strategies for students who are struggling. Progress monitoring can be used for students at any Tier to determine if they are making progress over time.

    ***NOTE:  It is important to note that the tiers represent instructional approaches, not a classification system or a grouping of students on ability level. Students can “flow” through levels as needed. At any time, a student may be responding to the core curriculum at Tier 1 in one subject, while receiving a Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention in another subject. As students progress to higher tiers, not only are the interventions more intensive, but progress monitoring becomes more frequent. The results of this progress monitoring are used to make educational decisions, such as: Is this intervention working? Is the student now making sufficient progress such that he/she no longer needs the intervention? Do we need to modify the intervention or try a new one?




Last Modified on July 26, 2023