Response to Intervention in the State of Florida

Response to Intervention in the State of Florida

Regina Winnette Hightower (Grand Canyon University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8322-6.ch013
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The 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act led to an era of educational reform that called for scientifically based curriculum and data-driven decision-making when devising instructional strategies. Response to intervention was subsequently endorsed. Because students with disabilities were being included within the general education setting during this time, many states like Florida, made use of the multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). This process was used to plan and problem-solve effective teaching strategies to improve student performance in reading and in mathematics. This chapter explores how Florida has used MTSS to narrow achievement gaps and create educational opportunities for all students.
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When referring to Response to Intervention (RTI), researchers mean multitiered, evidence-based interventions; this concept was championed by education researchers, administrators, and policy makers after the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2001 (Florida Department of Education [FDOE], 2013a; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Vaughn, 2014; U.S. Department of Education, 2014). RTI, as it is most commonly known, has influenced reading and mathematics instruction by restructuring the service delivery model to include prevention of reading and mathematics difficulties (Afflerbach, Cho, Kim, Crassas, & Doyle, 2013; Bryant et al., 2016; FDOE, 2013a; Fuchs et al., 2014; Gilbert et al., 2013). This multi-tiered prevention system was developed to improve the performance of students struggling with learning difficulties and to provide educators with a valid means for determining eligibility for special education (FDOE, 2013b; Fuchs et al., 2014; Hughes & Dexter, 2013; U.S. Department of Education, 2014). RTI has also exerted influence on the general education setting by invoking widespread screening to identify academically at-risk students and progress monitoring to evaluate receptiveness to instruction.

In RTI, the students’ rate of learning and acquisition of skills, along with their level of performance over time, are used to inform instructional decisions. RTI involves systematically using assessment data to allocate resources in an efficient manner to improve learning for all students. RTI is also referred to as data-based decision-making applied to education. The key aspects of RTI include:

  • 1.

    A service delivery model of multiple tiers of evidence-based instruction.

  • 2.

    A method for problem-solving designed to inform how interventions are developed.

  • 3.

    An integrated system of data collection, progress monitoring, and assessment to assist with decision-making at every tier of the service delivery model.

  • 4.

    High-quality instruction and intervention matched to student needs (FDOE, 2013a; U.S. Department of Education, 2014).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Assessment: The routine measurement of student progress, which also involves providing immediate and relevant feedback to both teacher and student in order to guide instructional strategies toward successful learning experiences.

Metacognition: Being consciously aware of the ability to think, learn, and apply one’s knowledge to a particular task to perform it.

Interventions: Explicit and systematic instruction used to assist students who have learning deficits. This form of instruction is characterized by the use of flexible grouping of students, evidence-based teaching strategies, and data-informed decisions that guide both instruction and learning.

Multitiered System of Supports (MTSS): An infrastructure that aligns academic and behavioral instruction, interventions, and supports with student need in order to increase student performance. The instruction, interventions, and supports are administered at varying levels, called tiers, and are designed to assist students with being more successful in school.

Progress Monitoring: A practice that involves reviewing collected data to determine how a student responded to additional assistance.

Cognition: Having the mental capacity to learn new concepts by gathering knowledge, using prior knowledge, recollecting information, acquiring comprehension skills, and discerning importance.

Adaptive Strategies: Strategies designed to promote tactical thinking whereby students are able to learn new concepts through the use of physical tools, thought enhancement, and positive reward systems that reinforce learning.

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