Posted on 04/15/2011 at 08:02 AM by Global Reach

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a process intended to help educators maximize student achievement through early identification or learning or behavioral difficulties.  By using RTI, teachers and other school staff are able to identify challenges to student learning, provide appropriate evidence-based interventions, and monitor student progress based on achievement and other performance data.   By providing information about how a child responds to evidence-based interventions and other supports, RTI enables teachers to adjust their instruction to best meet the needs of their students (National Center on Response to Intervention, 2008).

RTI components and evidence-based interventions can be used to help English language learners (ELLs) succeed.  All ELLs, however need cultural and linguistically appropriate instruction within the educational setting.  Instruction and interventions must consider a student’s cultural background and experiences as well as their linguistic proficiency (in both English and the native language) in order for instruction to be appropriate. 

With the above information processing, let’s examine a new paradigm shift.  RTI + I…yes, you read it correctly, RTI + I…Response to Intervention + Instruction.  Research has shown with the adoption of RTI in educational settings many evidence-based interventions were being documented, however; addressing the diverse needs of ELLs needed more intense scrutiny.  One way in, which this can be addressed, is through 3 components of the “I” in RTI + I, please see below.  These components can be successfully addressed/documented/examined during building SAT meetings or BAT meetings where classroom teachers, instructional coaches, strategists, ESL teachers and interventionists can discuss a student’s needs.

1.    Modification(s) – What content is taught?
•    Adjust the content so that students will be successful
•    Students are given less complex or lengthy content to meet learning needs (may depend on IPT or ELDA scores)

2.    Accommodation(s) – How content is taught?
•    A physical or environmental change that ensures success.
•    Differentiated teaching practices based on student learning needs.

3.    Intervention(s) – Specific and differentiated instructional strategies.
•    Key feature of RTI, refers to specific action teachers mindfully take as a preventative measure to support students at risk of failure.
•    Intervention = AssessImplementAdjust to enhance a child’s ability to learn.

Modifications change the playing field.  Accommodations level the playing field.  Interventions enhance the playing field.

Gusman, J. (2004).  Differentiated instruction for English language learner: Best practices to use with your students (K-12).  National Professional Resources, Inc. Port Chester, NY, 2004.

National Center for Response to Intervention. (2008).  Response to intervention + instruction. Retrieved from

Websites: (Jo Gusman Website)

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