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New Roles in Response to Intervention: Creating Success for Schools and Children

Click here to download the complete set of fact sheets.

Click here to download NASP's Role of the School Psychologist in RTI fact sheet.

Introduction to Fact Sheets

The responsiveness to intervention (RTI) process authorized in IDEA 2004 is a multi-tiered approach to providing services and interventions to struggling learners at increasing levels of intensity. RTI calls for early identification of learning and behavioral needs, close collaboration among classroom teachers and special education personnel and parents, and a systemic commitment to locating and employing the necessary resources to ensure that students make progress in the general education curriculum. 

In February of 2006, the International Reading Association (IRA) convened a group of education associations to discuss how best to communicate the RTI process in a collective way to our various communities. NASP was an active participant in this initiative. The discussions gave organizations the opportunity to share information on what each organization was working on in terms of RTI resources and activities and also to collaborate on this joint project.

  • Background: As part of the information shared by individual organizations, NASP circulated a fact sheet written in February of 2006 by Andrea Canter entitled, “Problem Solving and RTI: New Roles for School Psychologists.” The group decided that it would be a worthwhile endeavor to craft fact sheets on the roles of the various team members and parents when implementing RTI procedures and to disseminate a collective set of papers. While the group was enthusiastic about developing a compendium of fact sheets, everyone agreed that the final product would not be a consensus document and that organizations would not endorse the separate fact sheets written by organizations representing their own constituencies.
  • Template: A smaller workgroup developed a template outlining what organizations should include as the major headings for their fact sheets.
    • Introduction – covering the “big ideas” of RTI, the application for general education, compensatory education, and special education, legal underpinnings for RTI from IDEA 2004, and use of RTI approaches for academic and behavior concerns.
    • Challenges and Opportunities – covering the shifts from traditional approaches to focusing on measuring individual performance over time, and the promise for improving services for students from CLD backgrounds and reducing disproportionality.
    • New and Expanded Roles – covering new professional services, the importance of team collaboration, serving individual students.
    • Meeting the Challenge – what it will take to successfully adopt and implement new RTI models, including the need for professional development.
    • Resources and References – a couple of key references and resources.
  • Common Introduction: The large group concluded that a common introduction to the set of fact sheets would serve to unify the project and establish some core beliefs and information. Once again, a smaller workgroup was established to complete this task. Components of an RTI approach, collaborative roles of parents and personnel, and legal underpinnings were overviewed in the common introduction.
  • Universal Themes: As representatives of our groups met and worked through this project, some universal themes emerged.  Several important messages regarding RTI procedures were discussed in the meetings, listed in the common introduction, or outlined in organizations’ individual fact sheets.  These themes include the following:
    • RTI is an initiative for all education, cutting across general ed, compensatory ed, and special ed.  As stated in the common introduction, it can create a well-integrated and seamless system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data from frequent progress monitoring.
    • In RTI, research-based instruction and intervention are provided by qualified personnel, and are implemented with fidelity and integrity at the needed level of intensity to address the student’s individual difficulties.
    • RTI is not owned by any one profession -- effective models require authentic collaboration among administrators, educators, related services personnel and parents.
    • RTI provides opportunities for all team members to expand their traditional roles and responsibilities, to engage in a broader array of service delivery options, and to take on new leadership opportunities. This will require systemic change in allocation of resources when conceptualizing personnel workloads.
    • There is no “one size fits all” model for RTI. The federal government purposely provided few details for the development and implementation of RTI procedures, stating specifically that states and districts should be given the flexibility to establish models that reflect their community’s unique situation.
    • RTI involves a shift from traditional psychometric standardized approaches to assessment to a more pragmatic, educationally relevant model focused on measuring changes in individual performance over time. This includes moving away from a “within child” deficit paradigm to a contextual perspective with greater emphasis on instructional intervention and progress monitoring prior to special education referral.
    • Involving parents and engaging them in a collaborative manner is critical to the successful implementation of RTI. Informed and involved parents are better equipped to support and reinforce academic and behavioral interventions at home. In addition, parents should be informed that they still have the right to request a special education evaluation for their child at any time.
    • RTI approaches show promise for closing the achievement gap and for reducing disproportionality in special education for all student groups.
  • Summary: The project provides a great model to state and local teams in terms of the importance of gathering parents, teachers, administrators and related services personnel around the table to discuss and plan for the implementation of RTI approaches. The team collaboration will allow schools to reallocate staff time to better address prevention and early intervention activities, and to serve more students up front rather than at the point of special education referral and service.
  • The collective set of papers is a valuable resource to teams as they engage in these collaborative discussions. It is important that we all remember that, "It is through cooperation, rather than conflict, that our greatest successes will be derived."

    Readers may click here for a PDF of the collective set of fact sheets on the role of various team members in an RTI model.