“My child is struggling academically. Should he/she be tested?” This is a question that is often asked and the purpose of this article is to provide insight and an explanation of the RtI Process and how it relates to “testing.”
A major concern for parents and teachers is how to help children who experience difficulty in school. It can be very frustrating for everyone when a child struggles in reading, math or other areas. How does the school provide additional supports for these students?
Federal laws direct schools to focus more on helping all students learn by addressing problems earlier, before a child is so far behind that a referral to special education is necessary. Schools are accountable for the progress of all students and providing high quality instruction that is matched to individual needs and learning styles. One support that is provided for this purpose is the RtI process.
What is RtI? Simply, RtI is a tiered or multi-level process of providing educational support and instruction to children who are struggling learners.
In Tier (or level) I, concern is identified by the teacher, skills are targeted within the regular education classroom, and progress is documented. A key component of RtI is monitoring individual children’s progress to see how well interventions are working or if they need to be changed. Parents are contacted and informed about the process, and are asked for helpful, additional information about the child.
If there is limited student progress, then additional and more targeted interventions and strategies, usually in smaller group settings, are provided in addition to the general curriculum and the student is now considered in Tier (or level) II. Progress is monitored more closely, consultations with grade level or department teams take place, and parents are asked for consent for observations of the student.
Tier III provides re-evaluation for students who do not adequately respond to the targeted interventions in Tier II. Individualized interventions and documentation by specialists are provided. At this stage, additional testing by the school psychologist may be warranted and eligibility for specialized educational services may be considered.
It is important for parents to know that they provide a critical role throughout this process. Support what your child is doing in school through communication with the teacher, monitoring homework, and learning more about the curriculum and interventions being used.
To date, nearly 30 students at the Elementary building are involved in this process.
To find out more, contact Kimberly Light at 419-562-6089 or firstname.lastname@example.org.