Response to Intervention (RtI)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 refers to the "use of a process that determines if (a) child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as part of . . . evaluation procedures" for specific learning disabilities. Sec. 614 (a)(6)(B). This process is described in the professional literature as "response to intervention" (RtI). Districts that use RtI as part of the evaluation process for SLD should consider the guidance provided by email on March 1, 2006.

RtI is the practice of providing high quality instruction/intervention matched to student needs and using learning rate over time and level of performance to make important educational decisions. [Batsche, 2005] Goals of RtI include early intervention and prevention to enhance outcomes for children by providing access to increasingly intense supports, eliminating a "wait to fail" system, and linking instruction to progress monitoring. Implementation of RtI requires three essential components:

  • Multi-tiered models of instruction/intervention
  • A problem solving process
  • An integrated data collection and analysis system

RtI is an integrated approach that includes general, remedial, and special education. Effective implementation requires collaboration to develop a unified educational delivery system in schools and districts. The No Child Left Behind Act and IDEA 2004 require measurable, improved student outcomes and support the development of RtI systems. [Batsche, 2005]

One activity funded by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction that utilizes RtI is the REACh Initiative (Responsive Education for All Children). The initiative includes three major components: competitive discretionary grants, a technical assistance and mentor training center, and four regional centers to provide training and support across the state. Central to the initiative is the REACh framework, which is designed to help schools reduce barriers to learning and facilitate success for all students. The basis for the REACh framework is a multi-tier prevention and response to intervention model. The framework includes universal, selected, and targeted options and is based upon a data-driven, continuous improvement model.

The REACh Framework components include:

  • Shared vision and commitment (Prevention Focus)
  • Administrative leadership and support
  • Environment of collaboration
  • Resource mapping
  • Collaborative procedure for responding to individual needs
  • Evidence-based prevention and intervention
  • Student progress monitoring system
  • Data-based decision-making
  • Professional development and support
  • Family and community involvement

Additional information about the REACh Initiative is available at: and

In December 2006 a stakeholder task force convened by State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster issued a final report of recommendations on response to intervention, early intervening services (EIS) and revisions to current Wisconsin criteria for Specific Learning Disabilities. This report is available at: Information on early intervening services (EIS) is available at:

DPI Contacts for RtI


New Wisconsin Promise Panel Discussion on RtI, January 2008