Response to Intervention

RTI is needed for ESL students in certain situations.  First, it is needed if there is an obvious speech issue that the student has in English as well in his or her native language.  If there are no personnel who speak the language, you can ask someone from the home if they hear any speech problems.  If so, there are ways to test for speech issues and get help.  Secondly, if the student has more than average difficulty grasping basic concepts or his or her behavior is unusual (as far as school personnel can tell), then RTI will help us figure out what needs to happen in order for the student to be successful in school.  One good starting point to help consider if the student needs RTI is the "considerations worksheet".  This is a series of questions you can answer to see if the student is having problems due to culture and language differences or if they really have a general learning difficulty unrelated to language.  Below is a copy of the considerations worksheet. 

Considerations Worksheet

for Students from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

(Questions to consider for I-team meetings)



Student’s primary language?


Language(s) spoken by family members?



List what the student is or is not doing that is problematic.



What is the student expected to do?


Have others (incl. Parents) noted similar difficulties?


Do the problems exist across the content areas?


Are the problems evident in the student’s first language?  Do native speakers have difficulty understanding him/her?  OR Does the student have difficulty following instructions in the first language?


How long has the child been living in the U.S.?


Other schools attended?

Where?  How long?


Specific interventions previously implemented and effectiveness?


Describe the student’s social interaction skills.


ELL progress / history?  Is the progress significantly different from that of peers starting out at about the same level?


Any cross-cultural differences that would explain difficulties?


Other variables that could explain the difficulties? (attendance, typical ELL language variations, extreme text anxiety)


Any data to show that the student didn’t respond well to general education interventions?


Does the child have interrupted schooling or limited formal education?


Are they literate in their first language ?


What data has been kept by ELL staff?

(retention difficulties, conceptual difficulties, Hearing checked,



Program Overview

for comprehensive information on RTI in KY go to:  http://education.ky.gov/educational/int/ksi/Pages/default.aspx 


Response to Intervention (RTI) refers to a process that monitors how well students respond to changes in instruction. This process is a new way of providing assistance to students before they fail. The goal is to quickly identify those in need of help, provide interventions that have been shown to be effective with other students, and then monitoring their progress to determine if the interventions are working. If an intervention is not working, then a different intervention needs to be used and monitored for effectiveness.

“Response to intervention (RTI) integrates assessment and intervention within a multi-level prevention system to maximize student achievement and to reduce behavior problems. With RTI, schools identify students at risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide evidence-based interventions and adjust the intensity and nature of those interventions depending on a student’s responsiveness, and identify students with learning disabilities” (National Center on Response to Intervention).

Core Components of the RTI Process 

  • School-Wide Screening

All students are assessed with reliable, valid, time-efficient measures of academic skills to identify those who are “at-risk.”

  • Early Intervention

Early interventions are the most efficient and effective.

  • Research-Based Interventions

School staffs implement specific, research-based interventions to address the student’s difficulties.

  • Frequent Review of Student Progress

Student progress is assessed frequently so that progress can be examined and changes made if necessary

  • Interventions Increase in Intensity

Skills are monitored and if desired progress is not obtained, interventions increase in intensity.

  • Decisions Based on Data

A student’s performance is assessed with the data obtained during the interventions and decisions are made based on that data.

Benefits of the RTI Process

  • Provides a picture of a student’s performance compared to others in the  School System
  • Calls immediate attention to students who are having difficulty
  • Initiates research-based interventions early in a student’s program when that help is most beneficial
  • Frequently monitors student progress and uses that information to make decisions regarding program changes