Response to Intervention (RTI): What, How, Why

Response to Intervention (RTI): What, How, Why


Fran Lehr Writer/Consultant, PREL

Kavita Rao, PhD Senior Specialist, Educational Technology, PREL


In 2004, the U.S. Congress reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA 1997), reinforcing and expanding the earlier act’s provisions and calling for closer coordination between regular classroom and special education program instruction. In addition, IDEA 2004 contains provisions that may lead to important changes in the procedures used to identify the specific needs of students with learning disabilities (LD). Whereas IDEA 1997 required IQ testing as a key component of LD identification, IDEA 2004 encourages the use of an alternative identification process—one that begins earlier and takes into consideration whether and how well a student responds to scientific,research-based intervention. The common name for this process is response to intervention (RTI).