Response to Intervention (RtI)

Districts have an obligation to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities in need of special education services. Districts must ensure that students suspected of having a disability are provided general education intervention procedures.

Response to Intervention is a process used by schools to ensure that all students receive high quality research-based instruction in their general education setting. This includes continuous monitoring of student performance, screening all students for academic and behavioral problems, and implementing multiple tiers of instruction that are progressively more intense base on the student’s response to the intervention.

RTI, also known as MTSS, is a school-wide model that should address the needs of all students. Schools should identify students at-risk for poor learning outcomes, monitor student progress, provide interventions, and adjust those interventions based on how the student responds to them. This also includes providing resources based on student need and collecting data at each “tier” to determine whether interventions are successful. 

Tiers of RtI

Tier 1- The entire school is on tier 1. This tier is used to collect school-wide data which helps inform which students might not be meeting grade-level standards and might require additional instruction or accommodations.

Tier 2- This tier includes targeted interventions and support for students who need instruction beyond that provided school-wide. The students in tier 2 receive more focused, targeted instruction/ interventions and supplemental support in addition to and aligned with the core academic and behavior curriculum and instruction.

Tier 3- This tier includes intensive, individualized interventions and supports for students who need instruction beyond that they were receiving as interventions on Tier 2. This tier provides the highest level of individualized interventions and supports. 


  • The RtI process does not replace the need for comprehensive evaluations. Either the school or the parent may request an evaluation at any time during the RtI process.
  • RtI cannot be used to delay or deny the provision of a full and individual evaluation.
  • Florida requires that within 30 days of a parental request for an evaluation, the school district must obtain consent for the evaluation or provide the parent with written notice explaining its refusal to conduct the evaluation. Florida rule also requires that the school district begin initial evaluations within 60 calendar days of the district’s receipt of signed parental consent.
  • The district does not need to complete all three Tiers before beginning evaluations. The district may evaluate a student for special education eligibility prior to the completion of RtI if general education procedures have been implemented and have failed, or if parents make a request for an evaluation.
  • A school can evaluate a student concurrently with RtI.
  • Watch for signs that special education services may be necessary
    • Multiple retentions, or continuing difficulty meeting promotion criteria from year to year.
    • RtI for an extended period of time.
    • Tier III of RtI not enough to provide level of support the student needs (need for individually designed instruction).
    • Frequent absences, tardies, disciplinary referrals or suspensions.