InterventionsGroup of elementary students working in classroom.

Interventions are specific instructional practices used for the purpose of improving student performance. Within Response to Intervention practices, interventions allow teachers to help students be successful in school, both academically and behaviorly.

RTI includes three tiers – or stages – of support for students. Tier 1 includes the general education curriculum that is provided for all students in each grade. Typically 80 percent of students will be successful with tier 1 alone, meaning about 20 percent of students will need additional assistance through tiers 2 or 3. 

When a student needs help, a tier 2 intervention is tried first. Tier 2 interventions are always provided in addition to tier 1 core instruction. Tier 2 interventions are usually provided three to five days per week for about 30 minutes each. Most of the time, intervention groups include three to five students, and intervention sessions include teacher-directed instruction in the key skills that students need. In order to know if a tier 2 intervention is working for a specific student, progress monitoring needs to be conducted monthly. About 15 percent of students who participate in tier 2 instruction will gain the skills necessary to meet learning goals and will not need additional help.

Only about 5 percent of students in any given school will need tier 3 intervention. Tier 3 interventions include intensive instruction, usually in a one-to-one student-teacher format. Such instruction usually happens every school day for 45 to 60 minutes per day. Like tier 2, tier 3 intervention must occur in addition to tier 1 instruction. Sometimes it may also be needed in addition to tier 2 intervention. Student progress at tier 3 should be monitored at least weekly.


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