Monday, October 24, 2011

RTI, PST, 4R: What Does It All Mean?

Many of you may have heard teachers or students talk about 4R, PST, Tier III, or RTI and may wonder what all of this is about. They are all connected and I will try to explain each term. First of all, RTI stands for Response to Instruction which is Alabama’s version of the nationwide Response to Intervention. RTI initially began as a method to identify students that might need to be evaluated to receive special education services. The concept is every student receives initial instruction called Tier I which takes place in the regular classroom. According to the data, some students need some additional help in the classroom and receive what is called Tier II intervention. This instruction is provided by the classroom teacher and documented so we can track what is done for theses students. This instruction could be in the form of small group instruction, peer tutoring, or computer based remediation just to name a few.

Students that don’t respond to Tier I, and Tier II instruction are referred to the Problem Solving Team (PST). The PST determines, by looking at data, whether or not a Tier III placement is warranted. The PST analyzes at least three sources of data and tries to make the appropriate placement. Tier III intervention takes place outside of the regular classroom using a research based instructional tool that helps place each student at the appropriate level for remediation. In Limestone County we use an instructional software called “Classworks” to provide this instruction.

Because we don’t want students to miss instructional time we provide a 30 minute time during the day which we call 4R. A small number of students actually receive Tier III interventions, but we know that all students could benefit from special remediation or enrichment. During the 4R period each student is assigned a class based upon careful analysis of the data. Some students do not meet the criteria for Tier III but need help with reading or math. Some students need help with the graduation exam. Other students may benefit from a class designed to enrich their knowledge of a particular subject beyond what they receive in their daily classrooms.

This additional time has turned out great for our seniors needing help with the graduation exam and we hope the spring grad exam will have similar results. In addition to helping students needing remediation we are constantly looking for classes geared toward our advance students. It is our hope that by fully implementing RTI all of our students will better get their needs met.

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