Response to Intervention and Differentiated Instruction


What if there was an easy way for teachers to identify pupils with learning and developmental challenges early? For more than two decades now, there has been the development of an evidence-based response to intervention strategies that can revolutionize education. Bertrand Russell once said that ‘the whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts” (Quotation Celebration, 2017). I will use – the exercise: behavior management strategy and the flashcards with constant time delays (Intervention Central, 2017). The former is designed for pupils with shorter concentration, while the latter is fit for students prone to making errors. The records that I will take include the RTI and DI used, the assessment results, interventions, support, and outcome. Although there are many RTI strategies combining the physical activity model and flashcard in a three-tier structure has the best outcome for identification and support of children with developmental and learning challenges.

RTI Description and Definition

RTI is research-driven multi-tier framework used within learning institutions to identify students with behavioral and learning needs and make appropriate decision based on the timely information obtained from assessment. In the United States, RTI was accepted in 2000 as an emerging framework for learning disabilities (Björn et al., 2018). Specifically, it was one of the developments made during the enactment of the No Child Left Behind (Nilvius et al., 2021). The primary objective of the RTI is to identify special needs students early and allocate the resources necessary for their progress. Relatedly, DI is how the educator ensures that what a pupil learns, the methods used, and the demonstration of understanding matches their readiness, preferred mode of learning, and interest (Alstete et al., 2021). The RTI and DI are closely related in that they are both student-centered. Both methods acknowledge the differences that learners possess and try to customize the teaching experience based on the needs of each pupil for optimal performance. Thus, the models are multidimensional, with an umbrella structure through which educators apply evidence-based strategies.

Literature Review

Numerous studies have been done to find out the effectiveness of RTI and make comparisons between states, countries, or models. One study investigated the relationship between the differentiated teaching and personal influences of educators in overcoming learning difficulties compared to traditional forms of teaching (Morina, 2019). The findings indicated improvement in learning and teaching experience while using DI. Relatedly, a systematic review of the RTI model’s use for pupils’ word coding showed that students with reading difficulties improved after the integration of tier 2 intervention (Nilvius et al., 2021). Similarly, a different study found that when DI is applied in management education has several benefits, including enrichment of learners’ experience, autonomy in course creation and delivery, as well as retention of students (Alstete et al., 2021). A comparison of the RTI model of the United States and that of Finland reveal that the former has complex frameworks which need to be streamlined while the latter has no policy backup (Björn et al., 2018). Overall, the literature shows the benefits of RTI, and more studies are needed to provide simplified evidence-based frameworks

The implementation of the RTI follows a three-tier approach in which the educator and other relevant professionals support the child. In the first tier, educators use a teaching method that is supported by research on the entire class (Matson, 2018). The focus is to ensure that the strategy fits the skills and study level of the kids while using formative assessment to track progress. Students whose performance in tier one is poor progress to tier two, which comprises a smaller group. The students continue with the normal lessons while getting special lessons (Matson, 2018). Depending on their progress, they may return to tier one, stay in tier two, or transfer to three. The third tier is for intense interventions offered in smaller groups or individual learners. The students may spend most of their lessons in the resource room, but they still get to go for some classes with the whole class.

The RTI and DI models vary significantly from state to state, given that there are many models and the stream of new evidence from research makes schools constantly review their framework. In Miami Dade County, all districts are expected to implement RTI regarding the Disability Education Improvement Act and No Child Left Behind. Schools in the Andover district are urged to embrace the multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) guide. Educators receive ongoing training to track individual students through records of evidence-based instructions, progress monitoring, and evaluation. The ultimate goal of RTI/MTSS in this district is to enhance students’ success in positive behavior and academic success as early as possible. Although schools are allowed the freedom of selecting the RTI model that they find fit for their environment, there are specific features that they must meet. Parental involvement and constant communication on the RTI/MTSS process are mandatory. In addition, leadership is considered necessary for successfully implementing the models. Moreover, the schools are expected to benchmark with others to ensure continuous development.

Case Study

In my classroom of grade 1 students, it is possible that some of the learners need more assistance than what I give in the mainstream class. I will use the RTI to establish if there is a need for special education. First, I will use the syllabus to teach the entire class while assessing their progress through homework and tests. After three weeks, if I notice a trend of some students consistently failing, I will move into one or two small groups: tier two. The students will remain for an extra lesson in the afternoon. I will use the flash card RTI method when asking them questions and the exercise model to observe their behavior. I will also invite the special needs teacher to carry the learners through some lessons.

After two weeks, the students who have progressed will return to tier one. Those still struggling will remain in tier two, while those with severe challenges go to tier three. The third tier will only have fewer learners who need extra resources to improve their learning. At this point, I will seek the skills of the special needs teacher and educational child psychologist to assess the children and give a report on the disability. I will then tailor the lesson to suit their needs. For example, if a student has difficulty hearing, I will ask the parents to seek a hearing aid. Each learner will still go for some classes with tiers one and two, but they may spend more lessons getting special education.

The first records to take are the number and names of students in each intervention set. Next, there will be a record of the specific pupils identified to have attention deficit so that they are targeted with the antecedent exercise model. The flashcards will be given to all members of the experimental group, and the information on the number of times they fail to give correct answers will be noted. There will also be a record of the teacher’s assessment and comments for each student. Furthermore, the teacher will include records from the parents in the reporting document and the homework. The expected results are that during the experiment, the implementation of the RTI will help identify students with learning disabilities.


In summary, combining the physical activity model and flashcard in a three-tier structure has the best outcome for identifying and supporting children with developmental and learning challenges. My thoughts on the three-tier flashcard and exercise models are that they are effective in building self-esteem and help in identifying cognitive developmental delays and learning disabilities. In the current case, the three-tier begins with the whole class, then a smaller group for students with relatively poor performance, and the third for those with special needs. I will work with the educational child psychologists and special needs teachers for students in tiers two and three. Formative assessment will be done through the three stages while keeping the necessary records. Thus, I believe that the RTI will ensure inclusivity of all learners, yet it may also take a toll on me as the educator because of the extra time of attending to individual learners.


Alstete, J. W., Meyer, J. P., & Beutell, N. J. (2021). Enriching management learning with differentiated instruction. The International Journal of Educational Management, 35(3), 640-654. Web.

Björn, P. M., Aro, M., Koponen, T., Fuchs, L. S., & Fuchs, D. (2018). Response-to-Intervention in Finland and the United States: Mathematics learning support as an example. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(8), 1-9. Web.

Intervention Central. (2017). Response to intervention. Web.

Matson, J. L. (2018). Handbook of childhood psychopathology and developmental disabilities assessment. Springer.

Morina, S. (2019). Differentiated teaching strategies with children with learning difficulties. Prizren Social Science Journal, 3(3), 32-40. Web.

Nilvius, C., Carlsson, R., Fälth, L., & Nordström, T. (2021). Tier 2 interventions within the RtI-model for developing students’ word decoding – a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cogent Education, 8(1), 1-20. Web.

Quotation Celebration. (2017). Thoughts that show us the way. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. "Response to Intervention and Differentiated Instruction." September 30, 2023.