| RTI Practices |
Although RTI addresses some significant shortcomings in current approaches to SLD identification and other concerns about early identification of students at risk for reading problems, RTI should be considered to be only one important element within the larger context of the SLD determination process. RTI as one component of SLD determination is insufficient as a sole criterion for accurately determining SLD. RTI provides the following information about a student:
1. Indication of the student's skill level relative to peers or a criterion benchmark
2. Success or lack of success of particular interventions
3. Sense of the intensity of instructional supports that will be necessary for the student to achieve
Incorporating this information into SLD determination procedures has the potential to make important contributions to identifying students with SLD in schools. In addition to an RTI process that helps ensure appropriate learning experiences and early intervention, identification of SLD should include a student-centered, comprehensive evaluation that ensures students who have a learning disability are accurately identified.
Although IDEA 2004 provides flexibility to local education agencies in determining SLD identification procedures, the following recommendations by the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) should help guide the development of these procedures (NJCLD, 2005):
Processes for SLD identification have changed and will continue to do so. Within that context, remembering that RTI is but one resource for use in the SLD determination process is important. More broadly speaking, RTI procedures have the distinction that when implemented with fidelity, they can identify and intervene for students early in the educational process, thereby reducing academic failure among students.
National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (2005). Responsiveness to intervention and learning disabilities: Concepts, benefits and questions. [Report] Alexandria, VA: Author.