Does RTI have the potential to reduce disproportionality in Special Education?


Does RTI have the potential to reduce disproportionality in Special Education?


Response from John Hosp

I think RTI has a great potential to reduce disproportionality. Traditionally the focus in disproportionality has been looking at counting the numbers of students within various subgroups, in different categories or placements, in order to identify disproportionality. However, within RTI the focus on improving student outcomes really provides an opportunity to change how we think about disproportionality.

Through the high-quality instruction that is culturally and linguistically responsive we have the opportunity to ensure that we are focusing on the needs of all different groups of students and all students individually. One of the ways to make sure we align this is through assessment, another key component to RTI, and looking at the assessment used through RTI of screening and progress decisions that we need to make and the assessments that go with them — it really gives us the opportunity to focus on the improved outcomes for individual students as well as various subgroups of students to make determinations of how they are performing. One of the considerations for me is to look at the evidence-based interventions, and not just the general quality — the general efficacy — of the interventions, but also how different individuals or different subgroups of students may respond differentially so that when we are judging an evidence-base we are considering the different groups and how they may respond rather that just considering the general efficacy of an intervention.

So these characteristics are not necessarily specific to RTI, the high quality instruction, use of assessment, date-based decision making, but as core characteristics of RTI they are some of the vehicles we can use to address disproportionality.


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