What are some of the major differences between RTI in Reading and RTI in Math?
Response from Lynn Fuchs
The structure of RTI is the same in reading and in math, but there are at least two important differences between reading and math. In reading, first of all, there's a lot of available materials for screening, progress monitoring, and intervention. In math there's some materials but there's less to choose from. The second difference between reading and math is the nature of what's required in math keeps changing as a student progresses through the grades.
So in the early grades a child's curriculum will focus on early math concepts, number combinations, and progress to procedural calculations, and as they're getting up to second and third grade there's a heavy focus on word problems. Then around fourth grade things begin to change in that we move from a primary focus on addition and subtraction to multiplication and division and also moving from whole numbers to fractional quantities. Then we move on as the grades keep increasing and increasing to algebra and the demands for all of these different branches or components of the curriculum are very different and we don't really know what the precursors or good screening instruments are, for example, predicting who's going to have difficulty with algebra and it is possible for a child to move through the early curriculum in math nicely and then have much more difficulty with fractions or algebra or geometry and so forth.
That makes math different from reading, where in reading we've got the big five component areas which are all introduced within the primary grades and sometimes we'll see late emerging reading comprehension difficulty but pretty much when a child is solid in decoding, in word level skills, and understanding the text that they're reading we know they are off to a fine trajectory, that they will progress nicely as the grade levels keep increasing. That's less true in math.