Advantages Of RTI (page 2)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Jan 1, 2011

Why a Psychological Evaluation is Still Helpful

Parents have the right to request a psychological evaluation for their child at any time during the RTI process. According to some state special education regulations, however, the entire RTI process must be completed before a determination can be made about whether a child is eligible for special education services. As school psychologists, we recognize the importance of evaluation test results and how they can be used to better understand a student's needs.

An evaluation may uncover processing weaknesses that could be having an impact on a student's academic progress. These weaknesses may occur in areas such as working memory, short-term memory, long-term retrieval, auditory processing, attention, language, executive functioning, or visual-motor integration, to name a few. Without this information, educators may implement interventions blindly, without regard for how a student processes information. For example, a particular intervention may rely heavily on a student's memory; if memory is her weak area, that intervention is not likely to have a positive impact.

Consequently, we are in favor of including a psychological assessment as part of the RTI process. The evaluation does not have to be comprehensive at this stage; it can focus solely on how a student processes information. With this information in hand, a teacher can choose interventions that are most likely to be helpful, given a student's processing and academic weaknesses.

We'll discuss psychological assessments in more detail in Part Two of this book.

RTI Resources

Many RTI resources are available to parents and teachers. Following is a list of some of our favorite online resources:

Intervention Central

This site was created by Jim Wright, who has experience as a school psychologist, school administrator, and RTI consultant. Just about everything you might want to know about interventions to help students with academic or behavior problems can be found here The site is very comprehensive, and it lists research-based interventions that have demonstrated their effectiveness in improving students' academic progress. Excellent manuals and forms are included. We have also found Jim Wright's book, RTI Toolkit: A Practical Guide for Schools, to be very helpful.

National Association of School Psychologists

This national association offers more than thirty documents that address all aspects of the RTI process. Information for both parents and teachers is available

National Center on Response to Intervention

What we find most helpful on this site is a chart that is designed to help schools select the best screening tools. For each tool, the chart discusses characteristics such as classification accuracy (how accurately the tool can classify students as either "at risk for reading disability" or "not at risk for reading disability"), generalizability (whether results from one population can be generalized to another population), reliability (how consistently a tool classifies students from one administration to the next), and validity (whether a tool measures what it is intended to measure). The site was created by the American Institutes for Research.

New Roles in Response to Intervention: Creating Success for Schools and Children

This fifty-five-page document was a collaborative project of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Council of Administrators of Special Education, Council for Exceptional Children, Council for Learning Disabilities, Division for Learning Disabilities, International Dyslexia Association, International Reading Association, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, National Association of School Psychologists, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Education Association, and School Social Work Association of America. This document includes different viewpoints on RTI from these organizations and offers parents and teachers a wealth of information about RTI and the RTI process.

RTI Action Network

This site was created by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. While it does not include a comprehensive list of interventions such as the one found on the Intervention Central site, it does provide a general framework for understanding RTI. What is unique about the site is that it includes discussion boards and a blog on RTI issues, and gives you an opportunity to submit a question on an RTI-related topic or find answers to questions submitted by others.

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