Response to Intervention

Response to Intervention (RtI) is an approach that schools use to help all students, including struggling learners. The RtI approach gives Texas students opportunities to learn and work at their grade level. The idea is to help all students be successful.

Students who may have a disability should be referred for a full and individual evaluation for special education services. States and LEAs have an obligation and requirement under federal law (34 CFR § 300.111 Child Find) to see that evaluations of children suspected of having a disability are not delayed or denied because of schools using an RtI strategy. The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) clarified this issue.

The following sections provide more information:

Headstart and RtI

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not require or encourage a school to use an RtI approach before a referral for evaluation. A Head Start program may refer a student for evaluation to determine if the student is eligible for special education and related services. When a school receives a referral from a Head Start program, the school must begin the evaluation process to determine if the child has a disability. The IDEA and its regulations at 34 CFR §§300.301-300.311 specify the requirements that public schools (not non-LEAs such as other community-based early childhood programs) must use to conduct an initial evaluation to determine if a child has a disability under Part B. For additional information, see Head Start letter.

Behavior and RtI

RtI is also a way to address behavioral concerns. The Texas Behavior Support Initiative is a resource designed to build capacity in Texas schools for them to provide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) to all students. PBIS uses a range of school-wide and individualized strategies to achieve social and learning results. Problem behaviors are reduced and students learn. For more information, see Positive Behavior Support.

Coordinated Early Intervening Services

A school may choose to fund a campus RtI program using Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) funds. CEIS funds may be used to provide services to students who are not currently identified as needing special education or related services. These students need additional academic or behavior support to succeed in general education program in kindergarten through grade 12 (with emphasis on student in kindergarten through grade 3). See Coordinated ;Early Intervening Services (EIS) Guidance for CEIS funding information.

Learning Disability Eligibility

Schools may choose to use an RtI process as one of a variety of measures for evaluating students for learning disability (LD) eligibility. The use of RtI in determining LD eligibility was included in the reauthorization of the IDEA of 2004 due to concerns with models of LD identification that use IQ tests. Additional information regarding the use of RtI in determining LD eligibility is available in a question and answer format from OSEP. In addition, guidance regarding evaluation of LD may be found at Response to Intervention (RtI) and Learning Disability (LD) Eligibility.

Notice and Frequently Asked Questions Relating to Response to Interventions for Children Not Eligible for Special Education

Senate Bill (SB) 1153, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, changed Texas Education Code (TEC), Section 26.0081. The changes require the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to update the Student Handbook Statement, which is found here in English and in Spanish.

The changes also require local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide parents with notice whenever their child begins to receive intervention strategies. The notice must contain specific requirements. TEA has created a template that LEAs can use that meets the statutory requirements. The notice is available here in English and here in Spanish.

 Finally, TEA has developed a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document to assist LEAs and parents in understanding the requirements of SB 1153. That FAQ can be found here in English and here in Spanish.

 If you have additional related questions, please contact the Division of Special Education at 512-463-9414.

State Resources

Below are links to state resources:

Statewide Leadership Functions and Projects

Below are links to statewide leadership functions and projects which have information about RtI:

Institutes of Higher Education

The University of Texas in Austin and the University of Houston have information about RtI:

National Resources

These are national resources regarding RtI: