The Response-to-Intervention Approach

The term RTI describes an educational approach which aims at preventing and, if needed, integrating learning and behaviour disabilities and illustrates an alternative way of identifying learning and development problems. Consequently, it is of utmost importance to design and structure school lessons in such ways that it serves and supports every child in its development. If the student responses positively to the interventions, they can be seen as successful for its individual learning progress.

A multi-level prevention system, the adaptation of evidence-based interventions as well as a data-based practice for evaluating each learning progress build the essential components of the RTI approach. As a result, each intervention allows the teacher to recognize learning and development problems on an early stage and to react adequately within a short time.

The RTI approach is therefore an appropriate framework that is applicable at inclusive schools which are required lawfully by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This specific concept can be traced back to the 1960’s US-America. Since 2004, it has been accepted as a legal alternative to identify learning disabilities by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. In 2009, the RTI approach was already adopted in more than 50% of the American states as a preventive and integrative educational concept.

You can find out more about the most essential components of the RTI approach under these links:

Multi-level prevention system

Relevance of pedagogical diagnostics

Curriculum-based measurements

Evidence-based practice

A short movie from the Atlas Initiative for Public Education (→ summarizes fundamental aspects of the RTI approach (in English). You can find the clip →here as well.

Please note: Once you watch the video, data will be transmitted to Youtube/Google. For more information, see Google Privacy.


Berkeley, S., Bender, W.N., Peaster, L.G. & Saunders, L. (2009). Implementation of response to intervention: A snapshot of progress. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42 (1), 85-95.

Gresham, F.M., VanDerHeyden, A. & Witt, J.C. (2005). Response to Intervention in the Identification of Learning Disabilities: Empirical Support and Future Challenges. Available online at <>. 13 March 2014.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. (2004). U.S. Department of Education. Available online at<,root,statute,I,B,614,d,5,B,.html>. 12 November 2014.