The Multi-level Prevention System in RIM

The RTI framework is a preventive approach that aims at assuring the learning success of school children by identifying learning difficulties at an early stadium with the help of well-established measures in the field of pedagogical diagnostics. Based on this concept, the Rügen Inclusion Model also provides a gradual supporting system, in which a variety of learning measures are realized on different levels of prevention. Correspondingly, students receive additional support on the next level if they don’t respond to the interventions on the current one.

Following the arrangement of Caplan and Gordon, RIM consists of three interconnected prevention levels. Depending on the degree of the students’ learning and development problems, the educational work on each level differs in a) the intensity and specificity of the interventions, b) the individual realization of the interventions and c) the diagnostic methods.

With the help of a multi-level system top-performing students as well as wunderachieving ones get a gradual support at the first signs of exceptional abilities but also in cases of development or learning disabilities. Therefore, it is not an early segregation that occurs as usual, but instead the concept focuses on a gradual optimization of the learning support at regular schools.

Furthermore, it is important to mention that every elementary teacher, special education teacher as well as every other pedagogical co-worker has his or her own clearly defined responsibility area on each level.

Primary Level

Every child is taught on the first level of prevention. Lessons follow the regular curriculum for elementary schools. On this level, lessons show a high-quality standard with differentiated contents and methods suitable for top-performing students as well as weaker ones. You can find a characterization of high-quality lessons defined by our scientific team →here.

The teaching methods as well as lesson materials that are used are evidence-based, which means that academic research proved them to be suitable for every school child in a class.

Each student finishes a screening test at the beginning and in the middle of the school year so that any need for additional support can be directly detected. Furthermore, curriculum-based measurements (CBM) are conducted on a monthly basis to ensure a continuous assessment of the learning progress.

The elementary teacher is the responsible authority for planning and holding the lessons. The special education teacher counsels him or her regarding specific measures such as supporting interventions that serve the children’s speech or behaviour development.

Secondary Level

On the second level of prevention students who show learning difficulties by their substandard achievements at school receive additional help. We expect that this concerns about 20% of the school children in each grade based on research and experiences made with the RTI concept in the USA. These children don’t respond to the supporting interventions that are already integrated in the regular lessons on the first level. As a consequence, additional support needs to be provided for them. Therefore, each child gets an individual education plan. Here again the elementary teacher is responsible for the learning support. The children concerned are taught for ten weeks in additional lessons in groups of four to six students. The small group size allows the teacher to give intensive instructions that will gradually close current learning deficits. In general, the children work on materials and exercises that they already know from their regular lessons.

Remedial Lessons on the Secondary Level in RIM

  Weekly Remedial Lessons in German Weekly Remedial Lessons in Mathematics
Grade 1 3h 2h
Grade 2 2h 1h
Grade 3 1h 1h
Grade 4 1h 1h

Tertiary Level

If a child doesn’t respond adequately to the interventions on the second level and is therefore not able to follow up with fellow students, additional support needs to be provided on a third level. We assume that approximately five per cent of the children in each grade are in demand of such intensive interventions. The additional support is provided successively in two phases:


Phase 1

Children reach the third prevention level if a) previous additional interventions on the first and second level were not successful or b) if a clearly severe need for special education exists. For this reason, special education teachers tutor these children for at least ten weeks in one-on-one sessions or in small groups of three students maximum. This makes an intensive, optimized and individualized support possible for each child. Four additional lessons per week in each class are made available for special education teachers to assist children beyond the first two levels. At the same time, they are responsible for counselling elementary teachers regarding necessary differentiation measures and supporting interventions on the primary and secondary level. Every measure is continuously evaluated and documented.

If a student responses positively to the applied interventions on the third level in phase 1, improves in his or her performance and closes current learning gaps, there is no need for additional support on the tertiary level. This student will be taught only in regular lessons on the first and additionally in small groups on the second level of prevention. If the learning progress doesn’t increase adequately, the additional support is extended for ten further weeks and supporting methods are modified.


Phase 2

If the student’s achievements don’t increase regardless the intensive, reoccurring and modified supporting interventions, a cooperative case advice has to be initiated. A prevention report summarizes the data basis, the analysis results and decisions based on them as well as any other results from further investigations about the educational background of the child in question. On the basis of this report a comprehensive and intensive support is granted for at least ten weeks on the third level in phase 2. Every educational action is continuously documented and evaluated to see whether the realization of a new education plan is successful or not. If a child responses positively to the applied interventions, improves in its performances and closes current learning gaps, there is no need for additional support on the third level. If such an improvement is not visible, there will be a new cooperative case advice in which further (special) educational measures for level one, two and three are agreed on. Such measures may include an extended timeframe of support, modified learning contents and methods or even the repetition of the school year.

Experience has shown that a few students, approximately two per cent of them, will not achieve the same learning progress as their fellow students, regardless of any additional support and high-intensive measures. For these children an individual learning and development progress and respectively their need for special education will be diagnosed so that they can be taught specifically differentiated by the elementary teacher on the first and second prevention level as well as individually by the special education teacher on the third level. In such cases, suitable individual objectives are defined that are still in line with the curriculum of regular special education schools. In this way, a child is able to learn in his or her class together with the other ones and doesn’t need to change to a special education class even though it receives long-term support in additional small groups or single sessions. Academic research proves that further schooling in mainstream schools is reasonable because children, who don’t achieve their objectives at the end of elementary school - even though they get more support and time for education - generally still learn more successfully there than at segregated schools.


Bless, G. & Mohr, K. (2007). Die Effekte von Sonderschulunterricht und gemeinsamem Unterricht auf die Entwicklung von Kindern mit Lernbehinderungen. In: J. Walter & F.B. Wember (Eds.), Sonderpädagogik des Lernens (375-382). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Caplan, G. (1964). Principles of preventive psychiatry. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Gordon, R. (1983). An operational classification of disease prevention. Public Health Reports, 98, 107-109.

Schnell, I., Sander, A. & Federolf, C. (2011). Zur Effizienz von Schulen für Lernbehinderte. Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt.