Response to Intervention: Implementing Tiered Support for Equity and Access

Reading List: Disproportionality

**Hosp, J.L. Response to intervention and the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education. Available at


This article explores the complexity of disproportionality, and asserts that plans to address these issues must be developed and implemented at the systems level. The author contends that while there are currently few guides on how to address disproportionality with RTI, this model holds much promise for monitoring and addressing such issues because of its focus on outcomes, individuals, and data.


**Klingner, J.K., & Edwards, P.A. (2006). Cultural considerations with response to intervention models. Reading Research Quarterly, 41(1), 108-117. Available at


This article describes the potential of RTI models to improve educational opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse students and to reduce their disproportionate representation in special education. However, the authors warn that if the educational community does not engage in discussion regarding critical issues regarding the implementation of RTI—such as what is counted as empirical evidence or issues of fidelity and generalizability—then it will just become another deficit-based approach to sorting children.


**Brown, J.E., & Doolittle, J. (2008). A cultural, linguistic, and ecological framework for response to intervention with English language learners. US Department of Education. Available at


This practitioner brief describes the framework of RTI and how it is built on the foundation of Opportunity to Learn. It outlines in detail a three-tiered RTI model which considers students’ ecologies, cultural and linguistic needs, and the skills necessary for an educational team to focus on an ELL student.


García, S.B., & Ortiz, A.A. (2004). Preventing disproportionate representation: Culturally and linguistically responsive pre-referral interventions. Denver, CO: National Center for Culturally Responsive Education Systems. Available at


This practitioner brief highlights four key elements of culturally and linguistically-responsive pre-referral intervention for culturally and linguistically diverse students. These elements are 1) preventing school underachievement and failure, 2) early intervention for struggling learners, 3) diagnostic and prescriptive teaching, and 4) availability of general education problem-solving support systems.


Klingner, J.K., Artiles, A.J., Kozleski, E., Harry, B., Zion, S., Tate, W., Duran, G.Z., & Riley, D. (2005). Addressing the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education through culturally responsive educational systems. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 13(38). Available at


This article presents a conceptual framework for addressing the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education. The authors propose an approach based on the creation of evidence-based, culturally responsive educational systems which make strategic improvements in practice and policy to improve student achievement and reduce inappropriate referrals to and placement in special education.


**This document is considered a priority reading.