Skip to main content

Reading List: RTI Issues and Research

**Fuchs, D., & Deshler, D.D. (2007). What we need to know about responsiveness to intervention (and shouldn’t be afraid to ask). Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 22(2), 129-136. Available at


This article focuses on what is known and what is unknown about RTI. The authors argue that although a good deal is known about aspects of RTI, there is still an insufficient knowledge base to guide the implementation of RTI as a process of early intervention and disability identification across all grades, all academic skills, and all content areas. The authors posit that the highest priority knowledge needed is: 1) scientifically-validated instructional protocols to accelerate student progress in skills and content areas other than early reading, and 2) a validated means of determining “responsiveness” and “non-responsiveness”. The authors state that there is currently a de facto deregulated RTI environment which is leading to confusion and uncertainty, but that practitioners should seize this as an opportunity for greater flexibility and innovation.


Gersten, R., & Dimino, J.A. (2006). RTI (Response to Intervention): Rethinking special education for students with reading difficulties (yet again). Reading Research Quarterly, 41(1), 99-108. Available at


This article describes the background behind RTI, explaining why early reading interventions did not always seem optimal. It discusses the major failures of pre-referral interventions which were popular in the late 1980’s, and the promise RTI holds. This article also addresses lingering concerns regarding RTI, and concerns regarding the validity of early screening. The authors discuss other promising screening techniques, possible next steps for RTI research, and the potential utility of the regression-discontinuity design for assessing the effectiveness of interventions.


Marston, D. (2005). Tiers of intervention in responsiveness to intervention: Prevention outcomes and learning disabilities identification patterns. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38(6), 539-544. Available at


This article summarizes the results of three studies that investigated the number of stages or tiers of intervention necessary for the RTI model. The author looked at how many tiers are needed within RTI to achieve acceptable prevention outcomes, and patterns of LD identification. The aggregated results across the three studies show that the three-tier RTI approach has positive outcomes and that RTI has considerable impact on elementary reading achievement.


Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L.S. (2006). Introduction to response to intervention: What, why, and how valid is it? eading Research Quarterly, 41R(1), 93-99. Available at


This article breaks down the RTI model into what it is, why it should be used, and how valid it is. The first section details the different steps and aspects of the RTI model, from selecting at-risk students to demonstrating the validity of intervention-as-test. The second section sets up why RTI may be necessary, by exploring problems related to the IQ-achievement discrepancy. The third section delves into unanswered questions and unresolved issues in regards to the conceptual issues associated with non-responsiveness, and in regards to measuring and defining non-responsiveness.


**This document is considered a priority reading.