An Assessment of the Levels of Implementation of Four Response to Intervention Components and Impact on Special Education Referrals in 35 Elementary Schools in the Southeastern Portion of Virginia

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the levels of implementation of four Response to Intervention (RTI) components on the overall special education referral rates of elementary school students at 35 schools. The four RTI components are (a) using intervention teams to problem-solve for struggling students, (b) selecting the appropriate intervention, (c) monitoring student progress, and (d) graphing data for visual analysis. The four levels of implementation are (a) lacks skills or basic knowledge of this component, (b) beginning to learn this component (beginning level), (c) developing skill with this component (intermediate level), and (d) fully competent in this component (advanced level).

Data were analyzed on 483 responders from 35 elementary schools. The quantitative research designs were the descriptive-survey and causal comparative designs. Findings for research question one showed the highest percentages of responders from the schools perceived the four components were at the advanced level or intermediate level of implementation. Results for research question two showed the male subgroup had the highest mean referral rate, while the African American subgroup had the second highest mean referral rate.

For research question three, findings showed there was a significant difference in the referral rate for special education services based on the implementation levels of RTI (F(2, 32) = 7.25, p = 0.003. Results for research question four showed the level of implementation had an impact on the rate of referral for special education services based on demographic factors of gender and ethnicity.



Response to Intervention, Elementary School, At-Risk Learners, Special Education