This study has been completed.
March 2008 – March 2016
Instructional Research Group
Survey Research Management
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) is the most recent authorization of a law passed in 1975 to promote a free appropriate public education for children with disabilities. Funded at $12.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2015, IDEA supports early intervention services for infants and toddlers, special education services for children ages 3 through 21, and early intervening services for students not in special education but in need of academic or behavioral support.
Response to Intervention (RtI) is a multi-step approach to providing early and more intensive intervention and monitoring within the general education setting. In principle, RtI begins with research-based instruction and behavioral support provided to students in the general education classroom, followed by screening of all students to identify those who may need systematic progress monitoring, intervention, or support. Students who are not responding to the general education curriculum and instruction are provided with increasingly intense interventions through a "tiered" system, and they are frequently monitored to assess their progress and inform the choice of future interventions, including possibly special education for students determined to have a disability. The 2004 authorization of IDEA permits some Part B special education funds to be used for "early intervening services" such as RtI, and also permit districts to use RtI to inform decisions regarding a child's eligibility for special education. The purpose of this study—conducted as part of the National Assessment of IDEA under Section 664 of IDEA 2004 to assess the implementation and effectiveness of key programs and services supported under the law—was to provide information on the implementation and impacts of RtI practices.
The evaluation relied on a combination of descriptive data collection from school staff and regression discontinuity methods to address the research questions, and focused on practices in place during the 2011–12 school year in a sample of 146 elementary schools from 13 states.
A report, titled Evaluation of Response to Intervention Practices for Elementary School Reading, was released in November 2015.