If we want different results, the system needs to change.

A New Paradigm: Shifting from RTI to MTSS

In Nebraska, stakeholders have made a distinction between a Multi-tiered System of Support (MTSS) and Response to Intervention (RTI). A deeply implemented MTSS must be in place prior to disability determination.

Making the Distinction:

  • MTSS: Service delivery system based on the concept that all students require early and powerful academic and behavioral core instruction with potential high-quality interventions of increasing intensity.
  • RTI: Practices used to determine eligibility for special education.

Getting on the Same Page

There are many different conceptualizations of RTI, both nationally and in Nebraska. While RTI is an integral part of MTSS, the terms should not be used interchangeably. There is sometimes confusion about RTI’s purpose and its connection to MTSS due to many contributing factors.

False Perception Factors:

  • RTI appeared in the Individuals with Learning Disabilities Act (IDEA 2004), leading some to believe it was exclusive to special education.
  • RTI is related to specific learning disabilities (SLD) verification, creating the perception that it is solely an academic, special education effort.
  • Later, RTI was seen as a tiered model for academics, creating the impression it was a general education model with special education positioned on top.
  • RTI underwent systems change to develop an integrated systems model of tiered supports for academics and behavior, making it a system for all students.

Lessons Learned: RtI Implementation

Many lessons have been learned overtime regarding effective RTI implementation in Nebraska. Below are some important considerations in moving forward with NeMTSS.

Important questions:

  • Are we using evidence-based practices?
  • Are we placing sufficient emphasis on strengthening the core?
  • Are we focusing too much on implementation?
  • What are the limitations of stopping at a 30-minute intervention block?
  • Are we intensifying intervention based on analysis?
  • Are we systematically evaluating and problem-solving?
  • Are we focusing on student data instead of instructional data and systems analysis?