An analysis of factors impacting response to intervention (RTI) tier assignments for Hispanic students

Hinojosa, Saul U.
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Implementing a Response to Intervention (RTI) system within a public school district includes several variables, one of which is identifying the contributing factors that are utilized to determine if a student may require more intense instructional interventions to achieve academic success. In districts with a majority Hispanic student population, RTI may take on an added dimension as it prompts educators to be culturally responsive in their determinations. Student performance is the treasure, which districts measure by way of state mandated assessments; in turn, assessing RTI's effectiveness. The purpose of this study was to identify the factors considered by educators within one school district in the referral and placement of Hispanic students into Tier II and Tier III of Response to Intervention (RTI), and the academic achievement of Hispanic students enrolled in Tier II and Tier III RTI in comparison to peers not enrolled in Tier II or Tier III RTI. This study utilized a concurrent mixed method research design, which involved a survey with both close- and open-ended items distributed to the district's 4th and 5th grade teachers; additionally, a comparative analysis was performed between student scores on two state mandated assessment editions for students enrolled in Tier II RTI compared to those in Tier I. Analysis of the data yielded three emergent themes: The need for ongoing Professional Development; Time; and, Duration of Interventions.