Undermining inclusion? A critical reading of response to intervention (RTI)

Pedagogical approaches

Beth A. Ferri, Department of Teaching and Leadership , Syracuse University , Syracuse , NY , USA
Journal: International Journal of Inclusive Education, 2011, pp. 1-18, iFirst Article

Summary: This paper presents a broad and critical examination of the discourse surrounding Response-to-Intervention (RTI) Model, a US-based education reform to deliver instructional intervention to students at risk. Arguing that RTI is not much a reform but a tactic, the author of the article illustrates how this model seems to aim at returning to the status quo of segregated special education, undermining in this way the inclusion of students with diverse learning needs in general education. Starting with a brief overview of RTI-Model, which was initially implemented as an alternative to the discrepancy model for identifying students with Learning Disabilities, the author’s critique mainly focuses on the fact that RTI appears to be a means for determining eligibility for special education. The author’s main disagreement in terms of implementing RTI-Model seems to lie in the fact that it clearly indicates that the general education classroom is a “disability-free” space, also assuming that only “responders” are able to “return” to it.
The risk of implementing instructional approaches, which take place outside the general education classroom, as well as the intensity of intervention, which is almost always connected to placement, are among the issues thoroughly discussed in the article.

The article can be found here.