Learn to Implement Effective RTI for Mathematics!

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by the IRIS CenterIRIS Center log

The IRIS Center is a national center that provides high-quality resources about students with disabilities for college and university faculty and professional development trainers. Visit IRIS’ website to find free, online, interactive training enhancements that translate research about the education of students with disabilities into practice.


Did you know that, in a typical classroom, approximately 25% of all students will struggle with mathematics, and 5-10% will require intense, individualized mathematics instruction? Teachers face this challenge every day as they work to improve mathematics outcomes for all students.

Implementation of the response to intervention (RTI) approach can provide students with extra help as soon as they start to struggle academically through what is sometimes referred to as “early intervening services.” The RTI approach can also be used to help identify students with learning disabilities. To this end, the IRIS Center for Training Enhancements has created a wide variety of materials and resources related to RTI. One of these is our recently posted STAR Legacy Module, RTI: Mathematics. You can view the module by visiting:

Starting with the “Challenge”
All IRIS STAR Legacy Modules are challenge-based. They open with a video depiction of a challenge, problem, or scenario that will be immediately familiar to teachers and school leaders. The information presented in the module—text, interactive activities, expert interviews, and graphics—is designed to address this Challenge and lead module users to a fuller understanding of larger topic under consideration.

What’s the Challenge in This Module?
In RTI: Mathematics, the Challenge details the efforts of the staff of fictional Lyle Elementary School. Here’s their story:

Two years ago, the staff of Lyle Elementary began to improve their high-quality mathematics instruction, making sure to implement standards-based curricula and evidence-based strategies at each grade level. They were excited to see greater understanding of mathematics concepts and increased student interest and motivation, which resulted in improved student performance on the year’s standardized tests. Even so, a relatively large number of students continued to struggle, and the school again did not achieve adequate yearly progress (AYP). The staff wondered whether response to intervention, the approach they had implemented in reading, could also be successfully applied to mathematics.

What You’ll Find in the Module
From this jumping-off point, RTI: Mathematics covers an array of topics, including:

  • Universal screening
  • High-quality instruction
  • Increasingly intense levels of instructional intervention
  • Frequent progress monitoring
  • Data-based decision making
  • Fidelity measures

The module features interactive activities that offer opportunities to practice scoring and graphing progress monitoring probes, calculating a student’s performance level and rate of growth, and making data-based decisions. It includes interactive tools both for teachers (e.g., slope calculator, short-term goal calculator) and for students (e.g., tool to create a personalized progress monitoring graph), and details the experiences of three schools that have implemented RTI for mathematics. The module also features the voices of experts such as Lynn Fuchs, Diane Bryant, David Chard, and Tessie Rose Bailey. With them and the other resources in the module, the Center hopes to piece together a picture of what effective RTI implementation in mathematics might look like in one typical school.

It’s All Waiting for You
Again, we invite you to use the module on RTI to help your students struggling with mathematics. The full module is available at:

And remember:: There are many more resources on a great number of topics also available through the IRIS Center’s Web site. Come visit (and bookmark):

About the IRIS Center
The IRIS Center for Training Enhancements is a national center based at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and Claremont Graduate University. IRIS, which is supported through a federal grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), creates free and freely accessible enhancement materials and resources for college faculty preparing future education professionals and for professional development providers who conduct inservice trainings for current school personnel. These resources are available through the Center’s Web site,  http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/index.html



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