Response to intervention (RTI) is a multistep approach to providing services and interventions to struggling learners at increasing levels of intensity.  RTI allows for early intervention by providing academic and behavioral supports when students first show signs of difficulty, rather than waiting for the child to fail in order to receive help.

Simply, RTI refers to a process that emphasizes how well students respond to changes in instruction. The essential elements of an RTI approach are the provision of scientific, research-based instruction and interventions in general education; monitoring and measurement of student progress in response to instruction and interventions; and the use of these measures of student progress to shape instruction and make educational decisions.

Many schools use a three-tiered instructional model, beginning with universal screening (Tier 1) for all students, moving to targeted interventions for those who are falling behind (Tier 2), and then to intensive individual interventions and possibly special education referral for those who do not respond to the less intensive strategies (Tier 3).