Extending Responsiveness to Intervention to Mathematics at First and Third Grades

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Responsiveness to intervention (RTI) is an innovative approach to the identification of learning disabilities (LD). The central assumption is that RTI can differentiate between two explanations for low achievement: poor instruction versus disability. If the child responds poorly to validated instruction, then the assessment eliminates instructional quality as a viable explanation for poor academic growth and instead provides evidence of a disability. For children who do respond nicely, RTI serves a critical prevention function. Most of RTI research has been focused on early reading. In this article, we describe two ongoing programs of research on RTI in the area of mathematics: one on a comprehensive mathematics curriculum at first grade and the other focused on word problems at third grade. For each research program, we describe the sample, explain how students are identified as at risk for mathematics disability, provide an overview of the interventions to which responsiveness is gauged, and describe some results to date.

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