Teacher Perceptions of Response to Intervention and its Core Components, and its Implementation in Reading in the Primary Grades

Date of Award





Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


Since the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), Response to Intervention (RTI) had been implemented in varied degrees due to lack of a national definition and framework. RTI was a general education initiative, however few studies focused on general education teachers and their perceptions of RTI. This was a qualitative descriptive study that utilized individual interviews and a focus group. First, individual interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview protocol. Interview data was coded for prominent themes using NVivo. The individual interview data was then used to write a semi-structured interview protocol for a focus group. After the focus group was conducted, data was coded again using NVivo. The researcher then completed data analysis.

Five core components have been identified as key to the implementation of RTI: 1) quality core instruction; 2) universal screening; 3) progress monitoring; 4) tiered levels of research-based interventions; and 5) support teams (Al Otaiba, Wagner, & Miller, 2014); these core components will be used in the study as the basis for measuring teachers’ perceptions on RTI.

Research question 1: What are primary school general education teachers’ perceptions about RTI and its core components in reading?

Research question 2: Is there a significant difference between best practices suggested in the RTI literature and actual practices used in the district?

Research question 2a: Is the difference based on knowledge of the five core components where RTI is implemented?

Twelve themes were found during data analysis: teacher training in RTI, data, EIP teachers, individualized instruction, research-based interventions, time, falling through the cracks, support teams, home life, consistency, RTI is a long process, and special education. Teachers spoke positively about RTI in most areas, but had concerns in the areas of teacher training and research-based interventions. Participants noted they had rare, brief meetings to explain what RTI was and its components. They had no trainings on strategies for implementation of RTI. Participants also discussed lack of research-based interventions and how to determine whether or not an intervention is research-based. Overall, participants had knowledge of RTI and its core components; they expressed a need for knowledge of RTI implementation.

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