Student Intervention

The student intervention process comes down to achieving two goals.

  1. Identifying issues as early as possible
  2. Emphasizing remediation

It seems simple. It’s not.

Evolution of Student Intervention

Prior to the 2004 amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), learning disabilities were diagnosed by looking at discrepancy between a student’s academic achievement and their IQ. The discrepancy method led to many misdiagnosed learning disabilities and remediation. In the 2004 amendments IDEA stated that districts “may use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention” as a way to identify learning disabilities. This change opened the door to using interventions as a method to screen for learning disabilities.

Response to Intervention (RTI) was soon adopted in many school districts as the de-facto method of identifying students with learning disabilities. Under the RTI framework, students are placed into one of three tiers, with Tier 1 students showing no need for intervention and Tier 3 students needing the most intense interventions. This preventative screening, rather than a wait-to-fail approach, proved successful in many instances.

Educators soon recognized the benefits of academic interventions and began implementing the process in other ways. Within districts, additional support services were implemented, where needed, to further identify and remediate students through interventions. The natural outgrowth of RTI became known as Multi-Tiered Systems of Support or MTSS. RTI remains a strategic element in the MTSS framework, but MTSS now encompasses a variety of services. Many states, including Pennsylvania and Florida, have made or are in the process of changing the nomenclature and approach to Multi-Tiered Systems of Support rather than just Response to Intervention.

Take a look at:
The Difference Between RTI and MTSS

Mandates and Controversies

Student interventions have not been without controversy. RTI was adopted initially as a method to identify learning-disabled students who were misdiagnosed. Unfortunately, some see RTI as a method to deny services through the tiering process.

Student interventions have also been seen as the savior for state educational mandates. Early intervention is sometimes used to diagnose and remediate areas of weakness that are identified in the benchmark assessment process. Interventions have also been used, and found to be affective, for increasing pass rates for mandates such as the Third Grade Reading Guarantee in Ohio. As a result, educators sometimes associate interventions with state tests and mandates.

Barriers to Successful Student Interventions

Student interventions often accomplish their goals, to identify and remediate deficiencies. Significant barriers to success do exist, though.


Research-based solutions mean data, and lots of it. School districts use many sources of data to identify and tier students. That data may be spread throughout the district, some stored electronically, some available only on paper. Gathering the data then identifying students may be a manual effort. On occasion, data can be missed.


Once identified and tiered, educators need management options that streamline processes. Keeping track of dozens of students using a paper process or even individual spreadsheets takes effort.

Big Picture

Interventions are important, but educators also have a curriculum for which they are responsible. Aligning interventions with daily lessons and curriculum can be a struggle.

Professional Development

For many educators, interventions are a new concept. Even those with some background may not know how to optimally work within the framework. Educators need the knowledge to put forth their best effort.

Overcoming Student Intervention Barriers

Software exists that provide school districts with the tools to overcome student intervention barriers. OnHand Schools Instructional Management System, edInisght, is among the best.

Our Response to Intervention software curates data from all of your third-party sources. View all of the data on all of your students in one, online location. Automatically tier students using a criteria that works for your school. Follow student progress. Create reports. Manage students flowing in to and out of interventions. Simply put, let the software manage the data, while you focus on teaching.

We would be happy to provide you with a free, no obligation tour of our RTI Software. Click here to let us know that you would like to learn more.