Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Learning Disabilities


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Shuff, Margaret

Committee Member 1

Kuder, Sydney J.

Committee Member 2

Accardo, Amy


Response to intervention (Learning disabled children); African American children--Education


Educational Methods | Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this study was to determine if states that have implemented Response to Intervention (RTI) programs had a reduction in the numbers of African American students receiving Special Education. Historically, there has been an overrepresentation of minorities, particularly African Americans, receiving special education in America's schools. In 2004, the federal government amended the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA) to include RTI. The RTI initiative has the possibility to reduce special education referrals through the use of research-based interventions, progress monitoring, and data collection. The premise behind RTI is to identify students at-risk for academic difficulties and provide the needed interventions using a three-tier model. In addition, IDEA also stated that a discrepancy model was no longer needed to determine if a student has a Specific Learning Disability. Instead, RTI models and data could be utilized for Specific Learning Disability classifications (Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004, 2004).

This study examined three states, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The methods in which RTI were implemented within each state were analyzed. In addition, the number of African American students receiving special education was calculated over a period of time after RTI was initiated. The data was then examined to determine if the numbers of African American students declined after RTI implementation.