Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Learning Disabilities


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Urban, Stanley


Learning disabled children--Identification; Special education--Law and legislation


Disability and Equity in Education


Prior to the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) in 2004, the only operational definition for determining eligibility as a child having a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) was to determine if a severe discrepancy existed between a child's achievement and intellectual ability. Concerns with the IQ discrepancy model have led to changes in the special education code to also include a child's response to scientific, researched-based interventions as adequate criteria to determine a Learning Disability. This process is called Response to Intervention (RTI).

The purposes of this exploratory investigation were to (a) determine the elements that constitute best practices as stated in literature for Response to Intervention, (b) identify some of the benefits in implementing a Response to Intervention approach, and (c) identify some of the caveats for the implementation of Response to Intervention. This investigation revealed that school districts have many questions to consider when deciding on whether or not to employ an RTI model. The research has only recently begun in the field as to the long-term affects of RTI interventions on students' success. While RTI appears to have many benefits, the complexity of implementation and the lack of scientific research in the field warrant careful consideration of school districts.