Society for Research in Educational Effectiveness (SREE) Conference
Theme: Tensions and Tradeoffs: Responding to Diverse Demands for Evidence
March 6-9, 2019
Title: Does the Response to Intervention Approach Improve Academic and Disability Outcomes (Poster)
Authors: Zhiling Shea, Jade Jenkins
In 2004, the reauthorization of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act made Response to Intervention (RtI) an alternative means of identifying and serving children with disabilities (IDEA, 2004). The purpose of our study is to investigate the impacts of RtI on children’s academic and disability outcomes as schools adopt RtI between kindergarten and fourth grade in a nationally representative data set of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten (ECLS-K: 2011). Our study uses a child fixed effect model to exploit two different sources of variation. First, there exists within-school variation, as not all schools implemented RtI between kindergarten and fourth grade, so children from different schools are subjected to different approaches. Second, there exists variation within children across time as policies changed, leaving some children exposed to RtI but others not (i.e. some schools implemented RtI earlier than others, leaving some children unaffected by RtI at these schools in their earlier years). The study’s results have three implications. First, our study provides the first evidence of larger scale evaluations to inform the national trend of schools using RtI to improve student outcomes. Second, the findings for the effect of RtI on disability status provides insight into the important function of implementing RtI as a means to reduce misidentification of disability. Third, the results of RtI on disability status might also indicate that the implementation of RtI is overall effective (i.e., once children were identified as disabled, the number of children with disabilities decreased in RtI schools compared to non-RtI schools by the end of fourth grade).