IEBE Research


Project Overview

SMU's Response-to-Intervention (RtI) research examines the role of technology in supporting effective implementation of an RtI framework with first-grade struggling readers. RtI is a framework for providing instructional services to children and, based on how they respond to these services, increasing the intensity of instructional services as needed. The ultimate goal of an RtI framework is to prevent learning problems when possible, and to determine who does and does not require on-going additional support, presumably through Special Education.


Within an RtI framework, instructional services are provided by tiers of intensity. Tier 1, also called Core instruction, is provided to all children and represents the normal educational program. Children who show signs of risk for having difficulty are also provided Tier 2, or supplemental tutoring, which is provided in addition to the core with small groups of children. Most children thrive from receiving instruction in the first two tiers. However, a small set continue to struggle even after receiving both Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction. These are the children who likely have dyslexia or other learning disability that requires ongoing intensive Tier 3 instruction to overcome their reading difficulties.

Timeline and Status

As of November 2010, the RTI research study is still in progress. If you would like to request more information regarding RTI research, click here.

Participants and Partners

Dallas ISD

Funding Source

Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Principal Investigator

Patricia Mathes, PhD

Co-Principal Investigators

Reid Lyon, PhD
Kyle Roberts, PhD

Project Coordinators

Carolyn Buss
Elisa Gallegos

Additional Resources

Assisting Students Struggling with Reading: Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi-Tier Intervention in the Primary Grades
Developed by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, this guide offers "five specific recommendations to help educators identify struggling readers and implement evidence-based strategies to promote their reading achievement." Our teachers and reading specialists utilize these strategies in the RTI research study.  Download the full guide here, or visit the ies What Works Clearinghouse.