Analyzing RtI: Fidelity

Sep 12, 2016

After realizing our RtI model wasn't really working for us or our students, the teachers in my building decided to analyze the different components of our RtI model.  This blog series will go in depth with how we scrutinized each of the following parts of the model:
An overview
High Quality Instruction
Universal Screening
Research Based Interventions
Continuous Progress Monitoring
RtI meetings
Professional Development

Fidelity is the act of delivering instruction in the manner for which it is meant to be implemented.
 In the article titled: "Reviewing the Roots of Response to Intervention: Is There Enough Research to Support the Promise" by Tammi Ridgeway, Debra Price, Cynthia Simpson, and Chad Rose, it is stated that "...implementing instruction with fidelity is essential when measuring the outcomes of both the core curricula and individualized interventions."

In an earlier post within this series, I discussed our analysis of the core curriculum in our school and our need to be on the "same page."  We created a literacy framework for our Tier I instruction with the thought that each of us would follow it with fidelity so that students would be receiving instruction rooted in the best practices in reading.  This strong Tier I instruction is essential.

Fidelity is also essential when discussing interventions but for a slightly different reason. We use research based interventions in our RtI model; therefore, there is a protocol to follow in order for these interventions to potentially produce the same positive results. The routine that was established by the researchers needs to be what occurs during the interventions within our school, as well.


Well...our goal is to support a student in an area of need.  Let's say the intervention that we try does not work.  If we know that the intervention was carried out with fidelity, then we can get down to the matter of what is really go.  Does the student need a more intense intervention?  Is there another sub-skill that we missed and need to look at again?  Is there an intervention that would be more suitable for this child?

None of these questions have to do with the implementation process of the intervention received.  Honestly, there is not time for that.  Our students in intervention are behind.  They need us to do our best to get to the root of their need, support them, and then reanalyze.

Within the RtI model, I know that fidelity refers to much more than just the implementation of instruction.  The RtI Action Network lays out a comprehensive definition of fidelity with the model.  But, to be honest, I have a lot to learn.  I know that I need to pay attention to my delivery of instruction.  I know that I need to be consistent with my progress monitoring.

I also know that my building must be consistent with our meetings to reevaluate the data.  And this is the next topic within our blog series!



  1. I am so happy for your school that you all have come together to look at the components of RTI and decide how it would look the best for your school! I think that is wonderful and will be so beneficial for your students!

    1. You have a played a HUGE role in this for us!! We have read and reread your blog to help us along our way. I know that each and every school is different. That is why I am writing with the hope that many perspectives will help others. But thank you!! We are seeing a difference in our school already!

  2. Em,
    Would you be willing to share the names of the researched based interventions that you use? Thank you. Liz Parce

  3. It's such huge work that you're doing, but it's bound to lead you and your students in the right direction.


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