Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


Graduate School of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Ronald B. Childress

Second Advisor

K. Lynn Boyer

Third Advisor

Lisa A. Heaton


The purpose of the study was to provide a data-based description of West Virginia special education teachers’ roles, responsibilities, and practices relevant to their participation in selected components of the Response to Intervention (RTI) process. Special educators’ practices related to assessment, tiered instruction, decision making, and collaboration comprise the main components of study and were based on a conceptual framework developed by Hoover and Patton (2008). A researcher-developed survey, the Special Educator Response to Intervention Inventory (SERTII), was used to explore the extent and characteristics of special educators’ participation in RTI. The study population included all elementary special education teachers in West Virginia. The sample for the study included 341 special educators. Statistical analyses showed significant levels of participation across each of the four areas examined. Elementary special educators participated in progress monitoring, provided weekly intervention sessions to at-risk students, and used research-based, explicit instructional strategies when delivering intervention. Teachers analyzed data and consulted regularly with general educators. They reported significant increases in the amount of collaboration between general and special educators since the initiation of RTI. Special education teachers participated in RTI decision-making activities such as determining students’ needs for intervention, selecting and developing interventions, and making referrals for special education evaluations. Self-reported qualitative data revealed special educators identify benefits of RTI as offering additional assistance to at-risk students, meeting individual needs, and delivering early intervention. Most commonly noted challenges of RTI for special educators included having sufficient time to implement the process, meeting the simultaneous needs of at-risk and IEP students, and interference with timely referrals for special education evaluation.


Special education teachers.

Response to intervention (Learning disabled children)