The simple response is yes. RtI should benefit any student who needs the intervention, if we have identified the problem correctly, established some type of motivation for the student, conduct intervention with fidelity, regular follow up, and utilize data driven review.
The issues we have found with high school students in particular are, 1. How far behind is the student (how large of a gap), 2. Has the student been struggling or merely passed on to another grade, 3. To what extent is that gap affecting behavior and attitude, 4. How close to graduation is the student (time enough to really be effective), 5.What intervention fits the situation 6. Does the intervention need an intensive session or can it be done ongoing with differentiation. Many times we get students from out of district with little data from the previous district. If you are the early years of implementation you may find many students who were not identified.
We are a K-12 school with about 200-230 students. We are just about at skeleton crew manning (short handed) and fitting high school interventions into the master schedule is problematic. To make interventions for a few students, fit into the tight schedules followed by high school, demands a lot of creativity. We have not done well with the academic side of intervention at the high school; but it is much easier to conduct the behavioral side of intervention with coordinated activity of planner usage and close follow up. We are appointing a teacher and administrator to each student which has created a divide and conquer type follow up with teacher administrator checking each other.
Since much of the poor academic achievement is linked to the mental attitude of the teenage years, sometimes this has been enough to help them over the “passing” mark. I know this is a poor philosophy, but in many cases, it has been the best we can get done. When you are making the decisions for those 11th and 12th grade students all of this takes on a different dimension; because by the time you conduct testing and decide the intervention or interventions you will employ, the time element may hamper your efforts, especially if an intervention is not working and you need to shift gears.
In the case of the student who is suffering from “educational neglect”; one who you find has a very large GAP, you may find it may be too late to serve them adequately. You may not have the time to conduct several quarters of interventions. It would be an asset if your district had a track for passing the GED. I realize our job is teaching to graduate, but at least the emphasis would shift from “drop out” to having a better chance to pass the GED.
This higher grade issue becomes more complex in theory and in practice.
Hope this helps,