RTI National Online Forum:

"Data-Based Decision Making"

On Thursday, April 30, 2009, the RTI Action Network in collaboration with the National Center on Response to Intervention presented an RTI National Online Forum, "Data-Based Decision Making." In this webcast, nationally recognized experts and RTI implementers provided guidance on using data from multiple assessment functions to support and empower educator decision making within an RTI framework.


View the Archived RTI National Online Forum Webcast

To access the archived Forum click here.

If you wish to simply download the PowerPoint slides, click here.


Please contact us if you have any problems or questions.


We value your feedback. Please complete the Forum evaluation.




Screening and progress-monitoring data provide the foundation for RTI. They help educators identify students needing additional supports, distinguish responsiveness from unresponsiveness, and individualize instruction based on students’ needs. In this webcast, Lynn Fuchs, Joe Kovaleski, and John Carruth provide information about how to use data effectively and answer your questions about using data to make instructional decisions within an RTI model.

Back To Top


Lynn Fuchs, Ph.D., is the Nicholas Hobbs Professor of Special Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University, where she also co-directs the Kennedy Center Reading Clinic. She has conducted programmatic research on assessment methods for enhancing instructional planning and on instructional methods for improving reading and math outcomes for students with learning disabilities. Dr. Fuchs has published more than 200 empirical studies in peer-review journals. She has been identified by Thompson ISI as one of 250 "most highly cited" researchers in the social sciences, and has received a variety of awards to acknowledge her research accomplishments that have enhanced reading and math outcomes for children with and without disabilities.

Joseph F. Kovaleski, D.Ed., NCSP, is Professor of Educational and School Psychology and Director of the Program in School Psychology at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is also co-principal investigator for the Pennsylvania RTI Project through the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN). Dr. Kovaleski has consulted with school districts and departments of education throughout the United States. His professional interests include system-wide efforts for school restructuring, the application of student assessment to classroom instruction, and implementing response-to-intervention assessment programs in the context of whole-school reform.

John Carruth is the Assistant Superintendent of Special Programs and Projects for the Vail Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona. Mr. Carruth has worked for the Vail Unified School District for fourteen years holding several positions including the Director of Special Programs, Assistant Principal, and Special Education Teacher. Over the past seven years, Mr. Carruth has worked with a team to implement a data-based decision model that emphasizes RTI. The results include significant improvement in learning outcomes for all students on statewide assessments, as well as a 40% reduction in the number of students referred for initial placement in special education and a 50% reduction in the number of students identified as having a learning disability.

Back To Top

Recommended Resources:

Selected Articles and Books by our Presenters:


Batsche, G., Elliott, J., Graden, J. L., Grimes, J., Kovaleski, J. F., Prasse, D., Reschly, D. J., Schrag, J., & Tilly, W. D. (2005). Response to intervention: Policy considerations and implementation. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Directors of Special Education.


Fletcher, J.M., Lyon, G.R., Fuchs, L.S., & Barnes, M.A. (2006). Learning disabilities: From identification to intervention. New York: Guilford.


Fuchs, L.S., & Fuchs, D. (2008). Best practices in progress monitoring reading and mathematics at the elementary grades. In Grimes, J., & Thomas, A. (Eds.), Best practices in School Psychology (Vol. 5). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.


Fuchs, L.S., & Fuchs, D. (2007). The role of assessment in the three-tier approach to reading instruction. In Haager, D., Vaughn, S, & Klingner, J. (Eds.), Evidence-based practices for response to intervention (pp. 29-44). Baltimore: Brookes.


Fuchs, D., Vaughn, S.R., & Fuchs, L.S. (Eds.). (2008). Responsiveness to intervention. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.


Kovaleski, J. F., & Pedersen, J. A. (2008). Best practices in data-analysis teaming. In A. Thomas and J. Grimes, (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology V (pp.115-129). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.


Kovaleski, J. F. (2007). Potential pitfalls of response to intervention. In S. R.

Jimerson, M. K. Burns, & A. M. VanDerHeyden (Eds.). The handbook of response to intervention: The science and practice of assessment and intervention. New York: Springer Inc.


Kovaleski, J. K., & Glew, M. C. (2006). Bringing instructional support teams to scale: Implications of the Pennsylvania experience. Remedial and Special Education, 27(1), 16-25.


Related Reading from

Additional Resources on Data-based Decision Making within RTI:

Back To Top

Discussion Questions

  1. What data are currently collected in your school? Are these data collected through an efficient and effective systematic process? Are school-wide data shared regularly with staff?
  2. Do you have a school-based data analysis team in place already? If so, could it carry out the responsibilities discussed here for evaluating Tier 1 and Tier 2? Discuss changes that may be needed to put that in place.
  3. Are data used to identify students needing targeted supports in academics? For behavior?
  4. Are data used to help educators distinguish responsiveness from unresponsiveness for academics? For behavior?
  5. Are data used to help educators individualize intervention for academics? For behavior?
  6. What professional development opportunities are available within your district that could help prepare educators to analyze and interpret student data to make decisions about individuals and also groups of students?
  7. Share ideas for the supports from your district office that would help you streamline data management and apply decision rules for RTI. Discuss ways you may request that support.
  8. Reflect on ways that you could involve parents and families in the data analysis process in your building or district.
Back To Top
Funding for the RTI National Online Forum is provided by the Cisco Foundation, the Lee Pesky Learning Center, the Janet Shafran Memorial Fund, Wireless Generation, and the National Center on Response to Intervention.