Expanding Staff Skills Under RTI: Interventionist, Consultant, Data Analyst

Most schools must rely on the capacity of their existing staff as they implement Response to Intervention. Certainly, each group of educators in a school system— teachers, support staff, administrators, paraprofessionals –possess unique abilities that enrich the RTI initiative.

However, RTI also requires that staff move away from compartmentalized job descriptions to begin to adopt a shared set of more general, cross-disciplinary RTI skills. Educators holding a variety of positions should be prepared to serve as needed as RTI interventionists, consultants, and data analysts. Below are general definitions of each of the roles.

  • The interventionist is a teacher or other educator who is directly responsible for implementing an intervention for an individual student or small group. The role requires clear definition of the student problem(s), selection of evidence-based intervention strategies or programs, use of data to determine if the intervention is effective, and measurement of how the intervention is carried out to ensure that it is implemented with integrity. 
  • The consultant provides support to teachers (or other interventionists), helping them to structure and implement an intervention to maximize its chances for success. The consultant establishes a collegial relationship with teachers, uses a structured problem-solving model to match students to those intervention ideas most likely to be effective, and focuses on student factors that are alterable as the focus of interventions.
  • The data analyst assists the teacher or school to collect information from a variety of sources to better understand a student problem, creates time-series graphs as visual displays to show student progress, finds the best methods for estimating peer performance and setting goals for rate of student progress, and can apply methods of data analysis to progress-monitoring data to determine if the student has made adequate growth with the intervention.
For a detailed set of RTI-relevant skills, it is recommended that school leaders review the document Interventionist, Consultant, Data Analyst: Descriptions of Shared RTI Roles (see attachment at the bottom of this page).  This skills list can be used  as a starting point for planning RTI professional development for staff and for clarifying RTI job performance expectations.