Response to Intervention Assessment Tools

Instructor: Heather Turner

Heather has taught for 10 years as a lead special education teacher and Educational Diagnostician for a district. She has a doctorate in Curriculum Studies.

Mrs. Smith is a new teacher who's learning how to utilize student data gained from assessments within the RTI process. This lesson will cover the different types of assessments that Mrs. Smith is likely to see over the course of the school year.

Screening Assessments

Screening assessments used within response to intervention (RTI) are timed probes that target a specific skill. Probes are brief assessments that compare student results. Mrs. Smith is likely to give these assessments to her entire class multiple times a year. When using screening assessments, student results are reported as falling on, below, or above grade level, which Mrs. Smith can then use to plan her instruction.

It's important for Mrs. Smith to recognize that there are many different types of assessments based on the subject and grade-level taught. The Center for Response to Intervention provides an overview of the different types of screeners that can be used at school on their website.

Academic Areas for Assessment

Below is a partial list of the different types of assessments that Mrs. Smith may encounter. This list provides the content area along with a short explanation. Information about a specific program that provides this assessment can be found on the Center for Response to Intervention webpage.

Early Reading Skills

  • Phoneme segmentation fluency - Students identify the ''phonemes'' in a given word. A phoneme is a unit of sound. Example: Cat is /c/, /a/, /t/.
  • Letter naming fluency - Students identify upper and lowercase letters at random.
  • Letter sounds fluency - Students produce the sounds of upper and lowercase letters at random.
  • Nonsense word fluency - Students decode a list of nonsense words, or unreal words, using their letter-sound knowledge.


  • Oral reading fluency - Students read a grade-level passage for one minute. The number of overall correct words read is recorded.
  • Reading comprehension - Students select words to fill in the blanks of a given reading passage.


  • Number identification - Students identify single-digit and double-digit numbers at random.
  • Math calculation - Students solve a mix of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems based on their grade level. Higher grades solve more diverse and complex problems, while lower grades may only solve single-digit addition and subtraction problems.
  • Math concepts/problem-solving - Students solve word and math application problems, such those involving time, money, and algebraic concepts.

Screening assessments also are available for writing and behavior. These assessments are not as popular in the school setting as those that focus on reading and math.

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