Elementary School Psychologists and Response to Intervention (RTI)


The implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI) in elementary schools may have important implications for school psychologists. Therefore, it is important to better understand how elementary school psychologists perceive RTI and what barriers to successful RTI implementation they identify. Although previous research has investigated the perceptions of school psychologists in general Marrs and Little (Contemporary School Psychology, 18, 24–34, 2014) and at the secondary level Sansosti et al. (School Psychology Review, 39, 286–295, 2010a), (School Psychology Forum: Research in Practice, 4, 1–21, 2010b), no current studies have focused on the perceptions of school psychologists at the elementary level. In the current study, practicing elementary school psychologists were interviewed to explore how they view RTI in general and to identify any perceived barriers and challenges to implementation. Five participants were interviewed, and transcripts were analyzed using a consensual qualitative research approach. The school psychologists interviewed revealed two major themes in their perceptions of the implementation of RTI at their sites including roles and barriers with subthemes of barriers that included teacher concerns, system-level needs, and administration. Implications of the current study include that while school psychologists may have a positive view of RTI in general, there is some confusion about the role of school psychologists within this paradigm and there are many perceived barriers to the successful implementation of RTI within the elementary school setting.

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Suzanne Little, St. John County Schools, St. Augustine, FL.

Heath Marrs, Department of Psychology, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA.

Heidi Bogue, Department of Psychology, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA.

We would like to thank Rachel Border, who was a student at Central Washington University during the data collection phase, for her assistance with this project.

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Correspondence to Heath Marrs.

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The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Little, S., Marrs, H. & Bogue, H. Elementary School Psychologists and Response to Intervention (RTI). Contemp School Psychol 21, 103–114 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-016-0104-z

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  • RTI
  • Roles of school psychologists
  • School psychologist’s role in RTI
  • RTI in elementary schools