Teachers' and school principals' perception of barriers and facilitators in response to intervention implementation and use for specific learning disability referrals
The use of response to intervention (RTI) in school settings has increased in recent years. RTI is flexible in design and allows school districts to use available resources to carry out the RTI process. Elementary teachers are responsible for much of the RTI process including conducting interventions and monitoring academic progress. However, elementary principals also collaborate with teachers in the RTI process. The purposes of this study were to conduct a qualitative investigation of factors perceived by teachers and school administration to act as barriers or facilitators of a) RTI implementation and the b) use of RTI to make SLD referrals at each of the three RTI tiers. In fall 2012, this study used the qualitative design of grounded theory to guide data collection regarding the perceptions of elementary teachers and principals. The study included a total of six general education teachers, three special education teachers, and two school principals (n=11) from five elementary schools, within a single school district, that had begun RTI implementation two years prior to data collection. Data collection included individual interviews, critical incident reports, and field notes that were coded to develop themes within the data and sequentially construct a theory that enabled better understanding of collected data. In summary, from collected data, five main themes emerged for both barriers and facilitators: district and school administrative leadership, school values and attitude, support for RTI practices and procedures, training and teacher characteristics, and problem-solving and holistic approach.