Journal of Contemporary Research in Education


Response-to-intervention (RTI) is “a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs” (RTI Action Network, 2014). RTI began to be recognized around 2004, when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was reauthorized. In the midst of a national movement toward increasing uses of RTI, the development of knowledge of RTI for preservice teachers who will be engaged in its implementation is of high importance. This study examined the impact of a set of online professional development modules— IRIS modules—on preservice teachers’ knowledge of RTI. Many federal dollars have been invested in the IRIS Center and these modules have been widely used. Yet, little is known about the learning outcomes for preservice teachers in response to these modules. A total of 55 preservice teachers enrolled in a special education teacher preparation program at a large Midwest public university participated in the study. Each participant spent approximately 20 hours on completing eight assigned modules. The results indicate that the experimental group performed significantly better than the control group on the RTI-Reading Knowledge Assessment, providing evidence that the intervention was beneficial. Implications and limitations of using online professional development modules are discussed.

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