menu   home About Me rti Free My Products  

Resources for RtI

universal screenings and progress monitoring

We are finishing up our RtI cycle at my school.  Tier II has already been completed and Tier III will finish up this week.  Then any absences that need to be made up will happen after that.  Unfortunately, I have 2 students that have make ups to complete.  Hard to teach them if they aren't there!

I get emails from sweet people asking me about how we run our RtI program.  So I thought this would be a good time to go over a few things for RtI.

Universal Screenings:  A universal screening is typically an assessment given to all students 2 or 3 times per year to check student progress.  Students not making adequate progress are then placed into Tiers II and III.

rti universal screening resource

Our school happens to use the Developmental Reading Assessment 2 for our universal screening for grades K-3.  It doesn't take too long to give and has proven to be accurate to us.  We were using the DRA for grades 4 &5 but have switched over to the IRI. It is quicker and focuses more on higher level comprehension than on the fluency piece for older readers.  

Universal Screening Resources

Other sources of universal screenings are:

STAR Reading
Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention

As I said, we use the DRA and the IRI.  The other sources are what some schools use.  I am only including them as resources.  I am not endorsing them or saying that they are a good or poor resource.  That is something for you and your school to decide.  You do need to choose one that works for your school and that all students can take.  The choice you make is important as that is what you will be using to identify your at-risk students.

Progress Monitoring: used to assess students' performance and their rate of improvement or how they are responding to the interventions and how effective the instruction may or may not be for the student/students

At my school we use a variety of progress monitoring tools.  Some schools use programs like Dibbles, AIMSweb, STAR Reading, etc...

progress monitoring resources

Progress Monitoring should be quick and easy to administer to students.  We do them weekly- 4 days of interventions then on the 5th day we assess.  Data from these weekly tests are plotted on graphs to visually represent the progress or lack of progress students are making.  If the data does not show adequate progress, interventions being given or methods of teaching being used need to be looked at and reflected upon to see what changes should be made.  We do not let lack of progress go on for very long before teachers change what they are doing to come at it from another angle to see if that improves the learning.  It is all about trying to reach the student in a way that works for them.

I hope this quick look at two pieces of the RtI process helps you to understand what resources are out there for your school to use.  

Do you have other RtI questions or specific needs?  Ask them in the comments and I will either try to answer them in the comments, by email, or in a future RtI post!  

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Hi,
    Thank you for this post. What I am confused about is how long are you supposed to meet with your Tier 2 and 3 groups? Do you assess them every week, or is that only for Tier 3? Thank you again. :-)


    1. Hi Nora! Different schools implement RtI in different ways. But at our school, we have Tier II running for 10 weeks and Tier III for 12 weeks. We do assess once a week for both tiers. We keep it very regulated to hopefully make it the best it can be for our students. Thank you for the question. Hope that helps!

  2. The assessment a school chooses is so important. I'm not sure I have the utmost faith in what we've got.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    1. I agree, Tammy, that the assessments used are important to how successful the RtI program can be. Maybe your school could look at other options. :)

  3. Lori,
    At our school we give all students the universal screening 3 times a year. I feel we lose out on so much instruction because we test all the time. Do you feel you catch all the struggling students when you only screen the Tier 2 and 3 students?

    1. Hey Amy! Thanks for the question. We screen all students, not just Tiers II and III. I definitely think if we only did Tiers II and III we would miss some strugglers. Hope that helps! :)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I so wish our school would use RTi like you do at your school. We use Easy CBM for the universal screener and using those results, Title I teachers choose their students. Title I teachers do the progress monitoring for Title I students, and I do mine every other week. This year our school adopted Wilson Fundations, and there are assessments at the end of each unit that the classroom teachers will use as well as the 3 benchmarks of Easy CBM.

    1. Thank you for coming by to add to the comments, Lee Ann! I am sorry that RtI isn't working for you as well as you would like for it to. Sounds like you are doing what you can! :)

  6. Hi, Thank you so much for posting about your RTi process. My school is still working on it and it gets better every year, but I still have lots of questions. What areas do you access during your screening? Our school uses AIMSweb which is OK, but it doesn't address a lot of the areas where students struggle. Do you have an RTi interventions for all of the areas of reading and writing?

    Thank you!

    1. I agree, Paula, that our RtI has also gotten better each year as we learn more and tweak the process each year. I use universal screenings that assess phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and comprehension. After the screenings, I analyze how the students did and then they receive interventions for their specific needs and what they are low in. Hope this helps! Thank you for coming by!


Free Resources