Response to intervention, rti, english language learners, ells, native english speakers, school psychology, school psychologist, florida association of school psychologists, intercultural sensitivity scale, iss, questionnaire, empirically validated interventions, culturally responsive


This research was an investigation of three domains identified through a thorough review of the literature as fundamental to the equitable implementation of Response to Intervention (RtI) with English language learners (ELLs): (1) degree of intercultural sensitivity of educators involved in the RtI process, (2) training of educators in implementation of RtI with ELLs, and (3) educator familiarity with empirically-based interventions for use with ELLs. The validity of using RtI with ELLs has been questioned by both supporters and detractors of the model (Linan-Thompson & Ortiz, 2009). The most fundamental tenets of RtI are predicated upon the use of empirically validated interventions and the application of culturally responsive educational practices that provide equitable learning opportunities for all students. Due to the critical role of school psychologists in the development and implementation of RtI models, a questionnaire was designed for use with this population to explore the three domains delineated above. The Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ISS; Chen & Starosta, 2000) was used to document participants' degree of intercultural sensitivity. Additional questions addressing domains two and three strategically juxtaposed participants' experiences with and perceptions regarding RtI with native English speakers versus RtI with ELLs. Through a series of eight research questions and the associated analyses, the following conclusions were reached: (1) Statistically significantly higher mean scores on the ISS were present among those respondents who identified themselves as Hispanic/Latino/Spanish and/or fluent in more than one language; (2) Statistically significant differences were documented in participants' responses to items focused on perceptions of training for implementing RtI with native English speakers versus training for implementing RtI with ELLs; and (3) Statistically significant differences were found in participants' responses to items inquiring about perceptions of familiarity with empirically-based interventions for use within an RtI framework with native English speakers in comparison to ELLs. Taken together, and in conjunction with a qualitative analysis of two open-ended questions, these results suggest the presence of considerable delays in school psychologists' training and perceptions of preparedness to implement RtI with a linguistically diverse population as compared to native English speakers. This outcome is disconcerting, given the emphasis throughout the literature on the importance of unique considerations required to implement RtI equitably with ELLs. Recommendations for practice and future research are provided that emphasize the need for additional research and training in implementing RtI with a linguistically diverse population.


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Graduation Date





Sivo, Stephen


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program









Release Date

May 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education;Education -- Dissertations, Academic

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