Illinois’ special education rules (23 Illinois Administrative Code 226.130) require school districts to use a process that determines how a child responds to scientific, research-based interventions as part of the evaluation procedures to determine special education eligibility under the category of specific learning disability (SLD). While this requirement is specific to SLD, districts also have the option of using an RtI process as part of the evaluation procedures for other disability categories.
When a student is participating in an RtI process, data showing that the student has a significant skill deficit and is making insufficient progress, even when provided with intense, research-based interventions, could lead the school team to suspect that the student has a disability that may require special education services. Another possible consideration is the student’s need to receive ongoing, additional, and substantial specialized supports and services in order to participate and make progress in the general education curriculum.
To determine special education eligibility, existing data collected during the RtI process will be used as an important source of evaluation information. The school team, which includes a student’s parents, will determine if these data are sufficient to determine eligibility or if additional evaluation data are needed. During this process, the interventions the student has been receiving should continue to be provided.
The following documents from the Illinois State Board of Education are designed to help district and school teams determine special education eligibility and entitlement using an RtI framework.