In the school system, students can be labelled 'at-risk' for a variety of factors, including: being an English Language Learner (ELL), low standardized test scores, frequent absences, pattern of failing grades, being held back a year in school.
Many schools and school districts must address this issue in their populations, not only by identifying these students, but also by developing strategies to help them succeed. One such strategy is called 'Response to Intervention' or RTI; the RTI process helps general education teachers identify 'at-risk' students and develop an intervention plan to address their educational needs within the school day. Interventions can include many different types of assistance like checking for understanding with student, creating a tutoring schedule, conference with parents, or making incentives for motivation. All the student's teachers are then given a copy of this plan for the student.
RTI has three levels, and as a student progresses or improves, he or she might be exited from the program. If the RTI campus committee does not see improvement, however, then they can advance the student to Tier II or Tier III. One benefit of RTI is that if a student progresses to Level III, the committee can request testing to determine if that student may have learning disabilities. Often, identifying students who may have learning disabilities but have 'slipped through the cracks' and never been tested is the first step toward eliminating that 'at risk' label and ensuring that the student can be more successful.