Intervention is a term with at least two different meanings (Hautamäki, 2009; Higgins & Green, 200; Jimerson, 2007). First, intervention can refer to a planned modification of the environment for the purpose of altering behaviour in a pre-specified way (Tilly & Flugum, cited in Riley-Tillman & Burns, 2009), for example, using an intervention programme. Second, intervention can refer to research or a research design in which the effectiveness of an intervention programme is being investigated. One of the aims of interventions is to prevent learning difficulties from occurring. These types of interventions are frequently used in early childhood education. Another aim is to reduce the problems faced by children with learning difficulties (i.e. remediation of learning difficulties).

Based on the research literature, we know that better improvements in learning (e.g. measured as achievement test scores) are obtained when using research-based intervention programmes (i.e. the effectiveness of the programme has been verified in robust research) and when these programmes are implemented with integrity (Jacob & Parkinson, 2015; Slavin & Lake, 2008).



  • Hautamäki, J. (2009). Koulutettavuus ja interventio. In S. Moberg, J. Hautamäki, J. Kivirauma, U. Lahtinen, H. Savolainen, & S. Vehmas (Eds.), Erityispedagogiikan perusteet (s. 124–139)Helsinki: WSOY.
  • Higgins, J. P. T., & Green, S. (Eds.) (2008). Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions.Chechester, UK: Cochrane Collaboration & John Wiley & Sons.
  • Jacob, R., & Parkinson, J. (2015). The potential for school-based interventions that target executive function to improve academic achievement: A review. Review of Educational Research, 1–41.
  • Jimerson, S. R., Burns, M. K. & Van Der Heyden, A. M. (toim.). (2007). Handbook of response to intervention. The science and practice of assessment and intervention. New York: Springer.
  • Riley-Tillman, T. C., & Burns M. K. (2009). Evaluating educational interventions. Single-case design for measuring response to intervention. New York: The Guilford Press.
  • Slavin, R., & Lake C. (2008). Effective programs in elementary mathematics: A best-evidence synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 78(3), 427–515.