Multi-Tier Systems of Support (MTSS)
MTSS is an educational process that provides high-quality, research-based instruction and intervention based on individual learners’ academic, social, and behavioral needs, which are identified through screening and progress monitoring. Adjustments to instruction and interventions are based on students’ performance and rate of learning success.
MTSS models include universal screening of all students, multiple tiers of intervention delivery, a collaborative problem-solving approach, and an integrated data collection and assessment system to inform decisions at each tier of instruction and intervention delivery. The emphasis is on school-wide, differentiated universal core instruction in Tier 1; Tiers 2 and 3 provide intensive and increasingly individualized interventions:
Tier 1 (Low Risk) – All students receive effective, differentiated instruction provided by a classroom teacher using evidence-based core curriculum. Tier 1 is expected to bring approximately 80% of students to acceptable levels of proficiency.
Tier 2 (Some Risk) – For students who don’t respond effectively to Tier 1 instruction, Tier 2 supplements core instruction using targeted, evidence-based small-group interventions to help them catch up. This supplemental instruction is expected to bring up to 15% of students to proficient levels.
Tier 3 (High Risk) – Involves the application of intensive, evidence-based interventions which are designed to increase the rate of student progress for the approximately 5% of students who need very intensive 1:1 intervention.
There are numerous benefits of MTSS, most notably improving education for all students. Implementation of an effective MTSS program eliminates the “wait to fail” situation that prevents at-risk students from receiving intervention sooner versus later. MTSS also provides support to teachers with instructionally relevant, easily understood information which allows them to know what works now to improve a student’s skills. And, MTSS encourages better collaboration between teachers and families.