What is a multi-tiered system of support?
VERMONT Multi-tiered System of Supports Response to Intervention and Instruction (MTSS-RtII) Field Guide
The Tiers (Multi-tiered System): Refers to an infrastructure and system of supports designed to provide excellent universal, standards-based instruction (Tier 1) as well as supplemental instruction/intervention in increasingly “intensive” tiers of intervention for students who do not respond. Although a three-tiered model is common, there is no defined number of tiers that are necessary, as long as students have access to increasingly individualized interventions that increase both the amount of time and the expertise of the teacher.
Tier 1 is effective, standards-based instruction that occurs in the general education classroom and is delivered by a general education teacher. Commonly referred to as “core instruction,” it is focused on meeting the needs of all students. The classroom teacher makes use of evidence-based instructional strategies and differentiates instruction to meet the needs of all students and ensure positive outcomes for all. Core instruction should include whole class, small group, and individual student work that are informed by assessment data appropriate for your class/grade and the Common Core State Standards.
Tier 2 is supplemental small group or individual instruction. Even with good first instruction, some students continue to struggle. Tier 2 instruction/intervention is designed specifically for those students who are not making adequate progress in Tier 1, or who are at risk for academic or behavior difficulties. Tier 2 interventions do not supplant Tier 1 instruction, but are provided in addition to what the student is receiving at Tier 1. These enhancements of the core curriculum are provided for a designated period of time and frequency. Interventions must be aligned to core instruction and are designed to match the needs of students identified as at-risk through screening and progress monitoring measures and are provided by trained, knowledgeable and skilled school professionals.
Tier 3 is intended for students who are not making sufficient progress given high-quality instruction in Tiers 1 and 2. Tier 3 interventions are supplemental, individualized and customized for a very small number of students in a smaller group format and often delivered with greater frequency and duration than Tier 2. Students in Tier 3 continue to receive core instruction at Tier 1, focused on appropriate CCSS, although some portions of Tier 3 may supplant classroom instruction. Interventions at Tier 3 are tailored to the student’s needs and provided by a highly trained, knowledgeable, and skilled educator. In some schools, Tier 3 will be an indication of special education placement; in others it may precede special education.