What is MTSS?
Multi Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a collaborative, evidence-based, approach to differentiating and personalizing instruction and intervention, across academics and behavior for all students—so that every student can achieve academic and life success. MTSS is one of the most effective ways to provide an equitable educational experience, because it leverages collective knowledge and expertise to help teachers understand their learners' needs and make informed, strategic decisions that best support them.
For more information about MTSS, please view our MTSS Guidebook
Essential Components of MTSS
- High-Quality Instruction: All students receive standards-based, culturally and linguistically-relevant instruction in their general education classroom by highly qualified teachers through differentiated instruction.
- Positive Behavioral Support: The district and school staff collaboratively select and implement schoolwide, classroom, and research-based positive behavioral supports for achieving important social, emotional, and academic outcomes. The teacher is responsible for organizing a well managed classroom with a strong focus on integrating prevention and intervention strategies for effective instruction and consistent student support.
- Integrated Data System: District and school staff collaborate to create an integrated data collection system that includes assessments to determine the learning needs of each student, as well as data collection methods for monitoring the effectiveness of instruction and continuous systemic improvement.
- Team Structure: District and school staff establish various teams. The purpose of these teams is to develop a plan for the instructional program in the general education classroom to support individual student needs, while simultaneously providing a positive effect on the instructional program for all students. Teams will use collected data to determine the plan effectiveness. Based on this data, the team will decide if further intervention is necessary and what the continued efforts will look like.
MTSS Tiered Instruction
Tier 1-All Students: Universal instruction is provided in the general education classroom. All students are taught using instructional methods that research has shown to be effective with the majority of the student population (80%). Proactive, preventive academic and behavioral best practices are delivered with consideration to varied learning styles. The entire class is screened to identify students who are at risk of failing (academic and/or behavior). Kids may work in small groups in the classroom as the teacher uses differentiated instruction to target different skills levels and learning styles. All students’ progress is tracked using a validated measurement tool.
Tier 2-Small Groups: Tier 2 instruction and supports are in addition to universal instruction, for students who need more support and/or enrichment in course/grade level material. Secondary interventions can support 15% of the student population in the strategic range (academic and/or behavior), delivered by classroom teachers, specialists, and/or tutors. Ongoing progress monitoring is used to measure the student’s response to intervention.
Tier 3-Individuals: Tier 3 instruction is intensive support provided to students who are struggling with significant learning gaps and need academic and/or behavioral support. Tier 3 service capacity is no more than 5% of student population. These students may require alternative or replacement curriculum and will likelyreceive support from one or more specialists providing instructional and/or behavioral strategies as part of an individualized plan of action. Tier 3 interventions support students whose performance is significantly misaligned with the district benchmark decision point on universal screener(s) and validated through stage two screening or those whose Tier 2 progress monitoring data supports the need for Tier 3. Tier 3 may or may not be special education. Tier 3 interventions are developed and managed by the Problem Solving Team, which includes a parent/guardian.