Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports

  • MTSS

  • Multi-Tiered System of Support
    A rigorous prevention system provides for the early identification of learning and behavioral challenges and timely intervention for students who are at risk for long-term learning problems. This system includes three levels of intensity or three levels of prevention, which represent a continuum of support. Traditionally, a pyramid model is used to illustrate this continuum of support. The pyramid model also illustrates two important aspects of the multi-tiered system of support: (1) the number of students served decreases as you move up the tiers and (2) the intensity of support increases as you move up the tiers. Each tier is described below and applies to both academic and behavioral systems.

    Tier 1: Core Instructional and Universal Systems 
    The classroom teacher provides high-quality instructional and behavioral support for all students in the general education classroom. Multiple sources of data are monitored by the classroom teacher and universal screening data.

    Academic Systems: The classroom teacher provides high-quality core instruction aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), in which about 80% or more of the students are successful. This tier is a crucial foundation of the Response to Intervention process. 

    Behavior Systems: Tier 1 Positive Behavior Support System provides a framework for development of school-wide expectations and matrixing for all common areas of the campus; implementation of comprehensive rewards systems for the display of appropriate behaviors; alignment of responses to misbehaviors, and office vs. classroom managed behaviors within each campus and across the district.

    Tier 2: Targeted Intervention:
    Students who may require specific needs to be met.  Tier 2 supports are always in addition to Tier 1 as they are meant to supplement core instruction. The Campus MTSS team develops a plan for Tier 2 interventions that includes the targeted skill, type of intervention, frequency of intervention, and documentation of student response to the intervention.

    At the tier 2 level of support, authentic assessment data informs the target area of the intervention plan; classroom observations, discipline/behavior logs, student work samples, state assessment results, curriculum-based assessments  (CBAs), cognitive ability assessments, and other formative and summative assessments help narrow the focus to the determine the most impactful goal(s) to set for the student. The intervention plan is implemented and progress monitoring data is collected regularly to inform them about appropriate changes to the plan to ensure the student is making adequate progress.

    Tier 2 Key Features: 

    Data-Based Decision-Making 
    Intervention Plan 
    Evidence-Based Intervention Delivery 
    Progress Monitoring

    Tier 3: Intensive  and Individualized Intervention

    Tier 3 supports are individualized and intense. This level of support is appropriate for students who do not make adequate progress with Tier 2 support, and for students who are significantly above or below grade level in academic, behavioral, or social skills. It is not required that students receive Tier 2 support before receiving Tier 3 support; rather, intensity of support should always be aligned to intensity of need.

     The key difference between Tier 2 and Tier 3 is intensity. Students receiving this level of support who are performing below grade-level receive intervention at a higher frequency and/or longer duration each week, in a smaller group size. For example, at Tier 2, a student may receive academic intervention 3 times a week for 25 minutes each session in a small group of six, and at Tier 3, a student may receive academic intervention 4 times a week for 50 minutes each session in a small group of three. It is important to note that frequency and duration will vary by target area, age, and developmental appropriateness.

    Students receiving this level of support who are performing above grade-level or show a potential to learn above grade level may receive curriculum and instruction that greatly differs from that of their peers. For example, a student who has already demonstrated mastery of a specific concept may receive enrichment to push their thinking and mastery to higher levels (Tier 2). A student who demonstrates mastery in an area several grade levels above their peers may receive a longer-term independent project that requires application of advanced knowledge and skills, investigation, and creation of a product to show growth on the learning continuum or be accelerated to a higher grade level for a specific content area  or moved to the next grade level through district grade advancement procedures (Tier 3).

    Tier 3 Key Features: 

    Data-Based Decision-Making 
    Intervention Plan 
    Evidence-Based Intervention Delivery 
    Progress Monitoring


Contact Us

  • EV

    For additional questions on the Multi-Tiered System of Supports, contact: 

    Dr. Elena Villanueva

    Director of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)


    phone: 512-393-6734