Multi-Tiered System of Supports
A Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a prevention framework that provides support matched to the unique needs of students in order to maximize achievement and reduce behavior. The essential components of this whole-child approach include screening, progress monitoring, multi-level prevention, and data-based decision-making. When all the essential components are implemented as intended, results include sustained academic improvement, decreased inappropriate special education services, and reduced grade retention. Federal and state legislation (i.e., ESSA and HB740) emphasize the importance of providing tiered systems for support and the use of evidence-based interventions for all students to meet grade-level standards.
Key Terms for MTSS
Multi-Level Prevention Pyramid
Key Terms for MTSS
Framework – intended plan or model for articulating teaching/learning activities, assessment/tests, processes, and desired results that can maximize student achievement.
- Multi-Tiered Prevention System – a schoolwide framework with systems and resources designed to provide support matched to student need to maximize student achievement and reduce poor behavioral outcomes.
- Data-Based Decision Making – a process for setting/evaluating goals; the ongoing process of analyzing and evaluating student data to inform educational decisions.
- At Risk- students who have poor learning and/or behavioral outcomes. Also, students who are in jeopardy of being retained or students who may not be on track to graduate.
- Acceleration – interventions that are implemented to increase the speed at which students acquire skills.
Assessment – the collection of information about student performance in a specific area.
- Benchmark – measures that are used to determine student progress and to guide instruction. For example, measures may assess a specific skill such as number of correct words read per minute (reading fluency).
- Screening – conducted to identify students who may need additional instruction or help so that early intervention can occur. These are typically brief and usually administered with all students at a grade level (Universal Screening).
- Progress Monitoring – scientifically based practice that is used to assess students’ academic and behavioral performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction.
Best Practices – evidence-based teaching strategies that generate positive student response.
- Evidence-Based Practices – an educational practice or strategy that has factual evidence for results.
- Differentiated Instruction – recognizing and responding to students’ varying interests, readiness levels, and learning needs.
- Interventions –instruction, supplemental to the general education curriculum, that is based on student need; and is made of evidence-based instructional strategies and techniques.
- Evidence-Based Intervention – an intervention for which data from scientific, rigorous research studies have demonstrated or validated the results.
- Fidelity of Implementation – the accurate and consistent delivery of instruction or assessment in the way it was designed or prescribed according to research findings and/or developers’ specifications.
Multi-Level Prevention Pyramid
Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports of Students uses a three-tiered prevention model to describe the intensity of supports students may require to meet their unique, whole child needs. As pictured in the graphic above, this multi-level prevention system includes high-quality core instruction and the use of evidence-based interventions and supports that may be intensified if data suggests this is required. Students receive instruction based on their needs, which may differ across time. When strategically provided tiered supports, it is expected that the majority of students should be able to achieve mastery of grade-appropriate Georgia Performance Standards.
- improves response times and helps educators rapidly respond to student needs, and
- aligns teams, helping to streamline information and resources necessary to improve student learning.
Essential Components to Improve Outcomes for Students
- ALL students are screened to identify those who may be at risk for poor academic or behavioral outcomes.
- Instruction and intervention is delivered utilizing evidence-based Best Practices and instructional fidelity is high.
- Progress monitoring provides information that allows teachers to better target student needs and appropriately match instruction, resources, and supports.
- Teams are focused on prevention to make data-based decisions that ensure all students are continuing to improve.
- Educators and families must work together to prevent poor outcomes for all students and ensure students have the tools to be successful.
- Everyone is involved in the process (parents, teachers, administrators, community members etc.).
Parents play a critical role in supporting what their children are learning in school. Research shows that the more parents are involved in student learning, the higher the student achievement. As with all aspects of education, parents play a major role in the MTSS process. Strong parent communication and active engagement in all steps of the process and in all decisions regarding adjustments to your student’s curriculum and needs will accelerate your child’s success.
- Frequently communicate with your child’s teacher(s).
- Attend school functions such as parent-teacher conferences.
- Monitor and assist with your child’s homework assignments.
- Find out what skills and knowledge your child is expected to learn.
- Attend team meetings. Remember the importance of your voice in your child’s education.
- Ask school team members the following questions:
- What are the targeted supports that my child’s school is using if he/she is struggling in the classroom?
- How will I be informed of the progress my child is making?
- What happens if my child is not making progress?
- Practice and reinforce any strategies or educational plans at home.
Additional information on MTSS