Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS)

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

A Parent’s Guide to

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

What is Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)?

MTSS in Pennsylvania represents a broad set of evidence-based practices that a school may implement to include academics AND behavior within an ongoing systematic problem-solving process. PA-MTSS is intended to help ALL students meet continual academic and behavioral success.

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is defined as a comprehensive system of supports that in Pennsylvania includes:

  • standards-aligned, culturally responsive, high quality core instruction

  • universal screening

  • data-based decision-making

  • tiered services and supports (more on this below)

  • parental engagement

  • central/building level leadership

  • professional development

A Three-Tier Model of Supports – Academic Systems

At all stages of the MTSS process, the focus is on discovering how to make the student more successful rather than focusing on the student’s lack of success.

Tier 1: Core Instruction(All Students) – Evidence-based core curriculum and instruction is differentiated based on data and provided to ALL students in the general education classroom. Benchmark assessments are given 3x per year.  (Students whose scores are well above a certain benchmark cut-off are considered for possible enrichment during I/E time).

Tier 2: Strategic Interventions- Students who are not making expected progress in Tier 1 are provided with research-based interventions in addition to core instruction. This additional instruction is delivered in a small group (4-8 students), usually by someone other than the classroom teacher.  Student progress is continually monitored.

Tier 3: Intensive Interventions- Designed for students who are significantly behind established grade-level benchmarks and are not making adequate progress in Tier 2. Intensive intervention is provided each day by someone other than the classroom teacher in small groups of 1-3 students.  Student progress is continually monitored.

Tiered Services and Supports – Behavioral Systems

Behavioral supports are addressed in a similar manner to academic supports in the MTSS model:

Tier 1: Universal Behavioral Programs -Tier 1 represents school-wide behavioral initiatives.  This is the primary level of prevention, and it involves setting school-wide expectations and interventions for student behavior.   Typically, 80 percent of students will be successful with Tier 1 interventions solidly in place.  

Tier 2: Strategic Interventions- Tier 2 represents interventions for about 15 percent of students—those who need a bit more assistance beyond the school-wide interventions.  Tier 2 interventions are designed for students who have received two to five discipline referrals for behavioral issues.

Tier 3: Intensive Interventions- Tier 3 reflects the most intensive interventions for students with the highest level of need.  Generally, Tier 3 interventions are used with about 5 percent of the school population.  The students at Tier 3 require focused one-on-one interventions to learn expected school behaviors.