Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

  • Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a multi-tiered approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and social-emotional needs. The MTSS process begins with high-quality instruction and the universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. These services may be provided by a variety of personnel, including general education teachers, special educators, and specialists. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and the level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on the individual student’s response to instruction. MTSS is designed to inform decisions in both general education and special education, creating a well-integrated system of instruction and intervention guided by child outcome data.

    A multi-tiered system consists of three levels, commonly referred to as Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III. Tiers may be differentiated on several dimensions, i.e., the intensity of the instruction, the frequency of delivery, and the level of progress monitoring. At Tier I, all students receive instruction within an evidence-based, scientifically researched core program. Tier II provides supplemental interventions for students whose skills fall below grade level standards. Students in Tier III require an even more intensive, individualized instructional delivery model in order to progress academically.

    Progress monitoring is a process used to assess students’ academic performance, to quantify students’ rates of improvement (or responsiveness to instruction), and to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. To implement progress monitoring, the student’s current levels of performance are determined and goals are established for learning that will take place over time. The student’s academic performance is then measured on a regular basis (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly). Progress toward meeting the student’s goal is measured by comparing expected and actual rates of learning. These measurements help inform and adjust the instruction delivered to the student.

    Data analysis and decision making occur at all levels of MTSS implementation and instruction. Teams use screening and progress monitoring data to make decisions about instruction, movement within the multi-tiered system, and disability identification (in accordance with Illinois state law).