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Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

The CPS Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework that guides schools and teachers to provide appropriate instruction and interventions to ensure all students receive the education and supports they need to be successful in school.

Meeting the needs of all students

MTSS is a continuous process that is applicable to all students, ranging from Tier 1 interventions for the general student population through Tier 3 for individual students. MTSS incorporates performance data and progress monitoring to inform evidence-based decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions.

When interventions don’t lead to improved outcomes, the school or the student’s parents or guardian may initiate a request for a special education evaluation.

Intensive Individualized Instruction and Intervention Targeted Supplemental Instruction and Intervention Care Instruction and Supports 3 2 1

Figure: MTSS Tiers

A fundamental concept of MTSS is that all students receive core academic and behavioral supports, and additional targeted instruction and interventions are provided to students as needed, based on a continuous review of the child’s performance; root cause analysis of problem areas; and refinements to strategies, supports and interventions to address what is not working.

Tiers of academic and behavioral instruction and supports

Tier 1

Core Instruction and Supports
General academic and behavioral support, differentiated for all students in a general education setting.

Tier 2

Targeted Supplemental Instruction and Intervention
More focused, targeted instruction, interventions, and supplemental supports, provided in a general education setting (in addition to Tier 1).

Tier 3

Intensive Individualized Instruction and Intervention
The most intense instruction and intervention that is made available and provided in a small group general education setting.

Determining the appropriate tier of support/intervention:

  • Step 1

    • Teacher (or parent, administrator, or counselor) recognizes a consistent need exhibited by the student.
    • Discrepancy in the student’s academic, social/emotional, behavioral, and/or physical ability may signal the need for additional academic or behavioral supports.
  • Step 2

    • School-level team will engage in the problem-solving process to determine the root cause.
  • Step 3

    • School-level team will strategize and develop a cooperative plan that includes tiered interventions to close the gap for the student.

Implementation of additional tiered support

Typically students will be identified by school-level teams and have alternative education strategies implemented prior to referral for special education assessments, unless a disability is clearly suspected. Intervention teams usually consist of the teacher, an administrator, and/or other general education teachers. Effective interventions are:

  • Research or evidence-based
  • Engaging and delivered with high quality instruction

Frequent monitoring of progress and application of student response data to determine further educational and behavioral decisions must also be included.

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