SMART for Schools

What Is MTSS?

MTSS (RTI) is a Multi-Tiered System of Support for all students. MTSS includes both academic and behavior supports across three tiers of instruction.

The above graphic shows the 3 tiers with academic supports on the left and behavior on the right. MTSS works by setting up support mechanisms in each school that provide scientifically-based academic and behavior instruction for all students. One way to think about these supports is through the ABC's of MTSS:

MTSS - Academics includes scientifically-based core general education curricula in all academic areas. About 80% of students will succeed with this instruction alone. For those students who need additional support, Tier 2 instruction is added. Typically, Tier 2 involves students working in small groups with a teacher who focuses on the their specific learning needs. At Tier 2 student progress is monitored with regular (e.g., monthly or weekly) short assessments of how the student is doing. About 15% of all students will participate in Tier 2 and be successful. Eventually, the support will be faded back. For the small number of students (about 5%) who are still struggling even with Tier 1 plus Tier 2 instruction, Tier 3 provides very intensive support.  Tier 3 instruction is generally provided with one teacher working with one student at a time. Sometimes, Tier 3 instruction is added to Tiers 1 and 2. Other times, Tier 3 replaces Tiers 1 and 2 with a specific intensive program that requires two or more hours per day to implement. Students participating in Tier 3 intervention complete daily or weekly progress measures.

MTSS - Behavior includes scientifically-based general education social skills instruction and support. The most successful system of MTSS-B is called Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).  About 80% of students will demonstrate positive school behaviors with this instruction alone. For those students who need additional support, Tier 2 instruction is added. Typically, Tier 2 involves students working in small groups with a teacher to learn and practice specific positive behaviors and social skills. At Tier 2 student progress is monitored with regular (e.g., daily or weekly) short assessments of how the student is doing. About 15% of all students will participate in Tier 2 and learn the positive behaviors they need in school. Eventually the support will be faded back. For the small number of students (about 5%) who are still struggling even with Tier 1 plus Tier 2 instruction, Tier 3 provides very intensive support.  Tier 3 instruction is generally provided with one teacher working with one student at a time. Sometimes, Tier 3 instruction is added to Tiers 1 and 2. Other times, Tier 3 replaces Tiers 1 and 2 with a specific intensive program that requires two or more hours per day to implement. Students participating in Tier 3 intervention complete hourly or daily progress measures.

MTSS - Collaboration involves ongoing communication among the teachers and specialists who implement MTSS-A and MTSS-B. Both academics and behavior are equally important for student success and MTSS-C ensures that all the staff understand their part in fostering success for all students. MTSS-C happens through regular (weekly to monthly) meetings of building level teams that review student progress and consider if there are instructional changes that could be made at each Tier which would benefit all students.