Unlocking Student Success: A Guide to Implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

by | Feb 10, 2023


As a school leader, you are concerned about the post-pandemic learning loss and meeting your school improvement performance targets. Some schools had a significant number of students who were already behind their same-age peers before the pandemic. Unfortunately, some students were impacted more than others, and we now find ourselves in the midst of another crisis which is to provide these students with additional support to narrow the achievement gap.


The achievement gap refers to the persistent disparities in academic performance and opportunities experienced by different student populations, particularly those from low-income and minority backgrounds. These disparities have short and long-term impacts on students, including lower academic achievement, reduced opportunities for higher education, and limited access to well-paying jobs.


One way to address the needs of students who are at risk is by using Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). MTSS is a framework for providing targeted, evidence-based interventions and support to students who need it most. It consists of three tiers of support, each of which provides increasing levels of intensity to meet the needs of students.


MTSS Tier 1

The first tier of MTSS is universal support, which is designed to provide all students with the necessary skills and resources to succeed academically and behaviorally. This tier might include classroom management strategies, positive behavior interventions, and evidence-based instructional practices.


 MTSS Tier 2

The second tier of MTSS is targeted support, which provides additional resources and interventions to students who are at risk of falling behind. This might include one-on-one or small group interventions, additional instructional support, and academic and behavioral progress monitoring.


MTSS Tier 3

The third tier of MTSS is intensive support, which is designed for students who are not making progress with targeted support. This tier might include individualized, intensive interventions such as special education services or behavioral therapy.


MTSS Implementation Process

The first step in the implementation process begins with teachers knowing how to collect and analyze data about their students’ performance and using that data to determine which students are at risk of falling behind. From there, teachers can develop a plan for providing targeted, evidence-based interventions and support to those students.


For example, a teacher might use tier-one support to provide all students with effective classroom management strategies and positive behavior interventions. For students who are struggling, the teacher might provide tier two support, such as one-on-one or small group tutoring, to help them improve their academic skills. For students who continue to struggle despite targeted support, the teacher might refer them for tier three support, such as special education services or behavioral therapy.


Data-Driven Decision Making

It is important to note that MTSS is not a one-size-fits-all approach and may look different in different classrooms. However, the key to its success is the use of data-driven decision-making to determine which interventions and supports are needed for each student. This helps to ensure that students receive the right level of support at the right time to help them succeed.


In conclusion, using MTSS to address the needs of students who are at risk can have a significant impact on their academic and behavioral outcomes. By providing universal, targeted, and intensive support, teachers can help to close the achievement gap and ensure that all students have the opportunity to reach their full potential.


Professional Development Training

At the Center for Student Achievement Solutions, we are thrilled to announce our upcoming training for school leaders and teachers! Learn how to close the achievement gap with Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). Get hands-on experience in a breakout session and take your teaching to the next level. Register now!