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What is a Multi-Tiered System of Support?

MTSS begins with strong, culturally affirming core instruction using a guaranteed and viable curriculum, delivered with integrity. Core instruction provides every student the foundation for meeting essential learning outcomes at their grade and aims to meet the needs of 100% of students. By identifying areas in need of improvement in core instruction, MTSS can prevent more and more students from needing additional tier-level support. 

MTSS encompasses the whole child, and through the use of universal screeners and diagnostic assessments, the student’s academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs are identified. Additionally, MTSS goes beyond this to provide learning supports, enrichment opportunities, and interventions for the students identified as needing the appropriate tiered level support. 

Assessing the skills of every student is an essential component of effective MTSS and allows us to proactively identify who may need additional support in an area (e.g., reading, math, social-emotional skills, attendance, behavior). Students receive support (research-based, targeted instruction or intervention) matched both to their skills and level of need. Student progress is monitored closely to ensure that the additional support is helping.

If the skill gap has been resolved, additional support in that area is no longer required. If the skill gap doesn't improve, then the level of personalization increases, further problem-solving to understand why each student struggles, and to design a customized plan to support their needs in a defined and systematic way.

There is tremendous evidence supporting the power of an effective MTSS system to improve student outcomes for struggling learners, but there is also solidly convincing research that it improves student outcomes for EVERY learner. 

Adapted from Branching Minds: The Multi-Tiered System of Supports Ultimate Guide, 2023

Essential Components of MTSS | MTSS Center

Source: MTSS Center