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Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework designed to ensure successful educational outcomes for ALL students. The MTSS “Umbrella” encompasses instruction and intervention for student academic and behavioral needs, but it also includes professional development opportunities and collaboration with communities and families to inform the development of structures, supports, and resources utilized within the school. A MTSS framework uses a data-based, problem-solving process to inform instruction and intervention across three tiers to increase the academic, behavioral, emotional, and life skills of students. Instruction and intervention within each tier are standards-aligned, data-informed, and research-based. The tiers represent increasingly intensive, supplemental interventions based on the academic and/or behavioral needs of each student. 

A graphic of a blue umbrella labeled with the words MTSS: Under the Umbrella. Below the umbrella are multiple images related to intervention and support for students, including multiple tiers, curriculum design, community collaboration, positive behavioral intervention and support , UDL, and others.

Data-Based Problem Solving

A successful MTSS framework requires the use of data to make informed decisions about student instruction and intervention at every level. This process is called Data-based problem solving and is utilized across content areas, grade-levels, and tiers. This process includes four steps:

  1. defining what students should know and be able to do (including comparisons  of expected and current levels of performance)
  2. identifying possible reasons why students are not meeting expectations
  3. developing and implementing a plan based on evidence-based strategies to address reasons why students are not meeting expectations
  4. evaluating the effectiveness of the plan (or student response to instruction/intervention)
Infographic with a yellow icon of a school building in the middle and four text boxes around the icon with arrows indicating a cycle. The infographic is titled Data-Based Problem solving. The text box above the icon is labeled Step 1: Goal Identification (Problem Identification) and reads What do we want students to know nd be able to do?. The box to the right of the icon is labeled Step 2: Problem analysis and reads Why i the problem occurring?. The textbox below the icon is labeled Step 3: Instructional/Intervention Design and reads What are we going to do to address the problem?. The text box to the left of the icon is labeled Step 4: Response to Intervention/Instruction (RtI) and reads Is our instruction/intervention working?.

Multi-Tiered Instruction and Intervention

Based on data, information, and decisions made in the Data-Based Problem Solving process, students can receive supports across all three tiers for both academics and behavior based on their individual needs. Tier 1 includes universal instruction and screening, Tier 2 provides targeted, data-driven and evidence-based interventions, and Tier 3 provides intensive, individual data-driven and evidence-based interventions. If students require intervention through Tier 2 and/or Tier 3, these interventions are always supplemental to strong Tier 1 instruction and support. That is, Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention does not replace Tier 1 instruction, but is provided in addition to it. See the individual pages on each of the Tiers for more information.

Image of three triangles overlapping on top o fone another. Below the triangles is a base rectangle which is labeled Building Partnerships with Families/Schools/Communities, Building Teacher Capacity, Strengthened Shared Leadership. The largest triangle on the bottom is labeled 1 Universal. The second triangle sits on top of the first and is labeled 2 Targeted. The Third triangle sits on top of the second and is labeled 3 Intensive. The words Academics and Behavior are visible on the edge of each of the triangles.