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Tier 1: Core Instruction and Prevention for Academic Needs

What is it?

Tier 1 includes the core instruction that is accessible to all students. It is comprised of standards-driven, research and evidence-based curriculum, resources, assessments, and practices. Effective instruction within Tier 1 is developed using the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and implements differentiation to meet the specific needs of all students. Strong Tier 1 instruction ensures the majority of students (80% or more) can reach established academic benchmarks without additional intervention. A comprehensive professional development program, established professional learning communities (PLCs), and invested administrative and instructional leadership are critical to implementing quality core instruction at Tier 1.

Universal screening for students is integral to a MTSS and is an essential component of Tier 1. Universal screening through benchmark, criterion-references, and/or classroom-based measures provide critical data for making decisions about instruction at this tier and developing targeted and individualized interventions for Tier 2 and Tier 3. 

Infographic of MTSS 3 Tiers of Instruction and Intervention with three stacked and overlapping triangles. The first and largest triangle on the bottom is labeled 1 Universal and is highlighted. Above the triangle is a text box which reads Tier 1: Universal - all students received instruction within an evidence-based scientifically researched core program and curriculum aligned with state standards. Universal screening is used to assess all students based on set academic expectations and results are used to inform instruction and intervention. The edge of the triangle is labeled Academics and Behavior to emphasize instruction may address academics and/or behavior.