What is Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)?
A Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a term used to describe an evidence-based framework that utilizes data-based problem solving to integrate academic and behavioral instruction and intervention. The framework is designed to provide all students with the best opportunities to succeed academically and behaviorally in school. MTSS focuses on providing high quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals. Data are used to allocate resources to improve student learning and support staff implementation of effective practices.
MTSS is a systemic approach:
•All students will be part of strong initial instruction
•Even with strong initial instruction, some students will need targeted support to be successful
•Even with strong initial instruction, a few students will need intensive support to be successful
MTSS Is . . .
- A process designed to maximize student achievement
- A method to deliver effective interventions earlier and efficiently
- Focused on outcomes
- About student progress
MTSS Is NOT . . .
- A way to delay services to students
- A way to avoid special education placement
- A hoop to jump through to ensure special education placement
Instruction and intervention across multiple tiers has been an integral part of Response to Intervention (RtI), a term often used interchangeably with MTSS.
Since the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 the term Response to Intervention (RtI) has become a buzz word within education. RtI is built upon a broad research base resulting in multiple models with the common features of (1) multiple tiers of intervention service delivery, (2) problem‐solving method, and (3) data collection/assessment to inform decisions at each tier of service delivery (National Association of State Directors of Special Education, 2006). It is not uncommon to hear the term RtI and Multi‐Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) used interchangeably. However, in many instances the meaning applied to RtI does not align with the principles and practices of a MTSS. The principles and practices of a MTSS are based upon what research has shown to be effective in both creating successful and sustainable systems change as well as what is necessary in providing the most effective instruction to all students. The MTSS framework is designed to address the academic and behavioral needs of all students, regardless of whether the students are struggling or have advanced learning needs.