Tiered Intervention: Supporting Tier 1, 2, and 3 Students with Successful Programs

Across the globe, educators are committed to providing early intervention to address deficits in student learning before they ever have a chance to widen. Whether your school subscribes to one of the more common response to intervention (RTI) models or multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) models or finds one of the many other types of intervention to be the right fit, there are some common factors to consider that will ensure a successful program. When thinking about a new school year, it’s important that you are well equipped with proven program options to help meet the level of support each tier requires.

A typical tiered intervention model break down looks like this:

Tiered Intervention Table

Specifically, each instructional tier also includes a more nuanced set of expectations and procedures that are often required to meet student needs. Let’s dig into some of the additional characteristics of each tier and evaluate aligned program qualities you should be looking for to drive your success in your intervention program.

Tier 1 Instruction

Expectations:

  • Is suitable for the entire range of learners—including students identified with disabilities, students identified as gifted, and English learners—and ensures that students are active participants.
  • Provides a scaffolded model of grade-level rigor aligned to standards, taught in a balanced and integrated manner that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the strands, and students should be given regular opportunities to apply and connect standards in a range of ways.
  • Reteaches and remediates standards to any and all students who are struggling with core concepts
  • Includes instruction in both whole-group and small-group settings, and educators make decisions about instructional groupings strategically.
  • Is focused on advancing student learning through differentiation: educators should avoid giving one-size-fits-all assignments and giving students tasks they’ve already mastered.
  • Utilizes ongoing assessments of student learning from multiple sources that help track both individual and group performance to support differentiated tier 1 instruction.

Identify a Program Partner That Can Offer:

  • An initial screener or benchmark assessment to help quickly inform instructional investments.
  • Standards-based curriculum built specifically for state standards.
  • Rigorous skills-based curriculum to support remediation and reteaching.
  • Flexible grouping options to support quicker, easier creation of similar-ability groups for more targeted instruction.
  • Formative assessment options to support data-driven instructional best practices.
  • Standards and skills-based reporting to track progress day-to-day.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 Intervention

Expectations:

There are many similar themes for both tier 2 and tier 3 interventions.

  • Offers scientifically research-based interventions that produce reliable and valid results.
  • Is provided by highly trained personnel—when possible, qualified, certified teachers.
  • Must show a rate of improvement greater than that of a typical student in order to “close the gap” and return to grade-level academic performance.
  • Should administer progress monitoring, in the form of regular probes, at a student’s skill or instructional level at least every other week (computer-based assessments are appropriate).

Subtle differences within each of these instructional tiers are noted in the table below.

Tier 2 and 3 Intervention Table

Identify a Program Partner That Can Offer:

  • Adaptive diagnostic assessments that pinpoint strengths and weaknesses down to the discrete skill level.
  • Valid measures of academic growth between each assessment administration to effectively track performance.
  • Rigorous skills-based curriculum to close underlying foundational gaps in learning.
  • Dynamic instructional support that includes automated building blocks to help struggling learners as needed.
  • Real-time teacher notifications when students require additional support or intervention.
  • Detailed student summary reports to monitor the entire academic experience and effectively relay information to stakeholders and parents.
  • Readily available supplementary resources to augment small-group and 1:1 intervention.

Navigating the tiered intervention process can be time-intensive and at times, challenging. Ensure that you have a program partner in place who provides trusted options, coupled with quality consulting, to work alongside you on your path toward intervention success. At Edmentum, we believe in supporting every student on their individual learning journey. Interested in finding out more about our digital curriculum and high-quality assessments?

See what Edmentum International can provide for your school.

The Transition Back to the Classroom – How Can You Support Your Students Using Tiered Intervention?

The Covid-19 pandemic has of course been challenging for educators and students. Despite the seemingly continual threat of new variants and uncertainty, the vaccine rollout and social distancing measures have enabled more and more schools to transition back into a classroom setting. This is being approached in different ways, from going back to the classroom full-time to a phased return, with a more blended approach.

As the shift to face-to-face learning commences, educators are faced with the challenge of ensuring that timely responses to intervention are being offered to those students who are at some level of risk for not meeting academic expectations. Generally, within a school setting, there will be set protocols and processes in place when dealing with tiered intervention practices within the classroom. However, with the uncertain times, the pandemic has presented to us, schools have been forced to send students home for distance or hybrid learning.

As many schools across the world are now beginning to welcome students back into the physical classroom, we ask how can teachers ensure their tiered intervention approaches are remaining effective across each status of learning? And what challenges are presented to educators regarding Response to Intervention (RTI) when transitioning from distance learning back to face-to-face learning?

At the foundation of any RTI model is the use of tiered instructional processes. Although the assessment components of RTI (universal screening and progress monitoring) are essential elements of implementation, it is the instruction that occurs as a function of the outcomes of the assessments that truly drives the changes that educators hope to see in students who are identified as being at some level of risk for not meeting academic expectations. Tiered instruction represents a model in which the instruction delivered to students varies, which are related to the nature and severity of the student’s difficulties.

Distance and Hybrid Learning

Educators teaching students through distance or hybrid learning will be confronted with several challenges.

  • Ensuring that the delivery of the Tier 1 core material is being presented sufficiently to all students.
  • Making sure that students who are not fully responsive to the Tier 1 content delivery receive proper instruction and time spent reviewing areas where they do not meet the expectations.
  • Establishing time to meet 1:1 with Tier 3 students and ensure that their special support staff are also joining the RTI to meet these students’ needs.
  • Having adequate standard-aligned assessments to monitor the progress of students, particularly those in Tier 2/3.

Face-to-face Classroom Learning

Educators teaching students who have just returned to school from distance or hybrid learning face the following challenges.

  • Having adequate standard-aligned assessments to monitor the progress of students, especially those in Tier 2/3.
  • Delivering adequate standard-aligned benchmark assessments to gauge the student content retention levels throughout the distance or hybrid learning period.  

Another challenge to consider, which is always applicable to tiered intervention in any setting is the overarching time pressure educators have, in order to give their full attention to all students in equal measure.

What Intervention Solutions Are There?

How can tiered intervention practices and RTI processes support teachers throughout this transition, and in general?

Having a robust process in place for supporting students within different Tier levels to ensure the safeguarding of student learning and academic progress is critical, now more than ever. By implementing a secure plan for targeting students who are at risk of not meeting academic expectations, educators can ensure that their students are receiving a high degree of instruction in class all together, but also that their Tier 2 and 3 students are receiving the small group, 1:1 support and differentiated instruction that they need.

Assessments and progress monitoring will be essential during this time of transition to enable educators to easily pinpoint skills that have not been mastered by students and place them in the appropriate tier levels as needed. In turn, they can monitor the upper Tier level students regularly to bring them back down to Tier 1 when it is appropriate.

This article, published in the Children and Youth Services Review, recommends that low-stakes academic assignments should be taken during the initial re-entry period as students re-adjust to life post-covid. Low-stakes academic assignments are often frequent and formative in nature. Examples of low-stake assignments include short quizzes, reading journals, and in-class problem-solving.


Navigating the tiered intervention process can be time-intensive. At Edmentum International, our integrated digital curriculum and assessment solutions cater to the many teaching and learning needs in and out of the classroom. We ensure that every student can experience growth and a truly personalized learning experience. Are you interested in learning more about our digital curriculum and high-quality assessments? See what Edmentum International can provide for your school.


This blog was written by Meghan Edwards, Customer Service & Implementation Specialist, who joined Edmentum International in 2020. As a former teacher for several years, Meghan brings a wealth of educational knowledge and experience to her role.