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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:

Tier 1
80-85% of students
On-grade-level students receive high-quality instruction and enrichment aligned to state standards
Tier 2
10-15% of students
Students showing slight deficits in specific areas receive targeted interventions beyond core instruction
Tier 3
3-5% of students
Students who have significant needs receive extended, intensive interventions within more targeted skill areas beyond core instruction

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


  • 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


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 InterventionTier 3 Intervention
Is provided in addition to tier 1 for those students who require additional assistance; advanced students should also receive targeted reinforcement and enrichment in addition to core instructionIs provided in addition to tier 1 for those students who require additional assistance for a longer duration than tier 2 and may include students who are 1.5 to 2 years behind grade level and require the most intensive interventions immediately
Features explicit and systematic high-quality interventions matched to students’ skill-based needsGives students daily, intensive, small-group or individual intervention, targeting specific skill-based areas of deficit
Required regular review of progress monitoring trends in conjunction with other dataMay include referral for special education, which may be determined when the data indicates that tier 3 is ineffective (parents should be invited to a meeting to discuss referral)

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.

Looking for more ideas to assist you when planning your intervention support? Take a look at this free resource, which includes an intervention support planner to help.

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