There are 3 RtI tiers, or levels, that are designed to produce a positive school climate and address the needs of students at varying levels of development. All three levels require faithful and consistent implementation in order to be effective.
Tier 1 interventions are universal for all students and include high quality curricula, universal academic screeners, rules, systems and procedures, and other schoolwide strategies consistently implemented to support students. At this level of support, it is crucial that faculty and staff members use common language and practices around academics and behavior management to ensure the program’s effectiveness. When executed with fidelity, Tier 1 supports are successful with approximately 80% of all students.
Tier 2 supports include systems and strategies built to target a smaller contingent of students that are not responding consistently to Tier 1 supports. These students are more likely to not master introduced skills in a whole group setting and/or display behaviors that are detrimental to the school community as evidenced by behavior data collected by school personnel. Tier 2 supports include small group instruction or support groups with research-based curricula, check-in/check-out, peer or teacher mentors, and generalized behavior intervention plans. Assessment of the supports’ effectiveness over time determines whether a student requires further intervention of will continue with Tier 2 supports.
Tier 3 supports are personalized interventions designed for individual students that are performing significantly below grade level and/or demonstrate a consistent pattern of behavior severe enough that Tier 1 and 2 supports do not suffice. Tier 3 academic supports are provided either individually or in a leveled, small group of 6 or less students and uses research-based curricula to address skills at the student’s functional level rather than grade level. Tier 3 behavior supports begin with a Functional Behavior Assessment conducted by a social worker or other trained staff member to determine what problem behaviors require support. From that assessment, an individualized behavior intervention plan is created that provides supports, such as personalized student trackers, counseling sessions, structured breaks, and changes in daily schedule. Assessment and evaluation of Tier 3 supports should happen more frequently (daily or weekly) than other supports and should be used to determine whether a student is responding positively or if adjustments need to be made to the plan.