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Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)/Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII)

What is MTSS and RtII?

Pennsylvania has long established Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) as an optional guiding framework for comprehensive school improvement efforts, and through the PDE approval process an alternate method for identifying specific learning disabilities. While RtII (Response to Instruction and Intervention) is a familiar acronym in most schools, MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support) may be relatively new language. Pennsylvania will be supporting the transition from Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) to PA’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (PA-MTSS). Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is defined as a comprehensive system of supports that in the Commonwealth includes standards-aligned, culturally responsive and high quality core instruction, universal screening, data-based decision-making, tiered services and supports, parental engagement, central/building level leadership, professional development and use of RtII for SLD determination via PDE’s approval process.

Simply put, PA-MTSS represents a broad set of evidence-based practices that may be implemented across a system to include Academics AND Behavior within a recursive and systematic problem-solving process. PA-MTSS is intended to help ALL students meet with continual academic and behavioral success. PA Core Standards, MTSS and PA’s Educator Effectiveness System serve to connect what students should know and be able to do within the context of effective instruction/intervention using data-based decision-making. PA’s Educator Effectiveness System may be used as a mechanism to evaluate how well educators are bridging the what-how gap and target professional learning to help the field at large continue to evolve. Evidence associated with planning and preparation, the classroom environment, instruction and professional development and learning is naturally collected as a function of MTSS adoption and implementation.

Pennsylvania’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is defined as a comprehensive system of supports that in the commonwealth includes standards-aligned, culturally responsive and high quality core instruction, universal screening, data-based decision-making, tiered services and supports, family engagement, central/building level leadership, RtI/SLD determination and professional learning. Simply put, PA-MTSS represents a broad set of evidence-based practices that may be implemented across a system to include Academics AND Behavior within a recursive and systematic problem-solving process. PA-MTSS is relatively synonymous with RtI and is intended to help ALL students meet with continuous academic and behavioral success.

How was RtII defined?

Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) is an early intervening support process where the goal is to improve student achievement using research based interventions matched to the instructional need and level of the student. The core of RtII is the premise that ALL children can learn. In Pennsylvania, RtII carries dual meaning: first, it is a comprehensive, multi-­‐tiered, standards aligned strategy to enable early identification and intervention for students at academic or behavioral risk. Second, RtII is an alternative to the aptitude achievement discrepancy model for the identification of students. This strategy allows education professionals to identify and address academic and behavioral difficulties prior to student failure. Monitoring student response to a series of increasingly intense interventions assists in guiding instruction to prevent academic failure and provides data that may guide eligibility decisions for learning disabilities. In brief, RtII is:

  • A data-­‐driven model to enable early identification and strategic interventions for students at academic or behavioral risk
  • A multi-­‐level instructional framework aimed at improving instruction for ALL students
  • A shared, collaborative, decision-­‐making process among professional educators

Do our school still use RtII?

Yes. The tenets and strategies of RtII are now embedded with a larger system of school improvement. All of our students current operate what is known as a child study team to collect, analyze, and plan to address individual student needs in data-driven and collaborative manner.

Is MTSS/RtII utilized for English Language Learners?

Yes. The successful participation of English Learners within an MTSS/RtII framework begins with meaningful access to standards aligned high quality core instruction. Core instruction encompasses all core content areas, including English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. High-quality core instruction for diverse learners is informed by a competent classroom teacher who has a foundation in culturally and linguistically appropriate instruction. Opportunities to receive supplemental, increasingly differentiated instruction matched to student need have also been found to be helpful in closing the achievement gaps for ELs, particularly when the instructional focus, design and delivery are aligned and implemented with fidelity.

To ensure fidelity of RtII implementation relative to the needs of diverse learners, implementation efforts should include:

  • A systematic process for examining specific background variables such as first and second language proficiency, educational history including bilingual programming, immigration patterns, SES, and culture
  • Examination of the appropriateness of classroom instruction relative to individual student factors
  • Information on the development of English language proficiency based upon informal and formal assessments (ACCESS for ELs, W-APT)
  • Interpretation of assessment data using an interdisciplinary team that includes an ESL specialist
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration and alignment among instruction and intervention within and across Tiers 1, 2 and 3
  • Initiating and strengthening home-school-community partnerships within the context of culture and language

For more information on the district English Language Development Program at Upper Perkiomen School District, please visit the English Language Development Program page on our website.

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