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

Oct 23, 2023
Tiered Intervention with Proven Programs

Going into the school year without an effective intervention plan is like taking the field without a game plan. It likely won’t end well. While this year’s intervention game plan probably threw you more than one curve ball, it’s not too late to get your approach back on track. Chances are that your school or district subscribes to one of the two most common models—response to intervention (RTI) or multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS)—but whatever flavor of intervention is chosen, there are some common factors to consider that will ensure a successful implementation.

As a quick reminder, a typical tiered intervention model breaks down like this:

The experience of the last few years has probably tipped the scales on these percentages a bit, but nonetheless, this is a great place to start. 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 language 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 assigning students with 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
  • Pedagogically sound curriculum built specifically to state standards
  • Rigorous skills-based curriculum to support remediation and reteaching
  • Flexible grouping options to support quicker, easier creation of similar-ability groups to guide targeted instruction
  • Formative assessment options to support data-driven instructional best practices
  • Standards- and skills-based reporting to track progress and mastery 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)

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

Identify a Program Partner That Can Offer:
  • Adaptive diagnostic assessments that pinpoint strengths and weaknesses down to the discrete skill level across subjects and grade bands
  • Valid measures of academic growth and grade-level proficiency 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 remediation to aid struggling learners as needed
  • Real-time teacher notifications with direction as to where students require additional support or intervention
  • Detailed student summary reports to monitor the entire academic experience and effectively communicate with stakeholders and families
  • Virtual instructor led small-group high impact tutoring for intensive intervention needs

Navigating the tiered intervention process can be time intensive and painstaking. 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 all students on their educational journey. Interested in learning more about our programs? See what Edmentum can provide for your school or district.

This post was originally published October 2018 and has been updated.

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