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

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

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

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

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 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
  • Standards-based curriculum built specifically for state standards
  • Rigorous skills-based curriculum to support remediation and reteach
  • 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)

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
  • 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 aid 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 families
  • Easy-to-find supplementary resources to augment small-group and 1:1 intervention

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 every student on his or her individual college and career readiness journey. Interested in learning more about our digital curriculum and high-quality assessments? See what Edmentum can provide for your school or district.

madison.michell's picture
Madison Michell

Madison Michell has been a member of the Edmentum team since 2014 and currently serves as a Marketing Manager. As a former Kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher during her time as a Teach For America corps member, she believes education truly has the power to transform lives. She is passionate about connecting educators with online programs, best practices, and research that improve teaching and learning for today's students.