Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

A Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) in Academics relies on multiple tiers of instruction that work together as a safety net to prevent school failure. The critical features of this school-wide framework include:

Assessments: A system of assessments to screen, monitor the progress of and provide summative data about students.

High-quality, evidence-based instruction
for students that may happen at multiple levels.

Core instruction:
All students receive core instruction as part of the general curriculum. It must be standards based, of high quality and delivered with fidelity to increase the likelihood that the majority of students in a class are making progress and can become proficient in grade-level standards by the end of the school year.

Tier 2
or supplemental interventions: a second level of supports for students who are not on track to be proficient.

Data-based decision making:
School leaders and teachers use data obtained through the MTSS framework process to improve organizational supports and instruction and to make decisions about students at risk of not meeting grade-level expectations.

Effective implementation of the MTSS framework ensures that all students receive evidence-based instruction that leads to proficiency in the academic areas to which it is applied. In Minnesota, there are three related statutes supporting districts’ use of the critical features of MTSS:

  1. Reading Proficiently No Later Than the End of Grade 3 (Minn. Stat. § 120B.12).
  2. Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services (Minn. Stat. § 125A.50).
  3. Alternate Instruction Required Before Assessment Referral (Minn. Stat. § 125A.56).
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) advocates the use of MTSS to increase the number of students meeting grade-level standards and graduating with skills for further education and work careers. The majority of MDE’s work with MTSS is connected to implementing the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards with fidelity and building additional intervention supports to increase student achievement for all students.

Evaluation and Implementation Projects
The state continues to collect and report progress in adopting and implementing MTSS and the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in English Language Arts. The Wilder Research Group will be administering the 2017 MTSS and Standards Implementation Survey. Principals will receive the invitation to complete the survey starting February 1, 2017. Reports summarizing state-wide implementation in past years are available below.

Measuring Fidelity of MTSS
In 2016, MDE launched an action research project with four districts piloting a fidelity of implementation tool for Math and Reading. Minnesota adapted the Tiered Fidelity Inventory from Michigan. This work is focused on systematically measuring changes in achievement and action planning strategies that increase fidelity of the multi-tiered instructional supports at the school and district level. For more information on this project contact us.

Community of Practice

Minnesota hosts an active community learning how to build and sustain implementation of MTSS at the local, district, regional, and state level. Community members come together as learners to share inspiration, insight and lessons learned and to solve problems. The community develops shared resources, experiences, stories, tools, and ways of addressing implementation challenges; applies collective knowledge to improve practice, inform policy decisions, and develop technical guidance so more community members can get started and get better; and provides positive examples for schools at earlier stages of implementation. Contact us to join this community of practice.