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The Evolution of Intervention

Long-term weight loss is never accomplished through a crash diet; similarly, academic improvement is never accomplished through a temporary fix. Real change happens when action toward improvement is ongoing. Benchmarking and progress monitoring should be a consistent part of teachers’ and students’ lives. 

Over the years, Response to Intervention (RTI) has developed into a comprehensive “lifestyle” approach to student progress monitoring. In the beginning, RTI looked like the well-known Response to Intervention pyramid. This pyramid was divided into student tiers, where each tier received its own specialized intervention “diet.” Later, this structure began to incorporate not only academic intervention practices, but also behavioral intervention practices that influence student academics.

RTI Pyramid - Screening, Progress Monitoring, Multilevel Prevention System, Data-Based Decision Making

"Long-term weight loss is never accomplished through a crash diet; similarly, academic improvement is never accomplished through a temporary fix."

As RTI grew even more in scope and depth, intervention and support started to further incorporate the diverse needs of students. The RTI pyramid model morphed into a circle to represent ongoing student intervention, also known as Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS). In addition, the behavioral aspects of intervention came to include cultural awareness, evidence-based practices, and a multilevel prevention system that incorporated things such as a school’s community and MTSS technologies.

RTI versus MTSS

The terms RTI and MTSS are not interchangeable. It is important to understand that RTI fits within the MTSS framework. MTSS is a more extensive system of student intervention that involves not only a heightened community awareness but also a greater focus on prevention for all students, not just those who are struggling.


RtI (Response to Intervention)  

RTI focuses on providing high-quality instruction and intervention to struggling students, typically students in Tier 3. Assessment, progress monitoring, and data-driven decision making are all part of successful RtI implementation. RtI helps prevent students from going into Special Ed while challenging them within their specific instruction.


MTSS (Multi-Tier System of Supports)

RtI falls within the greater MTSS structure, which involves the entire school system in the intervention process. MTSS is multi-tier, meaning that it provides support to all students, from struggling students to advanced learners. MTSS makes sure resources such as technology tools, effective curriculum, and Professional Development A professional development team provides tools and training for Istation software and services. are provided to empower teachers, to support staff, and ultimately, to help students.

MTSS addresses not only students’ academic performance, but also their social, emotional, and behavioral development. It fosters increased collaboration between special and general education, as well as between the school district, teachers, and administrators. Finally, MTSS puts a greater emphasis on prevention than it does intervention.

MTSS Paradigm Shift - intervention for a FEW students to prevention/instruction for ALL students, identify which students need help to identifying what help each student, using the programs and people available to intentional design and redesign of services and supports matched to needs of students

The MTSS Umbrella

Various intervention models exist under MTSS, including RtI, RtI², and many more. Each district has its own MTSS/RTI model based on what works best for its community.

RTI² (Response to Intervention and Instruction) 

The RtI² framework is a component of core instruction that is three-pronged with student achievement at the center:

  1. Assessment alignment and transparency
  2. Instructional materials and curriculum
  3. Quality training and meaningful support

RTII (Response to Intervention and Instruction)

In general, RTII is a comprehensive three-tier standards-aligned strategy to enable early identification and intervention for students who may be at risk of academic or behavioral problems. The overarching goal of RTII is to improve student achievement using research-based interventions matched to the instructional need and level of each student.

RTII uses the prevention model to prevent academic and behavioral problems in schools. RTII is the intersection of two federal laws, NCLB and IDEA 200, and helps ensure that all students are proficient readers by the end of 3rd grade.

The MTSS Umbrella - RTI, RTII, RTI2, State/Local/Regional Interpretations

Defining Progress Monitoring

The Goal of Progress Monitoring

Progress monitoring is used to assess a student’s academic performance, to quantify a student’s rate of improvement or responsiveness to instruction, and to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. One can monitor the progress of individual students or an entire class.

When progress monitoring, it is important to ensure fidelity of implementation and to select evidence-based tools with regard to cultural and linguistic responsiveness and student strengths.

Goal of Progress Monitoring

Understanding Student Tiers

The Framework for Student Tier Organization

Student tiers help to deliver differentiated instruction to students based on their level of difficulty with particular subject matter. There are three tiers of instructional processes, although some models discuss a fourth tier and other models divide the tiers into smaller units.

The Tier 1 instructional program is identified with the core curriculum, which is typically aligned with state standards. This curriculum delivers instruction that has established known outcomes for general education. All students receive Tier 1 instruction, but students who are struggling with the core curriculum receive additional instruction at Tier 2 or Tier 3.

Tier 2 students fall below the expected levels of accomplishment (called benchmarks) and are at some risk of academic failure, but they are still above levels that indicate a high risk of failure. The needs of these students are identified through the assessment process, and instructional programs are delivered that focus on their specific needs. Instruction is provided in small groups instead of the larger classroom setting.

Tier 3 students are at high risk of failure. Students in Tier 3 are usually put into even smaller groups (three to five students). Some models use one-to-one instruction. Tier 3 includes students whose needs are at the intensive level.

Student Tier Framework - Tier 1 (above 40th percentile): high-quality instruction and behavior supports through general education, Tier 2 (21st to 40th percentile): targeted supplemental intervention in addition to and aligned with general education as needed, Tier 3 (below 20th percentile): Intensive, individualized intervention in addition to and aligned with general education as needed

Istation for Intervention

Istation focuses on differentiation for all students, not just intervention for struggling students. Our digital platform, acting as a supplemental tool for instructors, is well suited for the blended learning classroom. Istation also offers thousands of hours of easily accessible Teacher Resources for whole-group, small-group, and/or one-on-one intervention.

If you want to get the most out of your classroom intervention practices, optimize your efforts with effective blended learning support from Istation.

Istation’s computer-adaptive curriculum and assessments have the essentials schools need to personalize learning.

Istation’s all-inclusive essentials are currently helping over four million students grow!                                  

  • Adaptive Curriculum
  • Formative Assessment Designed to monitor student learning during instruction and to assist teachers in identifying student instructional needs, allows teachers to provide ongoing instruction aimed at improving student outcomes.
  • Teacher Resources
  • School and Home Connection
  • Personalized Data Profiles
  • Professional Development A professional development team provides tools and training for Istation software and services.
  • Proven Results
Student Success with MTSS - Problem-Solving Process, Data-Based Decision, Professional Development, Tiers of Support

Extending Learning Beyond the Classroom

Offering support to families in the community is a great way to bolster support for extending learning beyond the typical school day. Oak Grove Elementary School in Florida started doing this by connecting with students’ parents and working with local libraries to set up instructional time for extra practice. Providing parents access to educational resources in their homes and around the community accelerated literacy growth.

5 Ways to Strengthen Fidelity of Implementation

Istation’s Priority Reports show students’ strengths as well as the areas in which they need extra practice. These reports provide guidance when leading small groups or one-on-one interventions. There are teacher directed lessons (TDLs) associated with each skill shown on the Priority Report. Having these resources available can save time in gathering materials for intervention efforts.

Build Your Intervention Team With Istation


Blended Learning for Reading, Math and Spanish

Delivering powerful results while ensuring equity and reducing teacher workload, Istation’s educational technology meets the needs of all students – at school and at home. Contact us to learn how to build your intervention team with Istation.