MTSS Framework

A Framework for Supporting All Students

A multi-tiered system of supports, or MTSS for short, is a framework for school improvement. This framework ensures that all students are supported for meeting academic, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes. All students means all students, including multilingual learners and students with disabilities. 

Student achievement belongs to everyone and will not be predicted by race, ethnicity, poverty, mobility, gender, disability or initial proficiencies.

Oregon Response to Intervention1

In a multi-tiered system of supports, all students have equitable access to strong, effective core instruction using high quality curriculum and differentiated instructional practices at Tier 1, evidence-based group interventions at Tier 2, and intensive, evidence-based interventions at Tier 3.  

Equity is a Tier 1 issue. Teams cannot address inequitable student outcomes (e.g., disproportionate rates of referrals and suspensions, chronic absenteeism, and achievement gaps) by providing only Tier 2 and 3 supports to students without addressing Tier 1 school improvement.

Practices, Data, and Systems

In the MTSS framework, we make frequent reference to Practices, Data, and Systems.  

are what the adults in the building do to help students be successful. Practices are evidence-based and culturally and linguistically responsive for the students you serve.

Data guide decision-making in the MTSS framework. Data are frequently collected and reviewed to assess the effectiveness of Tiers 1, 2, and 3 supports. From data, we can answer questions such as:
  • "What problem behaviors are we seeing most frequently, and where are they happening?" 
  • "Are we seeing higher rates of chronic absenteeism in particular subgroups?"
  • "Are our core math and reading curriculum and instruction helping our students meet benchmarks?"
  • "Are particular subgroups of students disproportionately less proficient on school-wide screening?"

Systems should be in place to support the adults in the building so that they can change their practices as needed in order to do the right thing for students. Adults need time, training, coaching, and materials to "do the right thing," and a MTSS framework ensures that they're getting what they need, as well as time to use the data for guidance. 
mtss "tattoo" of practices, data, and systems interlocking to support outcomes for all students

Not a Program

MTSS is not a program that you can buy. It's not a "one size fits all" solution to school improvement, like a list of practices that schools must do to be successful. It is a framework for thinking about how schools and districts can best support their students for success, and how they can support the adults to do their jobs well. It's a focus on continual improvement and problem solving guided by data. When a school or district begins developing their MTSS framework, it doesn't mean that schools and districts have to throw out what they're currently doing if it's working. It does mean taking a closer look at the areas that need improvement, and using that framework for adding evidence-based supports in those areas of need and continually monitoring improvement using data as our guide.

1 Oregon Response to Intervention. (2021, January 21).  “Instructional Improvement and Intervention Delivery: Equity, Inclusion, and Behavior/SEL” [webinar]. 

Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2021, 11:49 AM