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Tiered Service Delivery

What Is A Tiered Service Delivery Model?
An RTI approach incorporates a multi-tiered model of educational service delivery. Each tier represents increasingly intense services that are associated with increasing levels of learner needs. The various tier interventions are designed to provide a set of curricular/instructional processes aimed at improving student response to instruction and student outcomes.

Why Is A Tiered Service Model Important?
RTI practices use efficient, needs-driven, resource deployment systems to match instructional resources with student need. Instruction in the schools must be differentiated in both nature and intensity, to achieve high rates of student success for all students. Tiered models of service delivery are used to efficiently differentiate instruction for all students.

What Would Schools Consider?
In Tier I, primary supports and interventions represent the universal level of service delivery. Tier I is designed to serve all students in the school with well-supported instructional programs. Tier I interventions are intended to be proactive and preventive.  This means that the core foundation of curriculum, instruction, and school organization increases the likelihood of improved student achievement and success for all students.
In Tier I, general educators take an active role in the screening, identification, and intervention processes of students judged as at-risk or not meeting adequate progress.  Close collaboration will promote a more seamless system of service provision that will strengthen both the delivery of high quality interventions for all students and the reliability of the disability identification process.

Tier II and beyond represents a critical juncture in the RTI process. In conjunction with the core instruction at Tier I, Tier II provides additional timely and evidenced based instructional strategies to at-risk students and can be the defining factor for successful participation in the general education curriculum.

Tier II and beyond interventions will require significant changes to most school structures.  Specifically, schools will need to do the following: adopt progress monitoring and screening measures to identify students at-risk; identify and implement scientifically-based academic and behavior interventions; implement effective professional development to support small group instruction and other interventions; and adopt a system of continued progress monitoring and criteria for continuation or exit from the current Tier.

Tier III is considered the most intensive interventions available. Recent research has suggested that the most productive model for improving outcomes for students with intensive academic and/or behavioral needs is one in which students’ instructional gaps are identified, progress relative to the gaps is monitored, and explicit and intensive instruction is provided.
This tertiary level of support and interventions represents an integral step in a multi-tiered model such as RTI, rather than a last stop or destination for a student who is experiencing academic or behavioral problems.  Specialized programming becomes necessary for the student to benefit from his or her educational experience. Ideally, this tier is structured to provide flexible service, systematically permitting a student to move in and out of tertiary support as his or her needs change relative to the demands of the general education curriculum.

School staff should work collaboratively in planning and delivering interventions. A seamless system occurs when there is alignment of principles, services, assessments, pre-service training and professional development. The roles and responsibilities of various staff members will depend on the methods adopted by a school or district and the available staff. The literature suggests that by differentiating instruction, all students can benefit from instruction. For those students who are not as responsive as desired, one must carefully consider all of the options available, such as including changes in targeted outcomes, more intensive interventions, or alternative placements.


3-tiered intervention model

Links related to Tiered-Intervention
Preventing Reading Difficulties: A Three-Tiered Intervention Model






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North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
Kirsten Baesler, State Superintendent
600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 201
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0440

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