Inside the Classroom

What’s Up With… RTI/MTSS?

There’s a wide range of instructional models and frameworks that districts can refer to when forming their curriculum, classes, and programs. But the foundation of any instructional choice should always be focused on helping each and every student in the classroom. Two frameworks in particular, RTI (Response to Intervention) and MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports), are commonly used because they both help educators identify the needs of each student and provide appropriate support systems. Here we’ll explain what exactly these two frameworks consist of and how they can help ensure you’re meeting the needs of all your students.

When it comes to instruction and academic support in the RTI and MTSS frameworks, you need a program that’s built using an instructional model grounded in research. And in order to monitor student progress effectively, you need detailed data reports that help teachers identify areas of difficulty, address misconceptions, and make informed instructional decisions.

In Tier I, online instruction should complement classroom instruction for all students, and you should be able to identify students who are struggling.

In Tier II, struggling students should receive targeted intervention, instruction, and support, including their own learning paths that address their specific skill gaps. Progress monitoring in Tier II helps teachers pull together students with similar needs for additional small-group tutoring and support.

If data reveals that students are still struggling in Tier II, they may need more intensive instruction or an individualized form of intervention in Tier III.

Additionally, in line with MTSS’s focus on extensive support for both students and educators, you need a highly qualified support team and customizable professional development that puts your students’ needs first. To form a truly unified support team, collaborators outside of the classroom—such as parents, guardians, tutors, and mentors—should also be in the know regarding student progress and achievement.

Regardless of whether a district implements the three specific tiers of RTI or utilizes a different multi-tiered framework, supporting students’ academic and behavioral development in an integrated way should be at the core of decision-making. The goal is always to meet the needs of all learners.

Share these slides with educators and parents.


A parent’s guide to response to intervention (RTI). (2011). National Center for Learning Disabilities. Retrieved from

Essential components of RTI – A closer look at response to intervention. (2010). National Center on Response to Intervention. Retrieved from

Hurst, S. (2014). What is the difference between RTI and MTSS? Reading Horizons. Retrieved from

Samuels, C. A. (2016). What are multitiered systems of support? Education Week. Retrieved from

About the Author


Ashleigh Lutz

Ashleigh graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. She spent over three years in higher education developing resources and helping students succeed in online courses. During her tenure at Edgenuity, Ashleigh was eager to support Where Learning Clicks and the team’s commitment to helping teachers and students meet important goals and explore their passions. In addition to writing, a few of Ashleigh’s favorite things include rock climbing, chocolate, and cats.