Tiered Support

Multi-leveled support can be viewed as layers or tiers of increasingly intense intervention that respond to student-specific needs. While RtI models are commonly and graphically illustrated as a 3-tiered pyramid, the number of tiers or levels will vary depending upon resources available. Information regarding multi-level support can be filtered by specific tier and/or level.


Considering Tier 3 Within a Response-to-Intervention Model

Ervin, R. A. (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Tier 3 in an RtI framework is intended for students who are not responding to core instruction or supplemental interventions at Tier 2. This article details considerations within Tier 3 and three questions to ask about the student, strategies, available resources, and outcomes of interventions.

This article contains tips and strategies for motivating reluctant readers. The article provides helpful insights to encourage independence and engagement with reading.  This resource comes from the Education Northwest website.  For more information, please visit: http://educationnorthwest.org

Article that discusses the preventative measures an RtI model would have on learning difficulties in literacy for struggling students. Torgesen suggests that early intervention would have strong effects on reading comprehension, vocabulary, oral language ability and other essential literacy areas. Also provides data from FCAT (Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test) which assesses word knowledge, conceptual understanding and interference skills from third to tenth grade. Torgesen explains that mastery of these three skills have a link to comprehension ability in older students.

Discusses a rationale for RtI in secondary education, including using preventative measures in literacy to avoid failure in other academic areas. Lists four myths that must be clarified in order for an RtI process to work at this level. Also poses possible opportunities and challenges an RtI approach may have on middle, junior, and high school. Includes a chart of questions to be asked about a school’s RtI approach with responses that demonstrate signs of readiness.

Online article that discusses the outcomes of an RtI implementation project in Berkley Springs High School, West Virginia. Thirty students were chosen based on literacy assessment scores and reading levels to participate in this study. The project focused on tracking improvements made in each of the three tiered levels. Based on the data all tiers showed some improvement. However, students given intensive, specialized instruction at tiers II and III made the most gains in fluency, comprehension and word identification. Other implications and suggestions for further adjustments on RtI at secondary level are briefly discussed at the end of the article.

Scientifically Based Research

NCREL Learning Points Associates

An eight-page booklet outlining criteria that enable school personnel to evaluate evidence of effectiveness of instructional practices/strategies. List specific characteristics associated with scientifically based research (SBR) along with guiding questions that can be used to evaluate SBR. A glossary of common research terms is also provided

A brief article that defines SBR and describes its historical roots. Explains in detail criteria used to distinguish whether programs or instruction is SBR. Also discusses implications of SBR for school personnel whose responsibility involves selection of program and practices supported by SBR.

A ten-page booklet that provides an overview of scientifically based research (SBR). The booklet begins with a definition of SBR based on the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, followed by a series of questions teachers can use to help them determine if a particular instructional practice or strategy meets established standards for SBR


A high school teacher’s account of RtI in her classroom.  RtI is explained and the process which took place in the four main components of RtI: Universal Screening, progress monitoring, intervention, and fidelity of implementation.  This brief also discusses the importance of collaboration in RtI and the challenges that may arise at the secondary level.   

Guidance Documents

Designing and Delivering Intensive Interventions: A Teacher Toolkit

Murray, C.S., Coleman, M., Vaughn, S., Wanzek, J., Roberts, G. (2012)

A practice guide published by The Center on Instruction. It presents activities and resources to help school personnel construct and implement reading and mathematics interventions for students in grades k-12.

Guide developed by the U.S. Department of Education to help educators determine whether a program, intervention or instructional practice meets the SBR criteria established in NCLB (2002). Discusses how to evaluate interventions for effectiveness. The guide also breaks down the elements of research studies to conclude whether they are truly considered SBR.

Power Point Presentations

RTI at the Secondary Level: How Do We Do This?

Engeln, J., Ehrn, B., & Kelly, T.

In this presentation for the 2009 NASSP Convention, there is a section on the changing roles of professionals. Each major role is outlined with brief descriptions on what responsibilities that person would have within the RtI model. The presentation also depicts why there needs to be a balance rather than an over reliance in roles.



scroll down and click on “NASSP Convention Handout”


Selecting Evidence-Based Tools and Programs for Implementing Response-to-Intervention

National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI) – Presented by Dr. Allison Gandhi (2010)

This webinar provides an overview of the screening, progress monitoring, and instructional tools charts provided on the NCRTI website. The presenter walks through the process that teams can use when selecting an appropriate tool and what to think about when determining the actions your school/district will take when implementing RtI. Discussions about how to use the results to inform decisions about what your logistical needs and priorities are for your school/district; e.g. materials, space, time, LEP students, funds.


The Florida Center for Reading Research (FRCC) provides useful information school based programs and interventions. It provides summaries of these programs and evaluates each one against criteria established by the NCLB (2002) on scientifically based research. The FRCC published a series of reports that provides a summary of instructional programs and interventions school districts are interested in using at various tiers with the RtI process.

A website that provides summarizes of programs and practices for children that have positive outcomes. Reviews and posts outcomes associated with efficacy studies of a variety of programs targeting education, family, and community. The site links research articles with programs, and also provides video clips, resources and tools, and an option to submit programs for review.

Created by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education, the Best Evidence Encyclopedia, commonly referred to as the “BEE,” is a free website offering summaries of scientific reviews. Each study is evaluated by a set of criteria which was created to determine the strength of the research. The BEE is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (I.E.S.).

Established in 2002, through an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science, its chief function is to assess the rigor of research evidence regarding interventions and programs used in schools. The website provides a set of guides that summarizes and rates the effectives of various curricula/programs using criteria established by NCLB (2002) on SBR.

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