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MTSS

MTSS Is . . .

  • A process designed to maximize student achievement
  • A method to deliver effective interventions earlier and efficiently
  • Focused on outcomes
  • About student progress

Critical Components of MTSS

Evidenced Based Practices

Multi-Tiered System of Supports

A multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) is a framework for providing appropriate instruction and intervention for all students in a school system. Schools implementing MTSS utilize a problem-solving process to address problems at various levels including whole-school, grade- or department-level, classroom, or individual student problems. MTSS includes three levels, or tiers, of support that represent increasing intensity and individualization in the instruction and intervention provided. It is a framework that applies to academic areas (e.g., literacy, math) as well as behavior. When applied to behavior, it is typically known as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

PBIS pillars of support

PBIS

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) includes four pillars:

  1. Establish expectations (school-wide as well as classroom level expectations)
  2. Explicitly teach expectations to all students and staff 
  3. Reinforce students for following expectations
  4. Correct (including reteaching) students for misbehaviors

All schools in Utah are required by law (R277-609) to have a plan in place to implement practices in line with these pillars of PBIS to promote good behavior and provide appropriate supports for students who misbehave.

PBIS World

PBIS.ORG

Instructionally Relevant Assessmnet

Types of Assessment

Types of Assessment

Two major categories of assessment that are used in education are summative and formative assessments. Summative assessments are given periodically to determine, at a particular point in time, what students know and do not know. The key is to think of summative assessment as a means to gauge, at a particular point in time, student learning relative to content standards. These can include end-of-unit tests, statewide or national tests, and entrance exams. Summative assessment is often used to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs. Summative refers to assessment of learning and happens at the end of the learning process.

Formative assessment is used to measure the process of learning and is part of the instructional process. When incorporated into classroom practice, it provides the information needed to adjust student instruction. Formative assessment informs both teachers and students about student learning so that ongoing adjustments in instructional activities can be made. Examples of formative assessment measures include progress monitoring, curriculum-based assessments (CBA), ongoing observations, and student responses during instruction.  Formative refers to assessments for learning and happens during the instructional period.

These types of assessment can apply at various levels of analysis from a state level down to an individual student level. The question being considered (i.e., Is the student making adequate progress? What is the impact of a classroom management technique? How effective is a district-wide curriculum?, etc.) should drive the selection of the assessment.

Domains and Methods of Assessment

Domains and Methods of Assessment

There are multiple domains that can be assessed and are easily remembered using the acronym ICEL:

  1. Instruction—how we teach (teaching style, methods, feedback, groupings, etc.)
  2. Curriculum—what is being taught (standards, benchmarks, and instructional materials)
  3. Environment—the context where learning occurs (rules, routines, management systems, etc.)
  4. Learner—who is being taught, or characteristics of the individual in relation to the concern

All of these factors contribute to the success, or lack of success, in learning and, as such, all can be evaluated. While school teams typically have little direct impact on the learner (the student), the focus of problem-solving can be placed upon the other three areas to determine how improvements can be made to bring about better outcomes for the learner in academic or social/behavior areas.

These domains can all be evaluated using various methods of assessment, remembered by the acronym RIOT:

  1. Review—review prior records or any other permanent products that might be relevant.
  2. Interview—interview anyone with knowledge about the topic, whether systems or student(s). Multiple perspectives and input are critical for problem solving.
  3. Observe—observe instruction, the environment, and/or the learner.
  4. Test—assess using an educationally relevant assessment or measurement tool for the purpose of instructional planning (i.e., unit exam, curriculum-based, behavior rating scales, etc.).

Assessment practices should be considered within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports. As you advance up the tiers (from tier 1 to tiers 2 and 3) the measurement precision needed, the frequency of assessment, and the problem analysis increase. As a result, the resources needed to conduct assessments at the upper tiers increases. It can be helpful for a school or district team to identify the assessments used at each level and the purpose of the data for evaluating instruction, curriculum, the environment, and the learners/student.

Purposes of Student Assessment

Purposes of Student Assessment

Within the domain of assessing the learner (students) there are multiple purposes of assessments. Data can be used: 1) to measure outcomes (typically summative assessment); 2) to screen students at risk for struggles; 3) to diagnose specific areas of weakness or needed support; and 4) to monitor student progress in response to instruction and/or intervention.

Outcome measures are important in measuring individual students to determine whether they adequately learned the content of interest, and also provide important information for the school and district to identify areas to improve its practices.

Screening systems are an important way to proactively identify students at risk for failure. The district has an Early Warning System that allows schools to look at key indicators associated with positive long-term outcomes (graduation) and should be used regularly in order to interven early with those students who need it.

Davis District school teams should ensure they are using valid and reliable measures to accurately measure student performance.

Team Based Problem Solving

Accordion

Problem-Solving Process

Problem-Solving Process

In order for evidence-based practices to have the desired effect on students, they must be implemented as intended. "Students cannot benefit from interventions they do not receive" (Fixsen, Blase, Horner, Sugai, 2009).  For this reason, it is important to use effective implementation practices to ensure instructional and intervention strategies are implemented appropriately and sustained over time. The National Implementation Research Network has identified the key drivers to sustained implementation. One critical practice to implementation of MTSS is having teams that use data to identify a problem, select appropriate interventions, and measure the implementation and effects of those interventions; in other words problem-solving teams

While teams frequently meet in schools to address individual student and school systems problems, many of these teams would benefit from specific practices to increase their effectiveness and efficiency. One model for effective teaming at the school building level is Team Initiated Problem Solving (TIPS)*. This research-based model* identifies key practices to effective team based problem-solving including having key roles assigned (e.g., meeting facilitator, note taker, time keeper, data analyst). Effective teams should also engage in specific action planning that identifies "who" will do "what" by "when and how teams will measure the fidelity of implementation and the outcomes of identified solutions. The TIPS agenda also guides a team in problem-solving. Data are used at each stage of the process: 1) Identifying the problem; 2) Verifying the problem and its contributing factors; 3) Identifying a solution; and 4) Evaluating the impact of the solution. Additional information on the problem-solving process and use of data can be found in this brief module: https://uen.instructure.com/enroll/467K63

Building Level Teams should engage in data based problem-solving.

Teams in Davis School District

Various teams exist in Davis schools: Local Case Management Teams, Joint School Staff Committees, Davis Collaborative Teams, and Special Education Teams to name a few. While each of these teams serves a different purpose, they all are engaged in solving problems to improve practices for the benefit of students. These teams can address individual, class wide, grade- or subject-level, or whole-school problems. They may meet frequently or as needed. They may have a few members or broad representation. With these various teams, schools should make sure the purpose and membership of those teams are clearly defined. The teaming matrix can guide school personnel to identify any redundancies in purpose, ensure appropriate membership, define the schedule for meeting, identify needed data, and define intended outcomes for each team.

When implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports in academics or behavior (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), it can be helpful to have a Building Leadership Team (BLT) that meets regularly (recommended twice per month) to proactively discuss implementation of PBIS practices. This team should use an effective meeting framework such as TIPS to ensure that time is used effectively identified solutions are implemented, and that impact of solutions is monitored to continually improve upon practices for the benefit of all students. The TIPS Fidelity Checklist can be a useful tool for a BLT to assess the effectiveness of their team meetings to ensure problem-solving leads to action items that are implemented and have the desired effect on educator practices and student academic and behavioral outcomes. BLTs running effective meetings will allow them to analyze school-wide practices at the tier 1 level to achieve better results for all students.

Even with well implemented tier 1 practices, some students will need additional support. Tier 2 interventions are provided to some students (approximately 15%) who need support in addition to tier 1 instruction. A few students (approximately 5%) of students will need intensive individualized supports. Local Case Management Teams consider the needs of individual students and identify appropriate interventions to supplement the tier 1 instruction they're receiving. As a student is identified as not meeting expected standards of academic or behavioral performance, this team should engage in the problem-solving process to verify the causal factors for the student's struggles and what intervention(s) should be implemented to improve their performance. To learning more about the indicators of a well-functioning LCMT, please visit the LCMT page of the district website. 

Data Based Decision-Making

For teams to be effective, they should use data related to the problem at hand. Teams that look at individual student problems should use relevant data, whether academic or behavioral, to identify interventions to improve the student's performance in the area of concern. Davis Collaborative Teams review individual student data as well as whole class data to discuss how to better teach struggling students. Building Leadership Teams should look at whole school data to drive their problem solving and may include data such as attendance, SAGE scores, graduation rates, class grades, office discipline referrals, school climate measures, and/or any other data relevant to identified school-wide problems. Coupled with the quantified data, the team may use  The team determines what story the data tell and consider 

In order to effectively use data for decision-making, teams must have access to data systems that allow for easy access to the data including drilling down to subgroups (e.g., SAGE scores by ethnicity, office discipline referrals by grade-level, etc.), or individual students. The district Encore system provides useful data for a team to access individual student information on attendance, grades, discipline, and other key indicators of student academics and behavior. The Utah State Board of Education's Data Gateway can provide valuable information as well to teachers and teams on individual students, classrooms, school, and district performance. Outside data management systems can also be useful to store and analyze other types of data. Teams should ensure that whatever data system they use allows them to have easy access to the data and allows for appropriate drilling down by subgroups as listed above.

While schools have access to much of the academic data they need, many schools lag behind in having access to appropriate behavioral data. Some sources of data for behavior may include tracking students sent to the office (e.g., School-wide Information SystemEducators Handbook), school climate (e.g., SnapshotUtah Education Policy Center Survey), and discipline data (e.g., suspensions, expulsions). Armed with these data teams can identify inequities in subgroups, the history of an individual student's disciplinary actions, or other relevant information, to improve practices. 

  • Davis TIPS Meeting Agenda and Notes

    The TIPS Meeting Agenda and Notes form is used by a team to follow an agenda, identify action items, and follow-through with fidelity on identified items.

  • TIPS Fidelity Checklist

    The TIPS Fidelity Checklist allows a team to self-evaluated on the components that make for an effective and efficient team-based problem solving process. It is recommended that this be completed at least 3 times a year.

  • 1 TIPS was developed in collaboration between researchers Rob Horner, Anne Todd, and Steve Newton at the University of Oregon and Bob and Kate Algozzine, Dale Cusumano, and Angela Preston at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Teams in Davis School District

Teams in Davis School District

Various teams exist in Davis schools: Local Case Management Teams, Joint School Staff Committees, Davis Collaborative Teams, and Special Education Teams to name a few. While each of these teams serves a different purpose, they all are engaged in solving problems to improve practices for the benefit of students. These teams can address individual, class wide, grade- or subject-level, or whole-school problems. They may meet frequently or as needed. They may have a few members or broad representation. With these various teams, schools should make sure the purpose and membership of those teams are clearly defined. The teaming matrix can guide school personnel to identify any redundancies in purpose, ensure appropriate membership, define the schedule for meeting, identify needed data, and define intended outcomes for each team.

When implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports in academics or behavior (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), it can be helpful to have a Building Leadership Team (BLT) that meets regularly (recommended twice per month) to proactively discuss implementation of PBIS practices. This team should use an effective meeting framework such as TIPS to ensure that time is used effectively identified solutions are implemented, and that impact of solutions is monitored to continually improve upon practices for the benefit of all students. The TIPS Fidelity Checklist can be a useful tool for a BLT to assess the effectiveness of their team meetings to ensure problem-solving leads to action items that are implemented and have the desired effect on educator practices and student academic and behavioral outcomes. BLTs running effective meetings will allow them to analyze school-wide practices at the tier 1 level to achieve better results for all students.

Even with well implemented tier 1 practices, some students will need additional support. Tier 2 interventions are provided to some students (approximately 15%) who need support in addition to tier 1 instruction. A few students (approximately 5%) of students will need intensive individualized supports. Local Case Management Teams consider the needs of individual students and identify appropriate interventions to supplement the tier 1 instruction they're receiving. As a student is identified as not meeting expected standards of academic or behavioral performance, this team should engage in the problem-solving process to verify the causal factors for the student's struggles and what intervention(s) should be implemented to improve their performance. To learning more about the indicators of a well-functioning LCMT, please visit the LCMT page of the district website. 

Data Based Decision-Making

Data Based Decision-Making

For teams to be effective, they should use data related to the problem at hand. Teams that look at individual student problems should use relevant data, whether academic or behavioral, to identify interventions to improve the student's performance in the area of concern. Davis Collaborative Teams review individual student data as well as whole class data to discuss how to better teach struggling students. Building Leadership Teams should look at whole school data to drive their problem solving and may include data such as attendance, SAGE scores, graduation rates, class grades, office discipline referrals, school climate measures, and/or any other data relevant to identified school-wide problems. Coupled with the quantified data, the team may use  The team determines what story the data tell and consider 

In order to effectively use data for decision-making, teams must have access to data systems that allow for easy access to the data including drilling down to subgroups (e.g., SAGE scores by ethnicity, office discipline referrals by grade-level, etc.), or individual students. The district Encore system provides useful data for a team to access individual student information on attendance, grades, discipline, and other key indicators of student academics and behavior. The Utah State Board of Education's Data Gateway can provide valuable information as well to teachers and teams on individual students, classrooms, school, and district performance. Outside data management systems can also be useful to store and analyze other types of data. Teams should ensure that whatever data system they use allows them to have easy access to the data and allows for appropriate drilling down by subgroups as listed above.

While schools have access to much of the academic data they need, many schools lag behind in having access to appropriate behavioral data. Some sources of data for behavior may include tracking students sent to the office (e.g., School-wide Information SystemEducators Handbook), school climate (e.g., SnapshotUtah Education Policy Center Survey), and discipline data (e.g., suspensions, expulsions). Armed with these data teams can identify inequities in subgroups, the history of an individual student's disciplinary actions, or other relevant information, to improve practices. 

Handouts

The TIPS Meeting Agenda and Notes form is used by a team to follow an agenda, identify action items, and follow-through with fidelity on identified items.
 
 

The TIPS Fidelity Checklist allows a team to self-evaluated on the components that make for an effective and efficient team-based problem solving process. It is recommended that this be completed at least 3 times a year.

1 TIPS was developed in collaboration between researchers Rob Horner, Anne Todd, and Steve Newton at the University of Oregon and Bob and Kate Algozzine, Dale Cusumano, and Angela Preston at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Resources

MTSS Contacts

Bradley Christensen

Bradley Christensen

District Administrator
Dept Of Student Services
Career And Technical Education, Fit For Life, Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics
Casey Layton

Casey Layton

Department Director
Dept Of Student Services

Devin Healey

Special Ed Coordinator
Related Services

Steve Loveland

Special Ed Coordinator
Related Services

Julie Larsen

Special Ed Director
Special Education

Bernardo Villar

District Administrator
Federal Programs

Belinda Kuck

District Administrator
Teaching And Learning Dept

Heidi Block

Sp Ed Teacher Leader, Psychologist
Related Services, Canyon Creek Elementary

Peter Vanderlinden

Assessment Dept Coordinator
Assessment/Research