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Iowa's Multi-Tiered System of Supports


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Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) in Iowa, also known as Response to Intervention or RtI, is an every-education decision-making framework of evidence-based practices in instruction and assessment that addresses the needs of all students starting in general education.

Related Information

The latest on RtI: A new name

As an every-education process, MTSS allows educators to judge the overall health of their educational system by examining data on all students (general and special education) as well as identifying students who need additional supports. Those supports are provided in both small group and individual settings, and measured to determine if these supports are making a difference to ensure all learners demonstrate proficiency in the Iowa Core standards and leave school ready for life.

Many Iowa schools are successfully implementing components of MTSS. Together, we will move MTSS to consistent statewide implementation in every Iowa classroom.

Video: Readiness Survey for Scale Up of Response to Intervention (RtI) in Iowa - A brief video describing the survey being used to gather information for the introduction and scale-up of Iowa's Response to Intervention system.

Readiness Survey Support Document

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MTSS Key Components

The Iowa MTSS framework is made up of five components:

  1. Evidence-Based Curriculum and Instruction shall be provided at the Universal level
  2. Universal Screening shall be used three times per year
  3. Evidence-based, instructional interventions at the Targeted and Intensive levels shall be provided to each student who needs them
  4. Progress Monitoring Data shall be collected and used to guide instruction
  5. Data-Based Decision Making

To be fully implementing the Iowa RtI framework, schools must be implementing the full range of practices associated with each of these components with fidelity.

Response to Intervention: Key Components - More information about each component.


MTSS and Continuous Improvement

Implementation of the Iowa MTSS framework should use the continuous school improvement process of (a) defining the problem, (b) diagnosing the problem, (c) developing a plan, (d) implementing the plan, and (e) evaluating the results of plan implementation. We use a ten-question framework to help schools engage in this process. Those ten questions are:

Universal Level

  1. Is our Universal program sufficient?
  2. If the Universal program is not sufficient, why isn’t it sufficient?
  3. How will needs identified in the Universal program be addressed?
  4. How will the sufficiency and effectiveness of the Universal program be monitored over time?
  5. Have improvements to the Universal program been effective?

Targeted and Intensive Levels

  1. For which students is Universal instruction sufficient and not sufficient, and why?
  2. What specific Targeted and Intensive instruction is needed?
  3. How will specific Targeted and Intensive instruction be delivered?
  4. How will the effectiveness of Targeted and Intensive instruction be monitored?
  5. Which students need to move to a different level of instruction?

This process helps educators think about their local needs within a data-based decision-making framework.

Ten-Question Response to Intervention (RtI) School Improvement Framework


Iowa-based Resources

Response to Intervention (RtI) Guidance (2011-12-16) - This document contains foundational information about and guidance on Iowa’s RtI framework. It will be updated as needed. It is recommended that you bookmark this document so you always have access to the most recent guidance.

Data Systems and Assessments Overview Webinar - This is a 30 minute webinar that was recorded on March 6th, 2013. It was recorded by consultants at the Department of Education. Topics addressed include an overview of Iowa RtI framework, as well as Iowa’s recently-purchased RtI database, universal screeners, and progress monitoring assessments.  

Data Systems and Assessments Overview Presentation Slides - This presentation was used during the Overview webinar conducted by the Iowa Department of Education on March 6th, 2013.

FAQ for Data System and Assessments - This FAQ addresses a wide range of issues related to RtI. If you have a question not already addressed in the FAQ, you can submit a question using the Post Questions form. Questions will be reviewed weekly and responses posted shortly thereafter.

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Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on February 06, 2016 at 10:04pm.