Shifting from Single-Focused Tiered Systems to the Integrated Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Framework: A Review of State Every Student Succeeds Act  Plans

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Virginia Tech


Tiered intervention models have evolved in the last two decades as growing research emphasizes shifting from single-focused tiered systems such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) and Response to Intervention (RtI) to the integrated Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework. In 2015, federal leaders included the general term multi-tiered systems of support in the reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act. However, little is known about how states interpreted this inclusion into their plans or selected the integrated MTSS framework as a highly effective practice. The purpose of this quantitative, descriptive case study was to conduct a comprehensive review of all 52 state departments of education's ESSA Consolidated State Plans to determine the level of inclusion of MTSS in state policy. Specifically, the study identified the inclusion of MTSS as an evidence-based intervention that state educational agencies use to support school divisions in implementing to improve school conditions for learning, improve educators' skills, and provide effective transitions for students. The study examined the degree to which state leaders included technical assistance in implementing MTSS for schools identified for comprehensive or targeted support and improvement. Data collection consisted of downloading approved ESSA plans from state departments of education websites and reviewing each plan using an identical process. Data were categorized and analyzed using descriptive statistics. The analysis found inconsistency and variability in the tiered systems states selected to include in their state ESSA plan. Most states have not fully shifted from using single-focus tiered systems to the integrated MTSS framework.



multi-tiered systems of support, policy, implementation, leadership, student outcomes, Every Student Succeeds Act, Response to Intervention, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports