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December 1, 2022

Maximize the Impact of MTSS/RTI with 1:1 Support

Learn how to maximize the impact of MTSS/RTI with 1:1 support with Pear Deck Tutor (formerly TutorMe).

In recent years, many K-12 districts have begun to implement schoolwide prevention frameworks to proactively increase student achievement through the use of academic interventions, behavioral support plans, and robust SEL programs. With the educational impacts of Covid-19 and the widening of skill gaps as a result of interrupted learning, districts are utilizing schoolwide support frameworks to proactively address academic challenge areas and support every student in reaching their individual educational journeys.

These frameworks are referred to as MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Support) and RTI (Response-to-Intervention). Both frameworks work at a schoolwide level to identify struggling students through a problem-solving, data-dependent approach.

To support these students academically, schools utilize intervention models designed to provide targeted 1:1 academic interventions for struggling students and provide in-class learning support for all students. Tutoring has long been identified as a strong intervention and enrichment tool that is evidence-backed to increase overall student success. This makes tutoring an essential component to any MTSS/RTI framework.

However, traditional methods of delivering tutoring (such as in after school sessions or at a tutoring center) prevent schools from integrating tutoring in the classroom and during intervention times. MTSS/RTI processes occur throughout the school day, so schools need an avenue to provide 1:1 personalized learning support within this framework.

On-demand tutoring, like what’s provided through partnerships with Pear Deck Tutor, allows schools to seamlessly integrate tutoring into their problem-solving MTSS/RTI frameworks. Let’s consider how this integration occurs in more detail.

What is MTSS/RTI?

Multi-Tiered System of Support is a framework designed for supporting the academic needs of all students, from struggling learners to those who need additional academic enrichment. It uses data-driven efforts to solve potential problems for each student, incorporating support from the family, the school, and the community.

The RTI, or Response-to-Intervention, model came before MTSS and utilizes data-driven models to identify students who may need additional support.

Both MTSS and RTI start with comprehensive screening and assessment to help get a better picture of where students are and what support they might need. This data is used to provide a layered series of evidence-based practices and supports, both in and out of the classroom, to increase student success outcomes.

MTSS/RTI have three tiers of support:

  • Tier 1: High-quality classroom instruction and support. This primary tier focuses on ensuring that students receive a high standard of support in the classroom. It may offer relevant supports to instructors directly, which may, in turn, help them provide better educational support to students.
  • Tier 2: Targeted support that helps address individual students' skill gaps or areas in which they might struggle. At Tier 2, students may receive targeted instruction designed to help fill in gaps and offer assistance.
  • Tier 3: Intensive support, usually provided in a smaller-group model. Tier 3 is designed to help offer more in-depth, highly targeted support to students who might otherwise be struggling in the classroom.

Both these models are being used across K-12 school districts to identify and proactively support struggling students, creating a more positive school culture for all students. The goal of MTSS is to find struggling students early and quickly provide intervention. Progress monitoring data is used to make decisions about movement between the tiers to ensure that students receive a customized education process designed for their unique needs.

Using on-demand tutoring for tier 2 and tier 3 intervention

Students who have been identified as needing support beyond their class instruction, according to the MTSS model, receive targeted interventions at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels. ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) established standards of evidence to create a guide to selecting interventions in order to ensure that schools are using proven interventions that actually work.

  • Tier 1 – Strong Evidence: supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented randomized control experimental studies.
  • Tier 2 – Moderate Evidence: supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented quasi-experimental studies.
  • Tier 3 – Promising Evidence: supported by one or more well-designed and well-implemented correlational studies (with statistical controls for selection bias).
  • Tier 4 – Demonstrates a Rationale: practices that have a well-defined logic model or theory of action, are supported by research, and have some effort underway by an SEA, LEA, or outside research organization to determine their effectiveness.

The Annenberg Institute found that high-dosage tutoring is one of the most effective ways to increase academic achievement, linking tutoring to one of the most effective interventions to increasing student achievement. When built into an MTSS/RTI framework, on-demand tutoring can be utilized to provide 1:1 intervention support for struggling students. With the ability to be accessed 24/7, this allows schools the flexibility to incorporate tutoring within their school day and during intervention times.

The study found that tutoring was most effective when applied in a high-dosage approach. This means that students need to receive 1:1 tutoring support at least 3 times per a week, or for over 50 hours in a 36 week period, in order for tutoring to be the most effective.

However, with staff limitations and complications with scheduling, actually delivering this tutoring can be incredibly difficult. On-demand tutoring is not limited by school staffing, student schedule constraints, or even physical constraints like needing a physical room in which to hold those tutoring sessions.

On-demand tutoring sessions are accessible before, during, and after school, so they can be used as individual student supports during out-of-school hours or during specific intervention periods, when they can provide high-dosage intervention to struggling students.

However, MTSS does not just focus on struggling students. The framework encompasses the entire student body, and on-demand tutoring reflects that framework by providing an avenue for personalized learning for every student.

Using on-demand tutoring as a tier 1, in-class support

The MTSS model also requires all students to have access to a robust core instruction differentiated based on their unique needs. This Tier 1 level of MTSS is critical to overall student success and ensuring a high standard of education for all students. True differentiation, however, provides 1:1 support for each student. This is a nearly impossible task for one educator to provide to all the students in a classroom every day. Differentiation is, therefore, incredibly difficult to implement in a standard classroom.

When utilized as an in-class support, on-demand tutoring can provide 1:1 support to every student, whether that means helping struggling students learn a missing skill, providing language support for English-language learners, or providing enrichment opportunities for students who have mastered the current content.

For example, in an MTSS framework, a classroom educator will need to deliver instruction that is accessible to all learners while utilizing grade-level content. Even before the pandemic, student assessment data showed that nearly two-thirds of students were not reading on grade level. More recent NAEP data has shown that math and reading gaps have only increased.

For a classroom teacher, that means that over 66% of their class may need individual support in order to understand grade-level content. With the average class size being over 20 students, one teacher cannot provide this level of individualized support, especially at the intensity required for MTSS to be successful.

Instead, on-demand tutoring provides an avenue for personalized learning at the Tier 1 level while allowing educators to focus on providing interventions at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 level. Let’s consider a classroom example.

Mr. Lee has 27 students in his 8th grade ELA class. Here’s a quick data breakdown of his classroom:

  • 5 students are reading and writing at the third grade level and need Tier 3 and Tier 3 intervention.
  • 10 students are reading and writing at a fifth grade reading level and need Tier 2 intervention.
  • 8 students are reading and writing at grade level and need Tier 1 learning support.
  • 3 students are reading and writing above grade level and need Tier 1 enrichment support.

Mr. Lee teaches in an MTSS school, meaning that 15 of his students have individual intervention plans that he is responsible for tracking. He delivers the interventions in-class while his other students are working on enrichment activities. The problem? Many of his students are not receiving individual feedback on their writing or reading, because that time is being used for interventions.

Mr. Lee is doing everything right, but he can’t be every place at once. To facilitate Tier 1 support for all of his learners, Mr. Lee has his entire class use TutorMe’s Writing Lab and live tutoring services during class.

When he delivers Tier 3 interventions, the other students are receiving personalized feedback from tutors on their writing or reading assignments. Each student is being supported at their own pace, while also working with the same content as their peers. The class still begins each class with Mr. Lee’s Tier 1 core instruction, but they are supported with tutors during their individual work time to ensure that each student’s learning needs are being met.

On-demand tutoring: The ideal solution for MTSS/RTI-based strategies

On-demand tutoring is ideally positioned to help students at each tier of the MTSS/RTI framework. It offers comprehensive support to students at the Tier 1 level, provides differentiation support to educators in the classroom, and can provide targeted intervention at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 level.

Embedded into a schoolwide MTSS/RTI framework, on-demand tutoring becomes a schoolwide resource positioned to support the individual education journey of every student. Working in tandem with core instruction and other school support structures, on-demand tutoring becomes a key component of a successful and robust MTSS/RTI practice.

Do you want to learn more about how you can utilize on-demand tutoring for your district? Reach out to the Pear Deck Tutor team to learn more about bringing personalized learning for your students.


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Kayla Fargo
VP, Marketing

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