Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) At a Glance

  • Illinois defines a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) as follows: A Multi-Tiered System of Supports is a framework for continuous improvement that is systemic, prevention-focused, and data-informed, providing a coherent continuum of supports responsive to meet the needs of ALL learners.

  • In a fully implemented MTSS framework, ALL means ALL; all students, all educators, all families.

  • MTSS is a framework that includes supports to raise achievement and improve behavior.  

  • MTSS recognizes that successful  whole child/whole student outcomes come from a collective responsibility of all stakeholders.

  • Effective implementation of an MTSS framework takes time and commitment. In order to reach full implementation, implementers should expect the process to take 2-4 years**.  (**source: Colorado Department of Education)

  • MTSS is supported by significant research that has occurred prior to and since the 2004 Reauthorization of IDEA. A list of evidence can be found in the following document: Annotated Bibliography: Illinois MTSS Evidence


MTSS is a student-centered, evidenced based framework that maintains an intentional focus on the needs of all learners. The following core principles outline the practices that must be in place to ensure effective implementation of MTSS:

  • Teach all children effectively.  

  • Use evidence-based instruction/interventions/practices.

  • Monitor student progress to inform instruction.

  • Conduct assessments.  

  • Use a multi-tiered model of service delivery.  

  • Use data to make decisions.

  • Use problem solving.

  • Implement with fidelity.

  • Intervene early.

  • Establish consensus

The following are essential components to an effective and sustainable Multi-Tiered System of Supports:

  • Leadership and continuous improvement planning

  • Assessment system

  • Data-based problem solving

  • Three-tiered instruction and intervention model

  • Data-based decision making for system evaluation

  • Communication and collaboration

  • Infrastructure for implementation

A MTSS model aligns resources in schools for providing high quality instruction and intervention matched to student needs. Learning rate over time and level of performance are used to inform instructional decisions. The MTSS model addresses both academic and behavior needs of students through high quality instruction and interventions developed to meet those needs.


No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2001; the reauthorization of Elementary & Secondary Education Act)
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004)
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, 2015)
Illinois School Code (May 2018; March 2021)
Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
Teach all children effectively
Support all students equitably
Require use of evidence-based practices in instruction, interventions (academic, behavioral, and social-emotional)
Utilize data to monitor student progress and inform instruction
Utilize data and problem-solving to make decisions
Provide resources and professional learning opportunities for educators on differentiated instruction, inclusive practices, assessment systems, and data literacy
Promote positive school climates & trauma-informed practices; reduce use of exclusionary discipline practices
Provide resources for family/caretaker engagement
Provide access to professional learning opportunities including emphasis on Governance and Management, Curriculum and Instruction, and Climate and Culture
Emphasize capacity-building strategies for sustainability
Provide a system of support to students who are at risk of reaching or exceeding chronic absence levels [Full Citation][Illinois Attendance Commission Final Report to the General Assembly, December 2020)]
Each district shall implement the use of multi-tiered systems of support as part of the (student progress) evaluation procedure as well as for consideration of special education eligibility [Full Citation 1] [Full Citation 2]
Ensure improved student outcomes


Contact Us!

To learn more about how an MTSS framework can support your school or district, send an email to