Contributed by Natalie Shoptaw

Not all students learn in the same manner, or at the same rate. Differentiation of instruction is needed to meet each student right where they are at, assist, and accompany them to the next level. This is known as differentiating instruction.

One important trend in differentiated education is the Tier grouping concept, Response to Intervention, or RTI. Using RTI is about accommodations, adjusting instruction or the way instruction is delivered to the student. Evaluating student need for tiered intervention is an evidence-based process. The least intensive tier of intervention is Tier 1, which relates to the processes involved with the core instruction.

Successful multi-tiered support strategies (or MTSS) can be a very involved process beginning with collecting data. According to the RTI Action Network, the following steps are involved in a student moving to a Tier 1 status situation:

  • Gathering accurate and reliable data
  • Correctly interpreting and validating data
  • Using data to make meaningful instructional changes for students
  • Establishing and managing increasingly intensive tiers of support
  • Evaluating the process at all tiers to ensure the system is working

Tier 2 instruction relates to using small group strategies in addition to all other techniques identified and applied to instruction for the student in Tier 1. Tier 3 refers to all instructional strategies devised and embraced in Tiers 1 and 2, plus even more intensive interventions, such as one on one instruction.

Response to Intervention, tiered instruction, is suitable for ALL subjects, inclusive of math and science.