Response to Intervention (RTI) and Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

Responding to a Widening Range of Learners

What Is RTI or MTSS?

RTI and MTSS are two popular, evidence-based approaches to intervention that both use academic assessment data to inform instruction and provide support for students. Their purpose is to help you identify students who may have learning difficulties and intervene early to provide the instructional support they need to thrive.

When it comes to intervention, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But at a baseline, any solution you choose should be able to help you accomplish all the following:

  • Determine the level (or tier) of intervention students need
  • Eliminate unnecessary steps in the screening process
  • Provide targeted instruction and support for each student
  • Monitor the success of your intervention strategies

Understanding RTI Tiers

RTI tiers indicate what level of intervention a student needs to be successful. They help teachers know where to increase the focus and intensity of instruction. We define RTI tiers of support as follows:

  • Tier 1 Intervention: Scaffolded core instruction for all students delivered in whole class and small groups
  • Tier 2 Intervention: Targeted, precise, small group instruction based on mutual needs
  • Tier 3 Intervention: Intensive, focused support prioritizing the crucial off-grade level skills that students need to access grade-level instruction

With the reports in the i-Ready Assessment suite, teachers can pinpoint—down to the domain level—exactly where each learner is and how to best support them.

RTI triangle diagramming the three tiers of intervention. At the top, maximum focus and intensity.

Streamlining RTI/MTSS Intervention Screening

Universal screening is the first step in any evidence-based intervention program. Why? Because we need to know our students deeply. By screening all students a few times a year, schools can identify indicators of early risk factors and prevent the development of more significant difficulties down the road. Ideally, a screening assessment can provide data on multiple targeted skills so teachers get a profile of each student and their classroom from a single assessment.

i-Ready Assessment and its easy-to-use reports do just that. Plus, by linking the Grades K–12 Diagnostic student data to a personalized learning path, you reduce the need for multiple tests and eliminate time-consuming steps in the instructional planning process. As a complement to the Diagnostic, i-Ready Literacy Tasks can provide even further insight into student intervention needs.

Diagram shows how i-Ready gives teachers a shortcut from gathering data to teaching.


Targeting Instruction: Next Steps You Can Feel Confident About

Once teachers identify students in need of intervention, they must determine what instruction to provide. Identifying the appropriate tools for effective small group and targeted intervention demands planning time and experience, so it’s critical for districts to support teachers with formative data, planning tools, and evidence-based resources.

With i-Ready Assessment, teachers receive screening results that include priority domains for teaching, instructional groupings, and targeted supports for small group and individualized intervention.


“Somehow the education system has failed these kids, and that’s not their fault. i-Ready gives us the precision to know where to go and what to do to fill the gaps. We tell students, ‘We’ve got ya! Now let’s do this.’” Malissa Esquibel
Intervention Specialist, San Bernardino City Unified School District


Monitoring the Success of Your Intervention Strategies

Evaluating the success of intervention efforts requires robust and reliable progress monitoring. With well-designed assessments, progress monitoring allows teachers to understand where their students are and how far they need to go to get to grade-level proficiency. Ideally, a single assessment can be used for multiple purposes, including:

  • Meeting reporting requirements
  • Determining school intervention eligibility
  • Identifying the best instructional resources and activities for students in need of support

i-Ready Assessment enables educators to evaluate the success of interventions, plus get insight into whether students will meet their growth expectations. Instantly available, easy-to-use reports show student performance data at the student, classroom, grade, school, and district level.


i-Ready Is Flexible Enough for Your Intervention Model

As a partner to thousands of school districts across the US, we understand that RTI/MTSS models differ from state to state and district to district. We offer flexible tools that educators can use to customize RTI/MTSS experiences based on their students’ needs.

i-Ready's integrated system of assessments, instructional resources, personalized online instruction, and reliable progress monitoring tools can help students achieve grade-level proficiency, no matter where they are in their academic journey. Contact us so we can help you find a solution that’s just right for you. 


Streamline Intervention Screening

Instruct with Confidence

Monitor Every Student's Progress

Tier 3

Individualized intensive interventions

Tier 2

Targeted small group interventions

Tier 1

Whole class research-based core instruction

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between RTI and MTSS? 

RTI-based interventions typically only address academic needs, whereas MTSS intervention strategies often incorporate any number of additional components such as social, emotional, and behavioral programs, practices, and strategies.

Can I use i-Ready as an intervention tool?

Yes. i-Ready received high ratings from the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII) for use as an academic screener, progress monitoring tool, and academic intervention tool.


Does i-Ready work with my intervention model?

We offer flexible tools that educators can use to customize RTI/MTSS experiences based on their students’ needs. Contact us so we can help you find a solution that’s just right for you.

Featured Resources

A chart depicting the decrease in Tier 3 interventions by 12 percentage points.
Case Study

Alabama School District Reverses Trends and Brings More Students to Grade-Level Learning

Educators at Boaz City School System in Alabama used i-Ready Diagnostic and Personalized Instruction and Ready Mathematics to reverse the district’s intervention pyramid.


Student completing an i-Ready lesson on a laptop.
Program Info

A Powerful Tool for Intervention

See how i-Ready’s integrated system can streamline your intervention efforts.



Responsive Teaching with a New Approach to the RTI Triangle

We need to establish a new approach to intervention. This paper offers concrete ideas for a more fluid, informed, and responsive teaching approach for all students.

Learn More

We can help you find the perfect solution for your intervention needs.