Tier 1 Instructional Support
At Tier I, considered the key component of tiered instruction, all students receive high-quality, research-based instruction in the general education setting. Usually, the Tier I instructional program is synonymous with the core reading or math curriculum that is typically aligned with state standards and in which 80% or more of the students are successful.
Teachers will differentiate instruction in grade-level classes and will monitor the progress of all students through documentation of universal screening and individual student results on state assessments, curriculum-based assessments, district benchmark assessments, daily assignments, and teacher-made assessments.
Universal screening is the first step in identifying the students who are at risk for learning difficulties. Its main purpose is to evaluate academic and engagement skills and identify students whose performance is not consistent with that of their peers. Universal screening for reading and math is administered to all students (PK-10), three times a year, at the beginning of the year, middle or the year, and end of the year. The classroom teacher conducts the screenings. Careful documentation of screening results are important for accurate identification of students' needs. If the results of universal screening suggest that an individual student is performing below standards, interventions should be designed for each student based on their individual strengths and weaknesses. These students will be continuously monitored through Progess Monitoring. District-approved interventions are used to prevent students from failing to meet academic and/or engagement expectations and thus requiring more intensive interventions. The goal of district-approved interventions is to proactively teach and support desired academic and social behavior for all students.
A secondary purpose for universal screeners is that it allows campus teachers, facilitators, and administrators to examine the effectiveness of Tier I instruction. According to RtI research, when we collect and analyze the data from the universal screener, we should be able to easily identify the 15-20% of students performing below their grade level peers. If more than 20% of students in a class or grade level are performing poorly, then personnel should consider the following variables:
- Effectiveness of core curriculum
- Required developmental and prerequisite skills
- Student background information
- Skills that are the building blocks for acquiring higher-order skills
- Engagement of students and emphasis of learning
- Compliance on meeting the required accommodations/modifications as outlined in IEP/504 plans
- Classroom designs, procedures, and expectations
After analyzing the data, the campus team either rules out curriculum and instructional practices as causes of concern or takes action to improve them where needed.