Utah’s 3 Tier Model provides a framework for the implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI) in Utah.  The model provides Utah educators with a process for delivering quality, research-based instruction using Utah’s Core Curricula.  The model also provides a foundation for reducing the prevalence of struggling readers by creating a seamless K-12 instructional system aligning with Federal and State legislative requirements.  Utah’s 3 Tier Model is also a process to provide data to teachers for determining student responsiveness to interventions.

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered approach to help struggling learners.  Each tier provides increasingly targeted and intensive instruction.  The student’s progress is closely and continually monitored, and a team decision based on data is made to determine if there is a need for further research-based instruction/intervention in general education.

How Utah’s Tier approach looks in general:

  • Tier 1: Core Classroom Instruction (for ALL students) – High quality research-based instruction and behavioral supports in the general education classroom to teach critical elements of Utah’s core curriculum.
  • Tier 2: Supplemental Targeted Instruction (for SOME students) – More targeted supplemental instruction is added to Tier 1 when adequate progress is not made.  In smaller groups, specific needs of students are addressed and provided in the general education classroom.
  • Tier 3: Intensive Targeted Intervention (for a FEW students) – Intensive, explicit, and specifically designed instruction targeted to meet more individual needs of students that have severe difficulties.  Tier 3 Intervention replaces Tier 2 Instruction and is provided by a specialist.

This tiered approach along with the essential components of parent involvement, research-based instruction, ongoing assessment, and monitoring will help to ensure that the RTI process     works well.

Dr. Joe Torgesen, Director Emeritus at the Florida Center for Reading Research explains that explicit instructionis instruction that does not leave anything to

chance, and it does not make assumptions about skills and knowledge that children acquire on their own.  Outstanding and effective teachers understand the following sequential components of explicit instruction:

  • Direct Explanation: The teacher names and defines the skill or strategy to be learned.  This definition should include explaining why the skill or strategy is important when it is used in reading.
  • Teacher Modeling: The teacher overtly demonstrates a skill or strategy that a student will learn.  Through modeling, instruction becomes less elusive and more concrete for students.  Explicit instruction provides a greater likelihood that students will demonstrate mastery.
  • Guided Practice: The teacher provides students with support and guidance as they practice the skill or strategy independently or in small groups.  Prompts, specific corrective feedback, and praise related to the new skill or strategy are provided.  Teacher support gradually fades as the student takes responsibility for using the skill or strategy independently.
  • Independent Practice: Students are provided with multiple opportunities to apply the newly acquired skill or strategy on their own.  Through independent practice, students continue to review and practice the skills and strategies learned.
  • Progress Monitoring: The teacher monitors and evaluates student mastery of the new skill or strategy.  Future instruction is designed to target skills and strategies that require additional review and practice.

A student’s move through the 3 Tiers is a fluid process based on student assessment data and collaborative team decisions.  At any time during this process, a student may be referred for consideration of eligibility for a Section 504 plan and/or evaluation for special education eligibility.  (Information about Section 504 plans is available from the Utah Parent Center, the Utah State Office of Education, your local school, or district.) Tutoring may be necessary in any of the tiers to provide extra practice and support to help students maintain benchmark progress.

For more in-depth information regarding Utah’s 3 Tier Model of Reading Instruction, please refer to: http://www.updnetwork.org/cms/index.php/resources-by-topic/literacy/221-3-tier-model-of-reading-instruction

Schools and Districts are using various approaches when implementing this model.  Some may use different terminology to describe the process they are implementing.  Technical assistance is provided to school districts and charter schools by the Utah State Office of Education.

If, as a parent, you would like to be involved in the decision making processes in your school or district or if you want more information about how RTI is being implemented, contact your local school or district administrators.