A Framework for Coherence: College and Career Readiness Standards, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, and Educator Effectiveness

Multi-tiered Systems of SupportMulti-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), such as Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavioral Supports (PBIS), are crucial to early identification of learning and behavioral challenges and timely intervention for students at risk for poor learning outcomes. When aligned and coherently implemented with other key education reforms, such as college and career readiness standards and educator effectiveness systems, Multi-tiered systems of support have the potential to create lasting and meaningful changes to instruction and to provide support for at-risk learners.

Unfortunately, these three critical instructional reforms initiatives often are implemented in isolation from each other. This lack of coherence across the initiatives sends teachers and instructional leaders mixed messages about instructional practices, especially those aimed at supporting at-risk learners. For example, teachers may struggle to connect what is needed in a Response to Intervention (RTI) plan and what is expected for students in new standards.

In this Special Issues Brief, we outline a framework for coherence that supports states in connecting these three initiatives by capitalizing on their shared goal: improving instructional quality to enhance educational outcomes for students. Our framework suggests three distinct opportunities to strengthen coherence and alignment across the initiatives:

  • Create a shared focus: College and career readiness standards are an opportunity for state education agencies, educators, and education stakeholders to create a shared focus on instruction that helps all students, including those at risk for poor learning outcomes, to achieve college and career readiness.
  • Create better instructional supports for students: MTSS offers an instructional framework that creates opportunities for students to access college and career readiness instruction through tiers of services and supports that vary in intensity.
  • Create better professional learning supports for teachers: Educator effectiveness systems that provide targeted feedback on standards-based, multi-tiered instruction create opportunities for professional learning and continuous instructional improvement that drive student growth.