Related Topics:

Integrated Student Supports

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) in Iowa, also known as Response to Intervention or RtI, is an every-education decision-making framework of evidence-based practices in instruction and assessment that addresses the needs of all students. As an every-education process, MTSS allows educators to judge the overall health of their educational system by examining data on the educational system as well as identifying students who need additional supports. Those supports are provided in both small group and individual settings and are monitored to ensure they support all learners demonstrate proficiency in the Iowa Core standards and leave school ready for life.

Many Iowa schools are successfully implementing components of MTSS. Together, we will move MTSS to consistent statewide implementation in every Iowa classroom.

Key Components

The Iowa MTSS framework is made up of five components.

  1. Evidence-based curriculum and instruction provided at the universal level.
  2. Universal screening of all students.
  3. Evidence-based, instructional interventions at the targeted and intensive levels shall be provided to each student who needs them.
  4. Progress monitoring for learners below expectations.
  5. Data-based decision making throughout the system.

Statewide Implementation

The Department of Education, AEAs, and LEAs in Iowa collaboratively embarked on statewide scale-up of Iowa’s MTSS framework, with implementation beginning in 2013. Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids (C4K) has supported continued work in MTSS during this time. Approximately 10% of Iowa’s schools serve as Partner sites. These schools get all material and training before it goes statewide. They provide input and critical feedback that is used to make any needed modifications to materials prior to statewide implementation. Once materials are finalized, they are shared with Iowa’s Training Cadre, a team made up of staff from each AEA, and some LEAs, who are responsible for planning support for schools in their AEAs, consider how to best support scale-up in their regions.

Connections with ELI and DA

The MTSS framework is utilized to support decision-making and continuous improvement in Iowa's schools. Because the framework supports evidence-based implementation of universal instruction, as well as intervention, it can be utilized across the educational system.

We have utilized the MTSS framework in the implementation of other Iowa initiatives, including the implementation of Iowa Administrative Code 281-62, or the Early Literacy Implementation (ELI) Rule. Materials designed through the C4K collaborative related to MTSS are also used to support schools identified through the state's Differentiated Accountability (DA) School Improvement model.

Early Literacy Screening Tools State Adoption


FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) is purchased by the state of Iowa to support implementation of MTSS.  A healthy MTSS system includes screening, progress monitoring, and intervention for Grades K-6, using these measures or other approved measures in Iowa. Screening, progress monitoring, and intervention are required in Grades K-3 and for students who continue to be persistently at risk beyond third grade. Literacy-specific screening, progress monitoring, and intervention support MTSS implementation, as reflected in local Healthy Indicators. Grades PreK-6 are strongly encouraged to implement these practices.

Mathematics Universal Screening Tools (2017)

A Summary Report of Iowa’s Review of PreK-6 Reading Assessments for Universal Screening and Progress (2013)

Literacy Assessment Reviews Overview (2013)

Iowa's Timeline of Assessment Review (2013)


myIGDIs (Individual Growth and Development Indicators) are preschool literacy screenings offered at no cost to districts and their community partners, with an emphasis on assessing children the year before kindergarten. As an important component of a healthy MTSS system, myIGDIs is designed to identify preschoolers who may be at risk in the area of early literacy, so that future difficulties may be prevented. See the Renaissance Iowa myIGDIs website.

Visit the myIGDIs Hub in Panorama Academy for resources supporting myIGDIs setup and administration.

GOLD and myIGDIs...Unique and Complementary - A brief overview of how these assessments work together to inform instruction and improve student outcomes.

Iowa Resources

MTSS and Use of Special Education Funds

Advanced Learner: Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Guide

National Resources

MTSS is an evidence-based practice used throughout the country. Below are resources your school may find helpful during implementation of an MTSS framework.

Position Statement on Multi-tiered System of Support Framework in Early Childhood (Division of Early Childhood of the Council of Exceptional Children)

National Center on Intensive Instruction (NCII)

RTI Action Network

Intervention Central

Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR)

Iowa Reading Research Center (IRRC)

Vaugh Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts

Michigan's Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MiMTSS)