Intensive Intervention & MTSS

Successful implementation of intensive intervention using data-based individualization (DBI) is more likely to occur in schools that have a well-functioning tiered system of support, commonly called a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), response to intervention (RTI), or positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), depending on your location and area of focus. Intensive intervention is considered the most intense level of intervention and also may be known as Tier 3.

DBI is an approach to intensive intervention that builds on the lower tiers of the system. The quality and fidelity of Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports, the use of valid and reliable progress monitoring measures, and the implementation of data-based decision rules and data meeting structures essential to MTSS set the foundation for successful implementation of intensive intervention through DBI.

Districts and schools working with NCII from 2011 to 2016 found that solid Tier 1 and Tier 2 foundations allowed staff to focus efforts on DBI implementation. Specifically, they were able to more easily identify and target the small group of students (only about 3 to 5 percent of a school’s population) who needed intensive intervention. They noted that, at times, it was necessary to go back and refine their Tier 1 and 2 systems in order to better focus on the students with the most severe and persistent needs. Read the full report to learn more about lessons learned to support implementing intensive intervention.

Tools and Resources Related to MTSS and Intensive Intervention

Related Resources


Why is it important to embed intensive interventions within a three tiered system of supports?


What Counts as Evidence? Making Decisions for Instruction and Intervention within a MTSS


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When evaluating the effectiveness of school-wide MTSS implementation, teams also should plan to evaluate progress in DBI implementation using the DBI Implementation Rubric and Interview. Teams can use the results from the interview to inform goals and objectives for the upcoming school year.