Parent Resources · Response to Intervention

My child is on Tier 3 what does that mean?

So you’ve received a letter home from the school counselor telling you that a Tier 3 meeting has been scheduled for your child. But wait what is Tier 3 and what happened to Tier 1 and Tier 2? Well let’s figure that out together. First, RTI is a 4 tiered process of intervention and supports for struggling students. See the previous post (What is RTI?) describing in greater detail each level of RTI. In sum, Tier 1 is the general education curriculum that all students receive upon entering school. Tier 2 is inclusive of teacher-led supports for a group of under performing students in their class. It includes such things as flexible grouping (guided reading and/or math), differentiated instruction, and EIP (early intervention program) support given through a reduced class size model or small group with a reading or math academic coach. Tier 3 is when individual students are not making consistent progress in class using the classroom teacher’s typical “bag of tricks”. A team of educators typically including the classroom teacher, school counselor, school psychologist, administrator, and speech pathologist meet with the student’s parent to discuss the areas of concern and develop more individualized interventions directed at a target behavior or academic weakness.

So what should you do? Well first thing’s first. Be sure to respond to the meeting invitation and request a new date/ time if you are unavailable at the time scheduled. Having parent input is vital to this process because the best student outcomes are the result of a home-school collaboration. In preparation for the meeting think about what if any struggles you’ve noticed with your child at home. This can include such things as homework difficulties, behavior challenges, and concerns with your child’s teacher or peers. Have a list of questions ready regarding your child’s current classroom performance. Below are a few things to ask about.

  1. What is my child’s reading level? You are looking for a DRA , STAR, or SRI Lexile score as well as fluency in words per minute. This will help you determine of your child is reading on grade level and what types of books you can read with your child at home.
  2. What is my child’s math level? What skills were being worked on in this past quarter? You are looking for pre-test, benchmark, and post-test scores when available. You could also ask about the STAR math and SMI quantile scores.
  3. How is my child’s writing progressing? Are they meeting standards? What specific skills are they lacking? Can I see a sample of his/her writing?
  4. What strategies have been tried? What interventions will be implemented? What progress do we expect to see by the time we meet again?

You should leave the meeting with a copy of the meeting minutes, an understanding of the strategies and interventions that will be done be to improve your child’s deficits, and an estimated date of the follow-up meeting.


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