Background Information: RTI/MTSS

I thought, since I sort of introduced the story of my districts MTSS adventure in the middle of the story, I should back it up and give you a little more information and a behind the scenes look.

A group of teachers and the principal who are working to figure out all of the ins and outs. They've also spent countless hours rounding up and preparing materials. They all deserve medals, extra pay, or some extra days off! Our school has voluntarily entered this process to help benefit our students, this team is a huge part in pulling off this whole venture.

Our school uses Aimseb testing 3 times a year (fall, winter, and spring). Using the online program, students data is processed and we can see if they are 'on target'.

Testing: Part 2
For students who are not quite up to the target, additional testing is completed. We used the Quick Phonics Screener (QPS) for students to be inaccurate and not fluent. I love this test! Although it doesn't tell you every single skill that might be missing, it does a pretty good job, and it is quick and easy to administer.

For any subset of the QPS (which the majority of it is composed of both nonsense/real words so that student's ability for word attack can be gauged too) that the student scores 8 or lower, a mark is made. The lowest number subset, that has a score of 8 or below, will be the first group the student needs to be a part of. The kiddos I'm working with had a missing skill of short or long vowel, relatively low skills on the spectrum. This does not mean that they have to work through 8 different groups to make it up to multi-syllable words. Almost all of the student's I'm working with skip several subset skills before landing into their next phonics group (or even a fluency group.) Phonics groups will be monitored weekly.

For students who weren't on target, but were accurate just not fluent, these students were placed into fluency groups. These groups also work 30 minutes a day. The groups are not small (10-15) as compared to the phonics groups (no more than 4 students). The fluency groups are monitored bi-weekly. There is a lot of repeated readings, readers theater, and Read Naturally programming in these groups.

The last group of kids were found to be both accurate and fluent. These kiddos are also going to a "reading skills" class (this is what we are calling our MTSS time so that no child is stigmatized). This group is at and most are above where the target line says that they need to be. These students are having enrichment time. Learning about roots of words, where words come from, doing digital readings and then writing about them on blog-like platforms. They are also working on creating materials to share with their peers through classes like science to make the curriculum more successful for all. 

Backwards Testing
For the kiddos being monitored weekly and biweekly, before any real teaching can begin, we started with backward testing. For my kiddos, I used the Aimsweb probes, the lowest number, for grades 4th-1st. Then, I took students one at a time to do a running record. Using the Aimsweb progress monitoring, it shoots out the probes to use based on the grade level that the students are working at. 

This is the heart of the matter. The fun stuff. I enjoy getting to work with some different kids in a small group, with more "fun" hands on activities than can always be done in whole group classes. I'll be posting some of the resources that have been used here soon.

This whole MTSS/RTI programing was suppose to start at the beginning of the year, but things are a lot more time consuming/intensive than originally thought. The administrator was fore-thinking, in that he created two "MTSS" blocks. Both for 30 minutes towards the end of the day.

For the first half of the year, teachers used one time slot for independent reading and the other spelling. Now, spelling is essentially "gone". My groups (short/long vowels) still do spelling but it is very basic, they don't necessarily get a grade for it, I use it more for formative assessment.

Getting rid of spelling on the grade card was debated (as there is parent support for it, since it's easier to help with) but, we are hoping there is good movement by the end of the year and that it would just become too much of a headache to change where the grades would come from in the grade book.

Well, that's the nuts and bolts and the behind the scenes look at what we are doing!


  1. WOW! That is a lot of good info! How big is your school? How long of a process has this been?

    We are ALL Special!

  2. Thank you! :)

    I work in a 4A school (about 120ish per grade level).

    The process... a little lengthy. The MTSS development team started to get the ball rolling in the spring of last year, attending meetings to hear more, and tried to get organized over summer. I work in a 4/5 building, and 4th grade started implementing the MTSS rotations in October, 5th grade just started in January. Planning intensive now, and nobody has found one set curriculum that works the best, though maybe I should blog about some resources being used next :) It'll still be a process this year as kinks are worked out, but it'll get better over time.


I love comments! I also like to reply by email (so you can see my response). Please make sure that option is turned on in your profile settings so you can see my reply or leave your email address here! Thanks again for taking time to comment!!