Essential Components

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Definition: Assessment is the process of collecting, reviewing, and using the information to make educational decisions about student learning. The type of information collected is determined by the intended use of the results or type of decision that is needed.

Screening, progress monitoring, and other supporting assessments are used to inform data-based decision making.

Four purposes of assessments

  1. Universal Screening – all students assessed to determine which students may need additional supports – high or low and the effectiveness of the core curriculum
  2. Diagnostic –identify skill deficits/successes and inform instructional match at all tiers
  3. Progress Monitoring – frequent assessment to determine whether students are making adequate progress toward a specific preset goal
  4. Outcome – measures performance of the educational system – e.g. NDSA, ACT

Definition: Data-based decision making “optimizes the use of data for purposes of informing individual student instruction, identifying strengths and weaknesses in a classroom, and illuminating trends and gaps across a school district”1

An ongoing team process that begins with identified questions with clearly established protocols to evaluate and inform decisions and actions at student, classroom, grade level, school, and system levels.

Basic steps include:

  • Gathering accurate and reliable data
  • Correctly interpreting and validating data
  • Using data to make meaningful instructional changes for students
  • Establishing and managing increasingly intensive tiers of support
  • Evaluating the process at all tiers to ensure the system is working

Definition: A multi-tier approach is used to efficiently differentiate instruction for all students. The model incorporates increasing intensities of instruction and assessments offering specific, research-based interventions matched to student needs driven by data.


Focus – All Students
Instruction and Supports – district curriculum and instructional practices that are evidence-based; aligned with state or district standards; incorporate differentiated instruction
Setting – General classroom (small and large group)
Assessment – Screening, continuous progress monitoring, and outcome measures


Focus – Students identified through screening as at risk of performing below expected outcomes
Instruction and Supports – Targeted, supplemental instruction practices that are evidence-based (large or small group); additional layer to Tier 1 Setting – General education and/or optimal setting for the need of students
Assessment – Diagnostic, Progress monitoring


Focus – Students who present with very low academic, high academic achievement, or behavior achievement, or who have not responded to Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction, or students with disabilities who do not meet their IEP goals; additional layer to Tier 1 and Tier 2
Instruction – Intensive intervention adapted to address individual student needs through the systematic use of assessment data, validated interventions, and research-based instruction or behavior support strategies
Setting – General or special education depending on the needs of the student
Assessment – Diagnostic and progress monitoring

Definition: Knowledge, resources, and organizational structures necessary to operationalize components of NDMTSS in a unified system to meet established goals

Alignment of resources and supports necessary to implement an effective system includes, but is not limited to:

  • Shared Vision
  • Prevention Focus
  • Culture
  • Leadership
  • Professional Development
  • Schedules
  • Resources
  • Communication
  • Leadership Teams (training note reasonable, practical and doable)

Definition: Fidelity is the degree of exactness with which something is implemented or conducted; and Evaluation is a measure of the effectiveness of individual resources and practices

Fidelity happens across multiple points within NDMTSS framework; system, process, and multi-tiered instruction.

Did you do what you said you would?

Evaluation occurs frequently and helps to determine the effectiveness of the system, process, or multi-tiered instruction.

Did it work?
How can it be improved?

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