The Impact of Three-Tiered Intervention Models on Teacher Well-Being

Key Takeaway

Tiered prevention models to promote student learning outcomes have been evidenced to support educator well-being with teachers demonstrating self-efficacy and reduced levels of burnout relative to national norms. This suggests that the implementation of tiered systems could facilitate greater teacher efficacy and well-being as they feel more capable of meeting the educational needs of a diverse range of learners. —Ayla Reau 

Three-Tiered Models 

Many schools have adopted tiered systems like Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Response to Intervention (RTI), Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF), and Comprehensive, Integrated, Three-tiered models (Ci3T). “These models offer a school-wide structure to provide educators with clarity of roles, prioritize evidence-based practices to promote all students’ learning, use data to proactively identify students who exhibit additional needs, and inform targeted interventions to address identified needs.” 

Past research suggested that the use of tiered systems at the elementary level could lead to an increase in “educators’ commitment to students and positive feelings toward colleagues.” Lane et al. wanted to extend this line of inquiry and examine educators’ well-being (efficacy and burnout) after two years of implementation of a Ci3T model in secondary schools. 

Comprehensive, Integrated, Three-Tiered Model

As with many three-tier models, Tier 1 in a Ci3T model encompasses all students and meets most student needs. Tier 2 supports are additive and provide support for 10% - 15% of students, while Tier 3 supports are intended for the 3% - 5% of students with the most intensive educational needs. The Ci3T model “relies on the use of evidence-based programs, practices, and interventions to meet students’ needs” and uses “data [from multiple sources] to inform instructional decisions and target professional learning opportunities.” It also is unique in how it addresses academic, behavioral, and social and emotional well-being in one model. 

Efficacy and Burnout

According to the authors, two other important terms to define are efficacy and burnout. 

  • Sense of efficacy relates to the “degree to which teachers feel confident in their ability to navigate effectively their environment to teach, engage, and manage student behavior.”
  • Burnout happens when “individuals’ abilities to cope with work-related stressors are overwhelmed, leading them to experience one or more of the three core constructs of burnout: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization (i.e., cynical and emotionally withdrawn), and a lack of personal accomplishment.”

Results

The results mirrored previous findings from the primary level educators. Reports from middle and high school teachers showed comparable emotional exhaustion levels with the national norm. However, they “reported substantially lower levels of depersonalization and higher levels of personal accomplishment.” With regard to the participants’ sense of efficacy, the authors found that “self-efficacy related to student engagement was below the national sample, but self-efficacy related to classroom management was above the national average.” Participant educators also reported higher levels of efficacy related to instructional strategies. 

Tiered systems such as Ci3T can offer educators pathways for data-informed decision-making at the student and educator level in order to connect students to relevant higher-tiered supports. “Tiered systems can [also] assist educators by offering clearly defined roles, school-wide policies and procedures, and a collaborative structure for general and special educators to collectively support students’ learning and well-being as well as educators’ well-being.” 

While the results are in favor of tiered system implementation in schools, the results featured in this study should be cautiously interpreted. Data from the study were confined to only one geographical locale and only one phase of Ci3T implementation (end of the second year of implementation). 

Summarized Article:

Lane, K. L., Oakes, W. P., Royer, D. J., Menzies, H. M., Brunsting, N. C., Buckman, M. M., Common, E. A., Lane, N. A., Schatschneider, C., & Lane, K. S. (2021). Secondary Teachers’ Self-Efficacy During Initial Implementation of Comprehensive, Integrated, Three-Tiered Models. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 23(4), 232–244. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098300720946628

Summary by: Ayla Reau—Ayla is excited to help continue to grow the MARIO Framework, seeing the potential for it to impact all students across any educational context.

Researchers Wendy Oakes, Kathleen Lane, and Nelson Brunsting were involved in the final version of this summary. 

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Join the MARIO Family

We are a dedicated group of learners that are constantly seeking to improve the lives of the children we care for. Whether you are a teacher, parent, assistant, or administrator, we give you free access to the most recent special education related research and practices available. Our twice monthly MARIO Memo summarizes and shares studies from peer-reviewed journals, while our learning letters provide insights from MARIO classrooms.

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