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Impact Evaluation of Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior

Contract Information

Current Status:

Report development is underway.


November 2013 – August 2021



Contract Number:



American Institutes for Research
Decision Information Resources
Harvard University


Students' early problem behaviors in school can be disruptive and even hinder their learning and long-term success. To prevent these incidences, schools across the country report adopting multi-tiered systems of support for behavior (MTSS-B). The MTSS-B approach seeks to change the school learning environment by consistently teaching and reinforcing good behavior for all students, and then identifying and providing supplemental support to students who need it. Given the limited evidence on which MTSS-B strategies work, this study tested an intensive program of professional development and assistance. Over two years the program provided more than 60 hours of training and help to schools, local coaches to support implementation, and data systems to track and analyze student behavior. This program was competitively selected based on its common use and promise.

  • What are the impacts on student behavior and achievement for all students? What are these impacts for struggling students?
  • What are schools' MTSS-B implementation experiences? And, is any variation in impacts related to variation in these experiences?

For this study of effectiveness, 89 elementary schools were randomly selected either to participate in the training program or to continue with their usual strategies for supporting student behavior. Data collection for both groups of schools, during program implementation, included: (1) teacher ratings of student behavior to identify struggling students and to estimate impacts on their outcomes including disruptive behavior; (2) student records to estimate impacts on these students' academic achievement, (3) staff surveys and observations of practice to provide information about behavior support and the extent of staff professional development; and (4) documentation of program implementation. The collection of student achievement data and documentation of program implementation continued for an additional year to examine if and how the schools sustained MTSS-B implementation and a key outcome.

The report for the study is expected in 2021 and will be announced on

Key findings will be available after the study report is published.