Pierce, Corey

Committee Member

Luckner, John L.

Committee Member

Urbach, Jennifer

Committee Member

Bottenberg, Donna


Special Education


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



310 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) is intended to provide ongoing support and needs-based professional development for teachers who are (a) designing and delivering instruction, (b) administering universal screeners to identify students who are at risk, and (c) using the data those screeners generate during their instructional planning process and while making placement decisions. However, there is a lack of national consensus on the critical components of the MTSS framework, how those components should be defined, and whether individual elements have a greater impact on student reading outcomes than others. While many noted the MTSS initiative has the potential to positively impact student outcomes, research also demonstrated professional educators struggle to implement the model effectively. If the MTSS initiative is to survive deep into the 21st century, research must demonstrate it has the potential to positively impact student reading achievement, and help clarify the essential components for those vested in the implementation. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate how educator perceptions of MTSS implementation in Colorado (n = 376) related to the reading outcomes of elementary students. A secondary purpose sought to identify the individual components of the MTSS framework currently in use within Colorado to discern if individual factors of the MTSS framework impacted student reading outcomes more than others. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test this study’s hypothesized models; when viewed comprehensively, the results indicated when an MTSS framework included components associated with (a) leadership, (b) evidence-based instructional practices, (c) universal screening and progress monitoring, (d) data-based problem solving, and (e) partnerships between families and schools, student reading outcomes tended to improve. Implications of the study indicated the MTSS has the potential to counteract an important portion of the impact poverty has on the reading outcomes of students who struggle while learning to read and is an effective system that can be used by educators to have a meaningful and long-term impact on their students, their communities, and the nation at large.


Recipient of Dean's Citation for Outstanding Dissertation

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Copyright is held by the author.