Documenting Tier 1/Classroom Interventions

When general-education students begin to struggle with academic or behavioral issues, the classroom teacher will typically select and implement one or more evidence-based intervention strategies to assist those students. But a strong intervention plan needs more than just well-chosen interventions. It also requires 4 additional components (Witt, VanDerHeyden, & Gilbertson, 2004): (1) student concerns should be clearly and specifically defined; (2) one or more methods of formative assessment should be used to track the effectiveness of the intervention; (3) baseline student data should be collected prior to the intervention; and (4) a goal for student improvement should be calculated before the start of the intervention to judge whether that intervention is ultimately successful. If a single one of these essential 4 components is missing, the intervention is to be judged as fatally flawed (Witt, VanDerHeyden, & Gilbertson, 2004) and as not meeting minimum RTI standards.

Teachers need a standard format to use in documenting their ‘Tier 1’ (classroom) intervention plans. The attachment Documenting Tier 1 (Classroom) Interventions: A Sample Form at the bottom of this page is a teacher-friendly form that includes the essential RTI elements of an effective intervention plan. The form includes space to document:
  • Definition of up to two student academic or behavioral problems. The most significant step in selecting an effective classroom intervention is to correctly identify the target student concern(s) in clear, specific, measureable terms (Bergan, 1995). The teacher selects no more than two student concerns to address on the intervention plan.
  • Intervention description. The teacher describes the evidence-based intervention(s) that will be used to address the identified student concern(s).
  • Intervention delivery. The teacher writes down details necessary for implementing the intervention in the classroom (e.g., where and when the intervention will be used; the adult-to-student ratio; how frequently the intervention will take place; the length of time each session of the intervention will last; materials needed for the intervention, etc.
  • Checkup date. The teacher notes the date at which the intervention will be reviewed to determine whether it has been sufficiently effective. NOTE: For academic interventions, it is advisable to allow at least 4 instructional weeks before deciding whether the intervention has been effective.
  • Assessment data. For each intervention, the teacher selects the type(s) of classroom data that will be collected formatively throughout the intervention period to judge its effectiveness. For each data source, in turn, the teacher collects baseline data on student performance—and calculates an outcome goal that the student is expected to attain if the intervention is successful. (During the period in which the intervention is in effect, the teacher collects ongoing data to judge student performance and attaches that data to the classroom intervention documentation form.)
While a Tier 1/classroom intervention documentation form is a helpful planning tool, schools should remember that teachers will need other resources and types of assistance as well to be successful in selecting and using Tier 1 interventions. For example, teachers should have access to an ‘intervention menu’ that contains evidence-based strategies to address the most common academic and behavioral concerns and should be able to get coaching support as they learn how to implement new classroom intervention ideas. A future blog entry will review necessary Tier 1 teacher supports in greater detail.


  • Bergan, J. R. (1995). Evolution of a problem-solving model of consultation. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 6(2), 111-123.
  • Witt, J. C., VanDerHeyden, A. M., & Gilbertson, D. (2004). Troubleshooting behavioral interventions. A systematic process for finding and eliminating problems. School Psychology Review, 33, 363-383.