Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
PBSIS Helping Schools Build Systems of Support

About 15% of students benefit from intervention and support in addition to universal prevention strategies. Secondary, also referred to as Tier 2 interventions, provides us with the mechanism to meet these needs.    Secondary tier interventions are selected based on  a match between intervention purpose and the student's need.  Typically,  secondary tier interventions are delivered in small group format which allows school personnel to leverage the resources needed to address scale of need at this intensity level.    The secondary tier intervention process includes:

  • Routinely and systematically screening for need using operationalized criteria and a pre-determined schedule
  • Intervening with an evidenced-based protocol
  • Applying data decision rules to progress monitoring data
  • And when needed, layering in intervention features to adjust adjusting intervention intensity 

There are a number of features that guide the decision-making process as you plan for the implementation of the secondary tier system for your school.  Each of these features contribute to the effectiveness of your system’s design. The first step to establishing a secondary tier intervention is to define the screening process.  Traditional I & RS teams use a passive referral, meaning that the process initiatives when someone decides that they need assistance to address the student’s need.  A passive referral process is influenced by the subjective decision making of the individual making the referral.  This is problematic for a number of reasons.  To neutralize the variability and biases that can occur with subjective decision making, we use a universal screening process with operationalized criteria.  Meaning, that everyone is screened three times a year using an evidence-based tool.  Operationalized criteria, based on the tool’s scoring procedure, are applied to the results.  We also review critical measures, such as grades, attendance, and referrals to the office, on a monthly basis to ensure that no one is missed.

Screening data is used to determine the type and intensity of intervention that is needed.  When students qualify for intervention they are enrolled quickly, within 2-5 days.  To maximize efficiency and equity at the secondary tier, we implement a standard intervention protocol for each type of intervention that is being implemented. This means that everyone starts off with the same protocol for a specified intervention (e.g., check-in system).  This is what allows us to address the greatest amount of need with the least amount of resources.  On a bi-weekly basis, decision rules are applied to daily and weekly averages of individual student data to determine if progress is being made or intervention adjustments are needed.  When progress monitoring data suggest that a student is not responding, then we adjust the intensity the intervention package by layering in additional strategies to find the right intervention balance.

On a monthly basis systems data is reviewed, including an equity analysis of response patterns to ensure that all students enrolled are benefiting from the intervention We also monitor fidelity of implementation to determine when procedural adjustments or professional development are needed.

 Universal Screening Resources

Check-in System Implementation

Additional Resources