Multi-tiered systems of support for preschool-aged children: A review and meta-analysis

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28 Scopus citations


Multi-tiered systems of support have been a prominent focus of research and practice in grade-schools given that they provide a proactive model through which struggling students may receive targeted interventions without the need for a special education label. In early childhood education there are factors that have inhibited the implementation of these tiered support systems. To overcome these obstacles, researchers have developed and are currently evaluating different multi-tiered systems of support that are specific to the settings, service delivery models, and curricula in early childhood education. Given the rate at which departments of education and accreditation agencies are presently creating system-wide tiered support systems for early childhood education, we conducted a review of the available literature on multi-tiered systems of support in early childhood education to provide stakeholders with guidance on development and implementation. Our findings indicate that tiered support systems targeting social–emotional development were most successful. Methodologically rigorous designs evaluating tiered support systems targeting literacy and language outcomes found marginal evidence of effects. Given variable findings, we are cautious in our recommendations for individuals involved with multi-tiered systems of support in early childhood education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-308
Number of pages13
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • MTSS
  • Multi-tiered systems of support
  • Preschool
  • Response to intervention
  • RTI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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