Tier 1 Tools

Research-based Instructional Strategies, and differentiation are an integral part of every classroom. These teaching processes should be implemented first in Tier 1, then continued through Tiers 2 and 3.

What is Differentiation?

Differentiation is a process through which teachers enhance learning by matching student characteristics to instruction and assessment. It enables all students to access the curriculum by providing appropriate entry points and tasks, tailored to student needs. Teachers can differentiate by content, process, or product, to student differences in readiness, interest and learning needs.

Why research-based strategies?

Research-based strategies and programs have demonstrated effectiveness for student learning. NCLB and IDEA 2004 both require use of scientifically-based curricula and interventions.

Tier 1 includes EVERY child in the classroom, no matter what their needs may be. In this tier, all students receive the core program. Students that may require interventions at the Tier 2 or Tier 3 levels should not receive the interventions during Tier 1 instruction.

Approximately 80% of students will have their needs met with Tier 1 instruction. Approximately 20% will require targeted interventions beyond the first tier.

Resources for Differentiation:

K-8 Access Center

Website with differentiation strategies

Differentiating in Reading

Differentiation strategies handout

Internet 4 Classrooms

Website with differentiation strategies and lessons

Resources for research-based strategies:


Florida Center For Research provides resources on research-based reading programs and interventions


Focus on Effectiveness provides resources on many of the high-impact strategies

Schools Moving Up

Provides tools and resources related to effective classroom practice