Statewide Demonstration Project: An Analysis of Statewide MTSS Data. California Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (CA MTSS) is a statewide initiative to scale-up the implementation of MTSS and positively impact students’ academic achievement, social and emotional well-being, and reduce discipline exclusions and increase attendance. The purpose of the MTSS data analysis is to provide a statewide demonstration of impact through two studies: (1) A psychometric evaluation of the Fidelity Integrity Assessment (FIA) and (2) a post-hoc quasi-experimental design analysis of school-level CA-MTSS impacts on achievement, suspensions, and absenteeism. Phase 1 of CA MTSS began in 2017 and included three cohorts of schools. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools were significantly impacted and data from the 2019-2020 school year onward experienced disruptions in all facets of education. Therefore, the studies focused on the last school year of uninterrupted data. Key findings include:
Overall, we found no immediate impacts on reading and math achievement or for suspensions. These results are not surprising given that the CA MTSS initiative had only begun three years prior and much of the professional development and support was targeted at building district capacity to support school-level MTSS implementation and, therefore, it is likely too early to understand school-level impact. Further, actualizing impacts on academic achievement requires sustained implementation efforts. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and school closures, data after the 2019 school year are unlikely to reflect change resulting from MTSS implementation.
The results of the chronic absenteeism analysis are promising and suggest that CA MTSS is having an impact on student attendance. The impact may be due to increased school climate, better teacher-student relationships, better family-school connections, or other, unmeasured school effects from MTSS implementation. Although the finding for the FIA was in the opposite direction, note that very few schools implemented MTSS with high levels of fidelity on the FIA, therefore, the increase in chronic absenteeism does not reflect a comparison between implementation with and without fidelity. Perhaps most encouraging is that the impact on chronic absenteeism appears to be at the high school-level. Students in high schools implementing MTSS are significantly less likely to be chronically absent.