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Micro and Macro Interventions

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Nov. 11, 2020, 11:05 a.m.

A micro-intervention happens during core (Tier 1) instruction. It is a quick teacher move that anticipates and addresses students' misconceptions and misunderstandings related to the daily learning target. This quick action closes the daily learning gap and prevents bigger gaps from forming.


A macro-intervention is designed to close gaps that result from lack of learning over a previous period of time, such as from a prior unit or year. These interventions consist of small group and one-to-one instruction, coaching, and assessment.


During Tier 2, the goal is to provide teaching and time for students to master grade level standards. Many times, students are missing necessary prerequisite knowledge and skills. We gather assessment data, plan how we will assess growth and mastery, and then provide multiple learning opportunities for students who need time to master the critical grade level learning goals. We follow up with a post assessment to determine the learning and effectiveness of the intervention.


Tier 3 is different from Tier 2 in that the goal is to close critical foundational gaps. In Tier 3, student data has shown that the learner is missing foundations such as decoding, vocabulary knowledge, place value, or number sense. These students are usually 2 or more years behind in foundational learning goals. They need to work with specialists who can pinpoint the areas of challenge and use evidence-based strategies to accelerate and monitor learning.


Monitoring for learning is essential for both types of interventions and students should be part of the monitoring team. Students are asked to reflect on the daily learning and describe what they have learned and what they still need to learn. When we hear their thinking, we have compelling evidence of learning and data for moving forward.


For the last 20 years, I have worked with many schools to set up multi-tiered systems of support to close student gaps. Please email me if you'd like to schedule time to discuss your school's intervention protocols. Join me next week for the Struggling Readers Conference and in December for two days of STRENGTHENING YOUR TITLE I PROGRAM: Powerful Intervention Strategies to Accelerate Achievement for Struggling Students (Grades K-6)



Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

About The Authors

Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning.

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