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Using Formative Assessments to Design Tier 1 and Tier 2 Intervention Groups

  • by Kelly Harmon
  • Nov. 11, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

By Ashley Taplin


As I think about interventions, I am reminded of a quote by Mike Mattos in which he says, “the best intervention is prevention.” When interventions are embedded within daily formative assessments, students can see that learning is an ongoing process. Below are some strategies that can be used virtually or in-person, and give both students and teachers clear next steps for learning.


Designing Intervention Groups with Exit Slips: One strategy that was shared in Corwin’s Distance Learning Playbook is specifically designing student groupings based off of exit slip responses. To do this, the teacher shared that at the end of a lesson he asks his students to choose one of the of 4 options below.


  1. I’m just learning (I need more help)
  2. I’m almost there (I need more practice)
  3. I own it! (I can work independently)
  4. I’m a pro! (I can teach others)


Then, at the start of the next class, he creates virtual breakout rooms with 2’s and 3’s mixed together and 4’s sprinkled throughout. He gives those rooms parallel problems for students to work on together and meets in a separate breakout room with 1’s. It is there that that he is able to reteach, uncover unknowns, and clear up misconceptions. I love this intervention model that provides a safe space for learning and focuses on a growth mindset and collaboration. Furthermore, when he brings students back, he asks the question “what are you learning about yourself as a learning,” which allows students to become more self-aware, a pillar of SEL. (Fisher, Frey, Hattie-The Distance Learning Playbook; CASEL).


3-2-1 Strategy: Using a 3-2-1 structure (3 things you learned, 2 things you found interesting, and 1 question you still have) is another way to check for understanding and provide direction for interventions. As a scaffold, teachers could reference the success criteria for the lesson to help students identify specific learning and lingering questions. I created this GoogleSlides template to use with students virtually that allows the teacher to include their own learning targets and success criteria on the first slide and gives students the ability to type in their responses on the second. Click here to make a copy to your Drive.


Check out Ashley's upcoming BER seminar Increase Student Perseverance to Improve MATH Learning!



Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

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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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