Types of Classroom Interventions

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Needs can vary from learner to learner. One student may need help building foundational literacy skills, while another student may need support managing emotions when getting frustrated. Classroom interventions address students' unique academic and behavioral needs, taking into account their individual strengths and challenges.

Types of Interventions in the Classroom 

Academic Intervention 

Academic intervention, also called instructional intervention, addresses students’ academic needs. Through academic intervention, the general curriculum is supplemented to help students learn a new skill, build fluency in an existing skill, or apply skills in a new context. The purpose of academic intervention is to close learning gaps and improve academic achievement. Usually, academic intervention is provided in the subject areas of reading and math.

Assessing students allows for the identification of their specific academic needs and ensures the appropriate academic intervention is provided. Once data are collected and goals are identified, academic intervention can then be administered in many ways. Some students may receive intervention during small-group instruction within a general education classroom. Other students may need more intensive intervention and receive support through a dedicated intervention class. 

Behavioral Intervention

As the name suggests, behavioral intervention supports students in improving their behavior. Through behavioral intervention, students learn positive behavior management strategies, like developing a growth mindset. Behavioral intervention practices can help reduce classroom disruptions and create a positive learning environment for all students.

Examples of Intervention in the Classroom

To provide students with targeted and personalized academic or behavioral intervention, many schools use the MTSS, or multi-tiered system of supports, framework. Below are examples of academic and behavioral classroom interventions that fall under MTSS. 

Examples of Academic Intervention

Response to Intervention (RTI) 

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered approach that helps educators intervene before students fall behind. RTI is typically used to support students academically but can also be used to support social and emotional behaviors. With RTI, students are screened early, and students who may need additional support are identified. 

The RTI framework is typically represented as a pyramid. General core instruction is at the base (Tier 1), targeted intervention in the middle (Tier 2), and intensive intervention at the top (Tier 3). 

Tier 1 refers to core curriculum-based instruction. Therefore, all students in a general education classroom are at this tier. 

If students are not making progress in Tier 1, Tier 2 intervention is recommended. With Tier 2 instruction, students receive targeted supplemental support. Examples of Tier 2 RTI interventions are: 

  • Leading small-group instruction to preteach or review skills from a Tier 1 whole-class lesson. For example, a small-group lesson could focus on phonemic awareness, and students could work on segmenting, blending, or manipulating phonemes. 
  • Pairing students for peer tutoring, where they teach a concept to each other. For math, this can look like students tutoring each other on specific math skills, such as solving one-step equations or learning a set of geometry vocabulary terms.

Tier 3 intervention is for students who require significant, intensive intervention. Generally, these students have not responded to Tiers 1 or 2 approaches. Tier 3 intervention examples are: 

  • Using a research-based program along with core curriculum. For example, programs like Read 180 and Math 180, which offer evidence-based interventions. 
  • Meeting one-on-one with students for individualized lessons. 
  • Providing intervention in a dedicated intervention classroom. 

District leaders may wish to visualize the standard three-tier pyramid as a bell-curve distribution model instead to help them ensure they have the right curricular solutions to meet their students' needs. By breaking down groups of learners in this way, it allows educators to consider student needs on a more nuanced level.



Examples of Behavioral Intervention

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) 

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a framework that identifies early warning signs of poor behavioral outcomes in students and provides immediate intervention with a series of approaches. The objective of PBIS is to use positive reinforcement and reinforced education about behavioral expectations. PBIS fits into the MTSS framework, and students can receive Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 intervention

Like RTI, Tier 1 PBIS is geared toward all students. At Tier 1, teachers are establishing classroom norms to prevent unwanted behaviors. Examples of PBIS Tier 1 support are: 

  • Communicating positive student behavior with caregivers by calling or sending a note or email.
  • Allowing for in-class breaks to give students time to reset and refresh in between classroom activities.
  • Working with students to create classroom routines and procedure agreements that align with school expectations.

Tier 2 provides targeted support to students who have not had success with Tier 1 support. Students who are receiving Tier 2 intervention have been identified as at risk of developing greater behavior challenges. Tier 2 intervention examples include:

  • Creating a behavior contract, which is an agreement between teacher and students (and sometimes also includes caregivers) that outlines expectations for students’ behavior.
  • Using Check-In/Check-Out (CICO), in which students “check in” throughout the school day with a teacher and the teacher provides positive and corrective feedback.
  • Having students self-monitor and record their own behavior. 

At Tier 3, students receive more intensive, individualized support since they have not responded to Tier 1 and 2 supports. To improve these students’ behavioral outcomes at this tier, a functional behavior assessment (FBA) is often administered. An FBA provides insight as to why a student is engaging in a particular behavior. Based on the findings from this assessment, teachers can create a written individualized plan, called a behavior intervention plan (BIP). A BIP outlines strategies and interventions to teach and reinforce positive behaviors. 

Some of the aforementioned Tier 2 interventions, like CICO, can be used for Tier 3 intervention. Additional examples of Tier 3 PBIS intervention include:

  • Providing wraparound support, in which a team of professionals, as well as family, collaborate on an individualized plan of care.
  • Having behavior meetings with caregivers and parents.
  • Collaborating with a student’s therapist or physician.

Learn More About Classroom Intervention

This is a general overview of what intervention can look like in the classroom. Learn how to further support your students through academic and behavior intervention with the following resources:


Unlock whole-brain reading through Read 180, the leading literacy intervention program for Grades 3–12.

Explore Math 180, our revolutionary approach to math intervention for students in Grades 5–12.

Get free quick tips for bringing RTI into the core classroom.

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