Standards-Aligned High Quality Core Instruction


Standards-Aligned High Quality Core Instruction

Equitable access for ALL students to evidence-based, standards-aligned core instruction (Tier 1) lies at the very heart of effective and sustainable tiered systems. Tier 1 is primary instruction and most student s are expected to only need primary, school-wide supports and strategies. Within a tiered system, the “health” of core instruction is typically monitored relative to the needs and growth of students using a continuum of reliable and valid data sources such as universal screening, progress-monitoring, benchmark and formative assessments to include practitioner clinical judgment. Teams of general education teachers often work collaboratively to design and deliver Tier 1 classroom instruction and integrate evidence -based academic, behavioral, and social-emotional practices and then monitor their effectiveness.

With respect to Tier 1 and tiered systems in general, educators must develop a sophisticated skill set that includes the ability to differentiate instruction and provide ALL students, including students with complex support needs, with meaningful access to high expectations and rigor within the context of grade level standards/curriculum. A system must be in place to monitor fidelity of instruction and intervention to include a mechanism for providing ongoing feedback, so that practices are uniformly implemented within and across classrooms.

In most schools, 80 percent of the resources are allocated to Tier 1, so if only 40 percent of students in Tier 1 are proficient and 80% of the resources exist in Tier 1, it will not be possible for the remaining resources to compensate for 60 percent of the students, no matter how effective supplemental intervention may be. Please refer to the RTI Action Network: What’s Your Plan? Accurate Decision Making within a Multi-Tier System of Supports: Critical Areas in Tier 1 for more information.



Pennsylvania’s Standards Aligned System (SAS ), developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, is a comprehensive, researched-based resource to improve student achievement. SAS identifies six elements that impact student achievement: Standards, Assessments, Curriculum Framework, Instruction, Materials & Resources, and Safe and Supportive Schools. Schools and educators across Pennsylvania are supported in their efforts to implement SAS by the development of a state-of-the-art portal.

Pennsylvania’s Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS ) is a statistical analysis of Pennsylvania (PA) state assessment data, and provides Pennsylvania districts and schools with growth data to add to achievement data. This lens of measuring student learning provides educators with valuable information to ensure they are meeting the academic needs of groups of students.  PVAAS is one of the tools in the cadre of tools provided to districts from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Districts, schools and teachers are using PVAAS (growth data), in conjunction with achievement data, to make sure students are on the path to proficiency and beyond. Utilizing all the data available (growth and achievement), educators are able to make data-informed instructional decisions to ensure the academic growth and achievement of all students.

Pennsylvania Career Ready Skills

Pennsylvania’s Educator Effectiveness

Pennsylvania’s State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP)
PaTTAN - SSIP Resources



The Collaboration for Effective Educator Development

CAST: Universal Design for Learning

Center on Instruction

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. New York, NY, US: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

IES Practice Guides

National Implementation Research Network

National Institute for Direct Instruction

National Instructional Materials Access Center

Home - Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Danielson Group: The Framework for Teaching


National Center for Systemic Improvement

Campus RTI/MTSS Implementation and Data Driven Decision Making

University of Kansas Direct Instruction

NWEA: Teach, Learn, Grow

Teaching Channel Website


Content Specific Resources for Enhancing Core Instruction



Children of the Code

National Center on Improving Literacy

Florida Center for Reading Research

RAND: Education and Literacy

Writing Next

International Dyslexia Association’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading

Reading 101 for English Language Learners

Effective Literacy and English Language Instruction for English Learners in the Elementary Grades

Collaborative Strategic Reading

Reading Rockets

International Dyslexia Association

Teaching Secondary Students to Write Effectively

Literacy How




National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

US Department of Education

American Psychological Association

Evidence Based Intervention Network

Illustrative Mathematics

Achieve the Core

Achieve the Core - Coherence Map

National Center on Intensive Intervention

Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP)
Bridging Research, Practice, Design in Education | SERP Institute

National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)
Index - National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (

Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics (PCTM)



PDE Stem,%20Technology,%20Engineering,%20Mathematics%20(STEM)%20Education%20Guidelines.pdf

Penn State Center for Science and the Schools

Computer Science for All (CSforAll)

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)


STEM Ecosystems

STEM Works


National Geographic

Improving Science and Vocabulary Learning of English Language Learners


“Standards-Aligned Core Instruction” Team Discussion

  1. Describe an example of how general education teachers typically implement differentiated and flexible core instruction/intervention that communicates high expectations for all students.

  2. Describe how teachers ask students to respond and how they provide corrective feedback to students when answers are incorrect (i.e., please consider evidence that may be present in fidelity checks, action plans, building goals, classroom observations, etc.).

  3. Describe the process for monitoring fidelity of and differentiation within core instruction.

  4. Indicate the degree to which a specific grade level team has improved student performance over the past 2 years.

  5. Describe formative assessment techniques embedded within lesson design and used to inform evidence-based instruction in real time to improve student learning.

  6. Reflect upon the above example of an area in core instruction identified by a grade level team as needing adjustment/refinement and the data used to reach this conclusion.

  7. Identify 2-3 resources that educators frequently use to assist with selection and implementation of robust instructional practices to improve core instruction.

  8. Describe resources or processes used to align curriculum within and across the tiers.




MTSS: A Focus on Evidence-Based Early Literacy Practices

MTSS: A Focus on Evidence-Based Writing Practices

MTSS: Evidence-Based Secondary Literacy Practices

What is the Research and Its’ Implications on Early Intervention in Reading?