3 Tiers of Intervention

Attendance Works recommends a three-tiered approach that starts with foundational supports for the whole school. These foundational supports are followed by prevention-oriented supports (Tier1), more personalized outreach (Tier 2) and intensive intervention (Tier 3).

The Three Tiers of Intervention
  • Foundational strategies are practices for the whole school that prevent student absenteeism by establishing a strong school community, building relationships and ensuring effective communication.

  • Tier I strategies are aimed at encouraging better attendance for all students and at preventing absenteeism before it affects achievement.

  • Tier II interventions are designed to address barriers to attendance for students at greater risk of chronic absenteeism, such as those who missed 10% of the school year, the standard definition of chronic absenteeism. These students and families should receive personalized attention as part of the engagement strategy.

  • Tier III approaches provide intensive support to students missing the most school, often involving not just schools but other agencies such as health, housing and social services, and typically requiring case management customized to individual students’ challenges. Such students miss 20% or more of the school year.

Foundational Supports. The pyramid graphic (below) shows how the 3 Tiers of Intervention sit on top of foundational supports. We believe that these foundational supports are the building blocks of good schools that promote attendance. 

Some supports, such as access to computer equipment, internet connectivity, access to learning support for students, and support for families to help them facilitate learning at home are even more fundamental when instruction is remote. When resources are not in place, it is the responsibility of the school and community to put them in place.

Find examples of intervention practices that schools and districts should try at each tier.

Examples of Tiered Practices

What Activates Support at Each Tier?


Fill in your own 3 Tiers worksheet

See an example of how to fill out the worksheet

Don't wait until Tier 3!
  • Invest in universal prevention strategies
  • Monitor attendance data
  • Intervene early
  • Initiate personalized outreach to the student and family before the absences add up