School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Linda Holcomb


academic, behavior, interventions, supports, Title I


Educational Leadership


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenology was to understand educators’ perceptions of the impact of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) interventions on students’ academic achievement and disruptive behavior, as well as their perceptions of barriers that may undermine the impact of these interventions. Despite the implementation of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) and interventions known as response to intervention (RtI) and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), students at the study site schools, a Title I elementary school and Title I high school in rural North Carolina, continued to demonstrate academic underachievement and behavioral problems. With the implementation of intensive interventions, academic and behavioral problems persisted. MTSS was defined as an evidence-based, tiered system of interventions and supports aimed at improving students’ academic achievement and behaviors. The study was theoretically guided by Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) and Skinner’s operant conditioning theory. Data were gathered via questionnaires, participant journals, and open-ended interviews with 12 educators at two study site schools. All data were thematically analyzed. This study focuses on the following themes: perceived impact of MTSS, RTI, and PBIS; implementation fidelity is important; perceived barriers to implementation fidelity; and strategies to improve MTSS implementation fidelity. This study includes insights into educators’ perceptions of the academic and behavioral impact MTSS has on students, as well as educators’ implementation of the intervention.