Conceptualizing and contextualizing the 3-tier intervention model for inclusive education in Hong Kong

  • HO, Fuk Chuen 何褔全 (CoI)
  • MCBRAYER POON, Kim Fong (PI)
  • YUEN, Yuet Mui, Celeste (CoI)
  • LEUNG, Ka Wai (CoI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


All schools in Hong Kong receiving the Learning Support Grant (LSG) are required to adopt the 3-tier support model (formerly 3-tier intervention model) within the whole-school approach framework as the means to achieve effective inclusive education. This model is originated from the response-to-intervention (RTI) model in the U.S. that has been experimented by researchers within the framework of a systematic instruction and assessment cycle since the 1980s. After a decade of implementation, scrutiny of the conceptualization and practice of the 3-tier support model from relevant stakeholders in Hong Kong has yet to be conducted. To offer theoretical, policy, and practical insights into the 3-tier model in building effective inclusive schools, the proposed project involves two phases adopting qualitative and quantitative mixed research methods. The first phase consists of qualitative case studies through interviews and class observation to examine from principals, special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs), and core subject teachers of 16 primary and secondary schools (a) conceptualization of the model and roles of principals and middle leaders; (b) practice of the cycle of instruction-assessment and progress monitoring among teachers; and (c) participant challenges and suggestions for policy refinement, personnel preparation, and practices. A total of 32 parents of children receiving Tiers 2 and 3 services and their children will be randomly selected for interviews to gain insight into their understanding of the model and its effect on these children’s learning. Findings from the case studies and the existing literature will be used to finalize the territory-wide quantitative survey of the second phase. The effect of similarities and differences related to variables such as school size, grade levels, and number/types of students given different tiers of support will be plotted. Through capturing a territory-wide situation of how school personnel and parents conceptualize the 3-tier support model and its actual practice among core subject teachers (e.g., definition of quality teaching, decision-making and predictors for tier movements, and barriers in participants’ respective capacities), the project aims to provide much needed local data and indicators highly significant to local policy refinement, strengthening teaching quality, personnel preparation, and inclusive education practice in Hong Kong. In addition, the outcomes of this project will offer significant contribution to the international literature on cross-cultural conceptualization and practice of problem-solving multi-tiered intervention theories, as Hong Kong is the only region outside the U.S. to make such an approach the central feature of inclusive education.

Funding Source: RGC - General Research Fund (GRF)
Effective start/end date01/01/1730/06/19


  • 3-tier intervention model
  • response-to-intervention
  • inclusive education
  • Hong Kong


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