What is the Accelerator?

The National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA) is a program of the Stanford Accelerator for Learning and Systems Change for Advancing Learning and Equity (SCALE) at Stanford University. NSSA is devoted to translating promising research about how tutoring can benefit students into action on the ground. Our vision is that every K-12 student in need will have access to an effective tutor that champions and ensures their learning and success.

Launched by a diverse community of education experts and scholars from around the country, the Accelerator is building a comprehensive set of tools and resources for tutoring organizations, schools and districts that will make it possible to implement high-impact tutoring at scale. Research shows that high-impact tutoring — tutoring delivered three or more times a week by consistent, trained tutors using quality materials and data to inform instruction — is one of the most effective academic interventions, providing an average of more than four months of additional learning in elementary literacy and almost 10 months in high school math. 

Tutoring has long been available to well-resourced students. But low income students and students of color have rarely had access to the kind of intensive tutoring that could improve their learning trajectories, and previous efforts to scale up tutoring initiatives have not been successful in maintaining quality or reaching enough children who need help. The open-source Accelerator tools and resources can help ensure more equitable access to quality tutoring. These research-backed tools and supports are easy to use and downloadable, and are designed to make structuring, implementing and scaling high-quality, high-impact tutoring programs as straightforward as possible. 

The Accelerator focuses on three strands of work:

  • Catalyzing the field of tutoring by creating communities of practice, building consensus around standards, and coordinating research efforts;
  • Accelerating the growth of high-impact tutoring by providing open access tools and technical assistance to schools, districts and states interested in implementing tutoring and to tutoring providers interested in improvement;
  • Engaging and activating stakeholders to build demand and ensure funding.

Specifically, we are:

  • Synthesizing tutoring research and continually updated a tutoring Research Agenda including two sets of Priority Research Questions to focus future research;
  • Developing and sharing research-backed tools including a Toolkit for Tutoring, Tutoring Database and District Playbook for practitioners, schools, districts and states to more easily create or improve High-Impact Tutoring efforts;
  • Working with more than ten pilot sites implementing tutoring programs to learn more about what drives effectiveness, the barriers to implementation, and how to overcome these barriers;
  • Providing assistance to states, districts, tutoring organizations, and advocacy organizations to support their high-impact tutoring efforts;
  • Developing materials and webinars to share research, policy recommendations, and tools for designing and implementing high-impact tutoring programs;
  • Creating a Tutoring Quality Improvement System to assess the quality of tutoring programs and provide guidance for improvement;
  • Launching the Tutoring Educator Advisory Group to ensure the Accelerator’s tools and materials meet the needs of educators.