Learnings from Existing Research On Tutoring Implementation: Implications for District Leaders & Policy Makers

High-Impact tutoring – one-to-one or small group instruction in which a human tutor supports students in an academic subject area – has emerged as the primary strategy for addressing Covid19-induced learning interruptions. As tutoring expands nationally, what can we learn from existing research to inform effective planning and implementation?

Our recently released paper, Undertaking complex but effective instructional supports for students: A systematic review of research on high impact tutoring planning and implementation, synthesizes 40 research articles describing the implementation of tutoring programs in the United States since 2000. While previous studies summarized tutoring effectiveness research, we focus on qualitative and mixed-methods research exploring facilitators and barriers to program success. This brief highlights relevant findings for districts and policymakers interested in designing tutoring policies, building district-level implementation strategies, and identifying program features which support positive student experiences and outcomes.

District/School Leadership & Systems for Implementation

District and school leaders play key roles in effective tutoring implementation. By identifying tutoring as a priority for school space, time, and staff capacity, leaders can facilitate the implementation of essential program design features such as the frequency of tutoring sessions or a specific curricular strategy. Dedicated administrative staff also play an important role in facilitating tutoring logistics from hiring tutors to arranging schedules to creating systems for progress monitoring.