Many districts have invested in online tutoring as an academic recovery strategy, partly because staffing shortages make it difficult to find in-person tutors.
But research says it will take more than on-demand homework help for most students to make academic gains. That’s because online homework help doesn’t ensure a consistent relationship between student and tutor and often has low engagement.
There are ways for districts to optimize the impact of online tutoring, however. And, if done well, online tutoring can help schools reach more students through services with multiple languages, flexible schedules, and the ability to get help from home.
“Online tutoring doesn’t have to mean after-school tutoring; it doesn’t have to mean opt-in tutoring,” said Susanna Loeb, the director of the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, which has produced research on effective tutoring practices. “It really can be very similar [to in-person tutoring].”
Here’s how districts can ensure they get the most out of online tutoring programs.
- Be strategic about who receives tutoring
- Develop relationships with consistent tutors
- Ensure tutoring is high-dosage and done during the school day
- Involve teachers
- Evaluate throughout the school year