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Educators are eager to launch high-impact tutoring, however, they also reported that improvements were needed to ensure tutors focused on the interventions most needed by students.

Most K12 leaders would agree that high-dosage tutoring is now a key part of instruction. Most would also note difficulties with finding adequate space and funding, hiring high-quality tutors and encouraging students to attend.

Those hurdles and, more importantly, the solutions are explained by Stanford University’s National Student Support Accelerator in a new study of a large urban district and a charter system. The strategies identified should help administrators scale successful tutoring programs to help more students stay on track, the report’s authors contend.


I spent the past year visiting Jackson and eight other schools across three states and the District of Columbia to understand how and why their successful tutoring programs work and the challenges they’ve had to navigate. Our FutureEd study also included dozens of conversations with educators, school district leaders, providers, researchers and others who have turned to tutoring to combat learning loss after COVID.


This support element includes different approaches to tutoringcompetency-based instruction where students advance based on what they know rather than age; summer schooleffective use of student time on task; and linking tutor vendor payments with student outcomes like attendance, and academic learning can improve learning and accountability for results. High-dosage tutoring is an especially effective strategy for achieving significant academic improvements. The National Student Support Accelerator, a program at Stanford, is a recognized source of information for this work.


Those efforts have helped pay dividends for attendance, too. In the second study, released earlier this month, researchers with Stanford University’s National Student Support Accelerator found that students are 7 percent less likely to be absent on days they have scheduled tutoring sessions. The study, conducted over the 2022-23 school year, examined absenteeism rates of 4,478 students in 141 schools in the District of Columbia.

“There are lots of reasons why students are absent. Being disengaged in school is one reason,” said Nancy Waymack, the director of partnerships and policy at the NSSA."Tutoring is one way that students can have one more meaningful relationship in school. Tutoring can be one tool to move the needle in the right direction.”


Meanwhile, preliminary research released earlier this month found that high-impact tutoring could increase attendance. A study by the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford University discovered that Washington, D.C., students receiving high-impact tutoring were less likely to be absent on days they had sessions. 

“These results highlight the multifaceted benefits of high-impact tutoring and its potential to address the widespread problem of chronic absenteeism in our schools,” said Susanna Loeb, founder and executive director of the Stanford center, in a statement.


Preliminary research recently released by Stanford University’s National Student Support Accelerator, which is conducting various tutoring studies, found that D.C. students who participated in an intensive tutoring program were more likely to show up to school on days they had a scheduled session. Overall, the likelihood they’d miss school on tutoring days fell by 7%, researchers found.


The mayor’s announcement about the funding for high-impact tutoring — a specific kind of academic help that consists of frequent, small-group sessions — came at a citywide summit on the topic. She touted the effort’s success, including a recent Stanford University study that found that students in D.C. were more likely to attend school when they had sessions. “Last school year, we found that students enrolled in high-impact tutoring were likely to reach their math and literacy goals,” Bowser said.


Preliminary findings from research conducted by the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford University provide evidence that high-impact tutoring has positive attendance benefits for DC students. The District is also seeing early signs of academic impact as well, with at-risk students who receive the appropriate amount of high-impact tutoring nearly 7% more likely to achieve their growth goals than at-risk students receiving less tutoring, according to interim assessment data. 


INCREASING ACCESS TO HIGH-IMPACT TUTORING 

Over the past few years, finding consensus around the most effective strategies and interventions to address post-COVID learning recovery has largely been elusive. But there is widespread agreement that high-impact, or high-dosage, tutoring holds tremendous promise.  

Ideally, programs include small groups of no more than three to four students. They meet at least three times a week with a professionally trained tutor, during school hours. In addition to the high-quality materials used in the sessions, students benefit from meeting with the same tutor every week. 


Today, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) shared early findings from a study that shows high-impact tutoring (HIT) has positive attendance benefits for DC students. The preliminary findings from research conducted by the National Student Support Accelerator at Stanford University provide evidence that DC students participating in HIT were more likely to attend school on days they had a tutoring session scheduled. While the comprehensive results of this study will be published later, these initial findings highlight the potential of HIT to support stronger school attendance.

“HIT is a research-based intervention that has long been available for higher-income families. Our investment is helping level the playing field of access, and we are seeing it pay off. HIT is helping to reinforce the importance and power of consistent, positive relationships with students and the adults who support them at school,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Christina Grant. “These early findings show us what we would expect from this evidence-based intervention – one-on-one and small group, personalized high-impact tutoring sessions that are grounded in strong relationships have benefits that extend beyond improved math and literacy scores.”