Districts across the nation use Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) to target appropriate supports for each student. High-impact tutoring is the most effective research-backed academic support – consistently demonstrating from six months to over two years of learning gains for students across grade levels and content areas in a single year of tutoring.

Districts that have chosen to integrate high-impact tutoring with MTSS are finding that embedding this highly effective support into the fabric of their schools improves student outcomes, reduces implementation challenges, improves instructional coherence, and streamlines operations.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s research arm, high-dose tutoring is the most effective—though often the most expensive.
The National Student Support Accelerator, a Stanford University center that studies effective tutoring, finds that effective high-dose tutoring programs require:

  • Tutoring integrated into the school day to increase tutor-teacher coordination and avoid transportation or time problems for students.
  • Targeting students based on academic need rather than requiring parents to opt into services.
  • Budgeting services for at least three to five days a week for extended periods of time.
  • Differentiated tutoring based on particular student needs and skills.
  • Data-gathering and progress-monitoring, particularly when schools work with outside tutoring providers.

“Research shows that relationship-based, intensive tutoring leads to positive academic growth and student success,” said Susanna Loeb, PhD, Professor at Stanford and Director of the National Student Support Accelerator. “As schools across the country navigate the ongoing challenges that COVID learning loss continues to present three years after its onset, providing educators with streamlined access to tools that support student growth can be greatly beneficial and the reason that we collaborate regularly with Pearl and are part of the Pearl ecosystem of support. Through our frequent conversations with education leaders, we know the benefit of making it easier for schools and students to access the tutoring support they need and for school systems to have the data they need to measure and drive achievement and continuously improve their programs.”

The authors partnered with school districts, tutoring providers, and quarterback organizations that support implementation of high-impact tutoring across districts in the United States to learn from their efforts in implementing tutoring. This cross-district implementation study shares a snapshot of lessons learned about common barriers to implementing highly-effective programs and the ways that districts have overcome these barriers with success. Interviewees included administrators, teachers, tutors, and other program staff from nine school districts and one charter management organization, seven tutoring providers, and six quarterback organizations that support implementation across districts. One finding is that funding and belief in the potential of tutoring are two key facilitators for the implementation of high-impact tutoring. Moreover, some of the challenges identified are related to tutor recruitment and training, data use, the scheduling of tutoring during the school day, student attendance and school-level buy-in.

“Michigan, by having their policy come out now, is certainly behind several states but ahead of probably at least half of the states, I’m sure,” said Kathy Bendheim, managing director at the National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA), a group out of Stanford University that shares tutoring research and helps create evidence-based programs. 

She said Michigan’s program incorporates “high-quality standards” in its policy but must ensure tutoring programs are actually implemented as designed.

“The urgency of the situation makes you want to do it for all kids immediately,” she said. “But what we have learned is that starting small — smaller — getting it right and building those real champions makes the expansion so much easier.”

As the main focus of Future Forward Ohio, high-dosage tutoring, which is characterized by an average of at least 90 minutes of tutoring per week, promises lasting academic improvements. Studies have shown that students consistently benefit from it, as evidenced by Stanford University's National Student Support Accelerator, which underscores its effectiveness, particularly for those lagging academically.

"Cignition's program aligns with what the research tells us are the most promising practices in high-impact tutoring, with consistent, effective tutors who develop strong relationships with students and provide engaging, personalized instruction," said Susanna Loeb, professor and director of the education policy initiative at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. "Moreover, recent studies provide good evidence that Cignition's program has been successful for the students that they reach, meaningfully improving their learning and performance on key assessments."

As dean of Bowling Green State University’s College of Education in Ohio, Dawn Shinew has watched aspiring teachers struggle to make ends meet.

Often, they can’t afford to work as unpaid student-teachers in schools while paying tuition and the usual costs of living. It’s doubly discouraging, Shinew said, because few will earn a high salary after they graduate and enter the teaching profession.

“We do have students, who, I think, would be interested, really talented, the kinds of people we want to be in classrooms, [for whom] it isn’t a matter of commitment, it’s a practical reality,” Shinew said.

To assist schools in delivering a multi-tiered system of support for all students, and its affiliate company, education services giant The Princeton Review®, are launching High-Dosage Tutoring, which will provide small group tutoring in algebra to accelerate student learning. Developed by education experts and based on the Brown University Annenberg Institute's research-based design principles, High-Dosage Tutoring provides a way for students to make rapid, significant learning gains in algebra, and for teachers to track their progress through's award-winning LEO™ platform. "Every student deserves the opportunity to succeed," said White. "With the relational, frequent, curriculum-based High-Dosage Tutoring model, algebra students who had previously struggled will gain the support they need to overcome interrupted learning and pursue ambitious academic and postsecondary goals."

The Tutor901 program provides high-impact tutoring, one of the most effective interventions for increasing the academic achievement of students who are behind grade level proficiency. Following proven practices recommended by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, tutoring is aligned to all ten dimensions the institute identifies as principles for effective tutoring design.

We need your help to provide an open-access Tutor Training Resource Library and develop new tutor training materials!

Would you be interested in making your tutor training publicly accessible through NSSA’s website?
If so, please complete this Tutor Training Resource Library Interest Form. Sharing your training materials is a great way to build awareness of your tutoring program and contribute to the field. You can also indicate interest in setting up a call to discuss this project further through this form.