At the conclusion of the first year of a four-year longitudinal study, researchers at Stanford University’s Annenberg Institute National Student Support Accelerator found that 68% of students who participated in 1:1 high impact tutoring from Chapter One met or exceeded end-of-year early literacy benchmarks, compared to 32% of students in the control group. Chapter One high impact tutoring is an ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) Tier 1 evidence-based intervention.

The latest installment also provided a detailed look at schools’ efforts to implement high-dosage tutoring, which Stanford University researcher Susanna Loeb called the “best approach that we know for accelerating students’ learning” because it offers students help from “an adult who knows them, cares about them and has the tools to address their needs.” 

She has been tracking the implementation of large-scale tutoring efforts across the country as part of the National Student Support Accelerator and called the survey results “the most comprehensive information out there” on how schools are addressing learning loss.

Rebuilding students’ self-esteem requires ongoing support from the same tutor, said Susanna Loeb, an education researcher at Stanford University. Those relationships, she said, allow students to take risks and work until they understand the material.

In the year since Cardona’s address, she said she’s seen real improvement in some district’s ability “to actually pull off harder, more intensive support for students.”

That’s partly due to her previous work at Brown University on the National Student Support Accelerator. The center summarizes important research about high-dosage tutoring — likely the inspiration, Loeb said, for Cardona’s prescription for “30 minutes per day, three days a week, with a well-trained tutor.”

“They both have the word ‘tutoring’ in them, so it seems like the same thing but it’s really not,” said Susanna Loeb, an education professor at Stanford University who has been deeply involved in research on the subject and worked with school systems nationally. Loeb said there may be benefits to opt-in tutoring for students who use it, but it is not a proven way to reach the mass of students struggling the most.

Get the insights you need on getting the most out of tutoring programs, how tutoring can help with learning recovery, connecting students with tutoring services, how districts can introduce and scale up tutoring, and recent efforts to improve the recruitment of tutors.

Susanna Loeb is named to the 2023 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings.

The metrics recognize university-based scholars in the U.S. who are doing the most to influence educational policy and practice. The rubric reflects both a scholar's larger body of work and their impact on the public discourse last year.

“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].”

“High-impact tutoring is a relationship-based tutoring. It relies on an adult to understand a student, understand their needs, be there to celebrate successes with them, be there to support them.” Susanna Loeb

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University reports that supplementing classroom instruction with high-impact tutoring “leads to substantial learning gains for students.” However, a variety of factors can influence the way educational institutions need to implement tutoring programs. To illustrate how schools or districts can customize a tutoring program to meet their specific needs, FEV Tutor has published a white paper titled “High-Impact Online Tutoring for Academic Success: An Afterschool Implementation.”

Research released last month seems to back that up. In California’s Aspire charter school network, only 1 in 5 of the middle and high school students in the study used Paper in spring 2021. But higher-achieving students were almost twice as likely to use the platform than students who’d gotten at least one D or F the prior semester — the exact students the charter network had hired Paper to help.