The Education Week Spotlight on Tutoring is a collection of articles hand-picked by our editors for their insights on the advantages of tutoring as an academic recovery tool, how districts can expand access to tutoring, long-term investments in tutoring, initiatives that provide support to tutoring programs, tutoring strategies that combat learning loss, and more.
Pearl's data, research and analysis partners include the Annenberg Institute at Brown University with a mission to equalize and improve educational opportunities through actionable knowledge, human development and broad engagement and its National Student Support Accelerator (NSSA). Both organizations consulted with ISU and ITI in the planning and development, and establishing success metrics for the statewide tutoring program.
Research shows that high-impact tutoring can produce learning gains for a variety of students, but which tutoring designs are most effective from a cost and academic perspective? Three school districts across the country will begin data-driven experiments to answer that question and more as part of a research project led by Littera Education. The project, which is funded by a Gates Foundation grant, will use the Littera Tutoring Management System (TMS) in conjunction with assessment and curriculum from Renaissance.
Evidence suggests that, over time, tutoring in small groups is beneficial, regardless of whether children are in a rural, suburban, or urban environment. In fact, research published in 2021 by Brown University's Annenberg Institute for School Reform showed that consistent tutoring sessions can accelerate learning by two to 10 months.
Teach For America, the organization I lead, launched a tutoring initiative in fall 2020 following research that shows that high-dose, high-quality tutoring is one of the most effective ways to combat learning loss. One study that looked at the impact of having a well-trained tutor meet three times a week with a group of up to four students found it came close to providing the equivalent of nearly five months of learning. A 2021 meta-analysis from researchers at Brown University concluded tutoring has a more significant effect on student achievement than smaller class sizes, vacation or summer classes and longer school days or years.
“Our team at the National Student Support Accelerator is thrilled to contribute to this national effort to provide students with the learning experiences that they need to engage in school and to thrive. This effort to expand high-impact tutoring really is the best opportunity we have to meaningfully improve outcomes for students across the nation,” added Susanna Loeb, Director of the National Student Support Accelerator.
The other approach pairs students with one tutor for multiple virtual sessions each week. It’s similar to the kind of “high-dosage” help that’s been shown to deliver strong results in person.
The small handful of studies that have looked at virtual tutoring during the pandemic saw promising results from this variety. But offerings vary, so it’s tough to say how many students are getting that kind, said Matthew Kraft, an associate professor of education at Brown University who’s studying tutoring initiatives.
Last week, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading held a national conversation about high-dosage tutoring, an evidence-based intervention for learning loss. On the panel — along with leaders from national organizations like ExcelinEd and The Education Trust — was John-Paul Smith, the executive director of the NC Education Corps, talking about state strategies to advance equitable learning recovery.
Three local universities were awarded federally supported grants totaling more than $1.5 million to start or expand “high-dosage” tutoring programs for local K-12 students in one-on-one or small group settings, according to the Ohio Department of Education.
The department said “high-dosage” tutoring is defined by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University as more than three days per week or at a rate of at least 50 hours over 36 weeks.