Out-of-school time (OST) tutoring programs are those programs that occur before school, after school, or during non-school days, such as during the summer.

Research shows that high-impact tutoring is unusually effective for accelerating K-12 student learning. In fact, it is more effective than other tested interventions and is effective across grade levels and content areas. While the most effective programs occur during the school day, out-of-school tutoring programs can be effective if the necessary structures and systems are in place to ensure student participation and engagement. If students are already attending OST programs and do not have access to a strong tutoring program during the school day, they could benefit significantly from high-impact tutoring provided during out-of-school time.

OST Playbook's Structure

This Playbook has four sections and a tool appendix:

Section 1: Program Design: guidance for making decisions about your program’s model and determining its focus

Section 2: Program Implementation: guidance for putting your program’s model into practice effectively with sections on Tutors, Data Use, Instruction, and Learning Integration with Equity, Safety and Cohesion woven throughout

Section 3: Challenges and Recommendations: description of typical challenges and solutions to implementation

Section 4: Sample OST Provider Tutoring Program Profiles: examples of a variety of OST high-impact tutoring programs

Tool Appendix: comprehensive list of all tools available, organized by the elements of high-impact tutoring

For the purposes of this playbook, NSSA defines out-of-school time (OST) tutoring programs as those programs that occur before school, after school, or during non-school days, such as during the summer. These programs may include, but are not limited to, community-based programs that provide multipurpose, specialized, or academic instruction for students; district-run programs that rely on teachers and other caring adults to provide instruction; and provider-led programs that occur outside of the core instructional day. OST programs play a critical role in supporting student learning (please see The Value of Out-of-School Time Programs). High-impact tutoring is one way OST providers may consider enhancing their existing programs.

This Playbook aims to support OST providers and networks that support OST providers (e.g., afterschool networks, national affiliates, state service commissions) that are interested in expanding or beginning to offer high-impact tutoring programs. While OST staff members are the primary audience, state education officials, school district staff, and school administrators can leverage many of the resources in this Playbook.

This Playbook draws from research and from the deep knowledge of experts from OST programs, districts, tutoring programs, and elsewhere across the country. It is one of several interrelated research-backed tools NSSA provides to make it easier for OST programs, states, districts, schools, and nonprofits to develop and implement high-impact tutoring programs with quality. You will find references in this Playbook to these additional NSSA tools:

  • District Playbook – set of practical tools for districts to build or buy a tutoring program, including many resources to address how to implement the program.
  • Research Agenda — synthesis of tutoring research highlighting the drivers of impact.
  • Toolkit for Tutoring Programs — set of practical tools for practitioners and districts that want to develop or improve a high-impact tutoring program.
  • Tutoring Database — searchable database of over 300 tutoring programs that allows districts and schools to identify potential tutoring providers. Click here to add your information to this database.
  • Higher Education Institution Toolkit - set of practical tools to support Higher Education Institutions in partnering with school districts to offer high-impact tutoring programs.