The Effects of Virtual Tutoring on Young Readers: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial

In-person tutoring has been shown to improve academic achievement. Though less well-researched, virtual tutoring has also shown a positive effect on achievement but has only been studied in grade five or above. We present findings from the first randomized controlled trial of virtual tutoring for young children (grades K-2). Students were assigned to 1:1 tutoring, 2:1 tutoring, or a control group. Assignment to any virtual tutoring increased early literacy skills by 0.05-0.08 SD with the largest effects for 1:1 tutoring (0.07-0.12 SD). Students initially scoring well below benchmark and first graders experienced the largest gains from 1:1 tutoring (0.15 and 0.20 SD, respectively). Effects are smaller than typically seen from in-person early literacy tutoring programs but still positive and statistically significant, suggesting promise particularly in communities with in-person staffing challenges.

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Carly D. Robinson,
Cynthia Pollard,
Sarah Novicoff,
Sara White,
Susanna Loeb
Authors citation
Robinson, C.D., Pollard, C., Novicoff, S., White, S., & Loeb, S.
Year of Study
Study Design
Randomized Controlled Trial