Rationale and Usage Guide


Training and ongoing coaching are characteristics of effective high-impact tutoring programs (see High-impact Tutoring: Effective and Equitable Learning Acceleration). Tutor training can impact both the quality of instruction students receive, and the retention of tutors. The Tutoring Quality Standards include these two standards related to tutor training: 

  • Tutor pre-service training: The program provides high-quality onboarding and training tailored to the program context.
  • Tutor coaching and feedback: The program provides ongoing support to tutors through coaching on using research-informed practices that foster academic success and overall student well-being.

Though few research studies explicitly focus on the correlation between tutor training and student impact, there is more extensive research based on training for teachers, which indicate the qualities of highly effective training for tutors, and its importance. Specifically, research on training for teachers shows that high-quality professional learning: 

  • Improves student academic achievement. Research by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences concludes that student achievement can improve by as much as 21 percentile points due to teachers’ participation in well-designed professional development programs. Additionally, research on content-focused professional development also demonstrates that content training, in particular, is positively associated with the effectiveness of teachers in middle and high school math, suggesting that explicit training on content instruction is one critical component of effective training for educators in general. 
  • Increases the likelihood of educator retention. Beginning teacher attrition is typically higher for teachers who have experienced less training and support. Specifically, school and staffing surveys have indicated that teachers with little or no training leave the profession at a rate of two to three times higher than those with adequate preparation. 
  • Improves educators’ ability to cope with stress and burnout. Research looking at training for teachers related to stress, burnout, technology skills, and emotional intelligence shows significant differences for teachers who received explicit training on these topics compared to the control group in their ability to cope with stress, avoid burnout, incorporate technology into instruction, and introduce emotional intelligence into the classroom. 

Additionally, research on teacher training suggests the importance of providing training to tutors both before their service (pre-service training) and once they have begun tutoring (in-service training). Specifically:

  • One study on pre-service training concluded that teachers who lack induction support leave teaching at about twice the rate of those who receive the highest-quality induction.
  • Several studies focused on in-service training found that student performance on end-of-course tests in Algebra II, Biology, Civics, Economics, Chemistry, and Geometry was significantly higher for those students taught by National Board Certified Teachers who receive significant in-service training than students of teachers without this additional on-the-job training. Research shows that educators improve by receiving ongoing support and feedback. Therefore, providing tutors with support in utilizing research-based instructional practices is likely to improve their practice and the program’s effectiveness.

This research base provides substantial evidence for the importance of training educators who work with students; as such, we can assume this benefit also applies to tutors. 

Usage Guide

The purpose of the Tutor Training Toolkit is to provide critical guidance for practitioners to consider when designing tutor training and highlight examples of tutoring programs and sessions to assist program leaders to design, improve, and source materials for tutor training. The Toolkit can be used in a number of ways:

Designing and/or improving tutor training

For tutor program leaders (including district tutoring programs) designing or improving tutor training, the following usage is suggested:

Sourcing tutor training materials

For tutor program leaders (including district tutoring programs) who have already determined their training content and design and are searching for specific training materials or modules, the following usage is suggested:

  • Use the search feature in the Tutor Training Library to identify ideas, materials, and/or modules for the topic area in which you are interested.

The Tutor Training Library can be searched by:

  • Primary Audience
  • Topic
  • Element (Cohesion, Data Use, Equity, Instruction, Learning Integration, Tutor, Safety)
  • Length
  • Developer (practitioner or researcher)
  • Tutoring Training Provider (name and characteristics of their tutoring program)