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High-Dose’ Tutoring Boosts Student Scores. Will It Also Work Online?

Aug 1

19th June 2023, 09:21 GMT Ms. Karen Nelson | Education Staff Writer


Last year, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) revealed significant drops in maths scores for fourth and eighth graders, sparking concerns over how to help these students catch up. A potential solution comes in the form of "high-dose" tutoring, an intensive method of small-group study that takes place several times a week.


Research published this spring in the American Economic Review by academics from the University of Chicago highlighted the efficacy of this approach. They conducted two randomized controlled trials involving Saga Education's tutoring within Chicago Public Schools. The study demonstrated substantial improvements in maths scores (0.18 to 0.40 standard deviations) among low-income ninth and tenth graders, with enhancements also noted in other subjects. Crucially, these improvements persisted for one to two years after tutoring.


Saga Education is a non-profit that specializes in high-impact tutoring. The organization concentrates on integrating tutoring into the standard school day, ensuring high-quality instructional content that aligns with grade-level standards, and supporting classroom teachers in the process. Schools fund Saga, often via grants, to utilize their design and tutoring support services, including the organization’s tutoring "fellows."


The study confirmed that high-dose tutoring can be effective, indicating that the improvements are replicable using state metrics, according to Jon Baron, a former chair of the National Board for Education Sciences and former vice president of evidence-based policy for Arnold Ventures. High-dose tutoring is sensitive to details such as the tutor's identity and the curriculum, making Saga's approach particularly effective.


Another study of Saga's work is exploring a tutoring model that combines technology with in-person tutoring. Saga contends that this will be key to integrating tutoring into the education system's structure. Preliminary results suggest this model is working effectively.


However, the push to deliver quality tutoring to K-12 students nationwide has hit roadblocks. A federal survey from December shows that only 37% of schools offer high-dose tutoring, and the billions spent in federal funding to secure tutoring in schools hasn't sufficiently countered the learning decline. Additionally, the number of students actually receiving tutoring is lower than it might initially seem, with, for instance, less than 1% of students in Philadelphia being tutored, despite a $3 million district pledge to tutoring providers.


Saga co-founder AJ Gutierrez has raised concerns about how schools interpret evidence-based tutoring. The phrase is often misunderstood, leading to unproven models being marketed as of of high-dose tutoring. While this situation is improving, ambiguity still exists around the term's use and understanding.,60-sheffield-terrace,-london,-england,-w8-7na,-united-kingdom-/YKMAP2CjAA.html[email protected],41-clerk-st-newington,-edinburgh-eh8-9jq-~lWNAPpVjQA.html,grand-arcade,-st-andrews-st-cambridge-cambridgeshire-cb2-3bj-SFWNAEhVjQA.html