- A short-burst, in-person 1:1 tutoring model has shown significant gains in early literacy for kindergarten students, according to research presented Thursday by Carly Robinson, a senior researcher at Stanford University and a member of the National Student Support Accelerator, at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in Chicago.
- For the study, the National Student Support Accelerator partnered with the nonprofit tutoring program Chapter One, which provides kindergarteners 5 to 7 minutes of individual tutoring in the back of a classroom. Tutors also monitor student progress as they independently work on tablets tracking their work.
- Some 70% of students who participated in this tutoring model reached their reading level goal compared to 32% of students who did not — a 38 percentage point difference, Robinson said. The study took place in Broward County Public Schools in Florida and analyzed progress data from 818 students across 49 classrooms during the 2021-22 school year.
This study provides hope for a novel, effective approach to delivering early literacy tutoring, Robinson said.
“We think [it] has a real potential for scale and being feasible for schools to actually implement,” Robinson said.
As students complete supplemental work alongside their short tutoring sessions, the tutor can monitor that progress through technology and further track and customize their approach during 1:1 in-person sessions. The “secret sauce” to this tutoring model, Robinson said, is that the tutor is consistently and physically in the classroom, which helps develop meaningful relationships with students.
“This sort of consistency and relationship allows for tutors to be responsive to individual student needs,” Robinson said.
The cost to implement this model ranges between $375 to $450 per student, depending on the district’s size, according to Robinson. “This is substantially lower than many in-school high-impact tutoring programs.”
“From a cost-effective standpoint … there is great potential this could be worth the money, and it’s easier to put on the budget for our schools,” Robinson said.
The pandemic sparked a surging interest in high-dosage tutoring as school leaders looked for interventions to help students recover from learning loss tied to in-person learning disruptions and staffing shortages for nearly two years.
While federal COVID-19 relief funding has helped states expand high-quality tutoring initiatives, officials are still grappling with the quality and scalability of these programs, according to a recent report by the Council of Chief State School Officers. The report found states have spent $4.2 billion in federal COVID-19 emergency funds allocated to state education agencies for tutoring and accelerated learning. One of the top barriers to scaling up these tutoring programs has been labor shortages.