- A study released Monday by the University of Chicago Education Lab of thousands of 9th and 10th grade students in Chicago Public Schools shows high-dosage tutoring can increase math test scores, as well as math course grades and grades in other subject areas. The tutoring model consisted of daily 45-50 minute, two-on-one instruction to complement in-classroom learning.
- Students who participated in Saga Education's high-dosage tutoring program learned up to an additional 2.5 years worth of math instruction within one academic year. The study also shows improvements in math test scores, grade-point averages and graduation rates continued for one to two years following tutoring.
- The study defined the nonprofit's program as "low cost," or between $3,500 and $4,300 per student per year. Researchers say the tutoring model can be replicated by using recent college graduates, retirees or career-switchers to provide personalized tutoring, according to the press release.
After a year of school closures due to COVID-19, studies show learning losses in math and reading. Especially worrying educators is the potential of a widening achievement gap, which this study shows the potential to close by up to 50% in one school year for Black and White students, according to the study press release.
In light of potential learning losses, different tutoring models have emerged as promising solutions. High-dosage tutoring is at the forefront, a model that is personalized, with specific student-to-tutor ratios of less than three-to-one.
Another approach includes embedding equal-access tutoring into the school day by adding 30 minutes to the day so tutors can work with groups of two to four students. In the model, older students, including those in college, tutor younger students.
Researchers have also lauded in-school small-group tutoring, saying it has shown gains unlike other approaches and could be adopted statewide. As of late last year, approximately 14 states were set to have such statewide tutoring programs, which have proved effective for higher-risk students in lower grades regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic standing, and also advanced students up to almost a year.
“As cities begin to rebuild from the pandemic, leaders across the country should act on these findings and make high-dosage tutoring a priority to support students," said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the press release. Jonathan Guryan, co-director at the University of Chicago Education Lab, said he hopes the study's results inform how resources are leveraged to address academic achievement gaps.
The U.S. Senate recently advanced a federal aid package including $126 billion in education funding to the House. If passed, districts must use at least 20% of the funding toward addressing students' SEL needs and learning losses.
Districts have begun to invest in or plan for academic interventions. As of January, California's Los Angeles Unified School District was paying teachers to tutor students outside of school, for example, and Maryland invested $100 million in its tutoring programs.