Here’s how we’re using our online tutoring platform to break through the barriers of running a district where 78 percent of the student population is at-risk

4 ways online tutoring helps our at-risk, low-income district achieve goals


Here’s how we’re using our online tutoring platform to break through the barriers of running a district where 78 percent of the student population is at-risk

Our urban Title I district serves a population of 78 percent at-risk students and 84 percent low-income families. We were already managing low proficiency rates on math and ELA state assessments prior to the pandemic, and the move to remote learning made it even more difficult for teachers to engage with students who couldn’t be on campus.

The shifting rigor of Maryland’s College and Career Ready Standards pushed our students even further behind the curve. We knew we needed a program to accelerate learning outcomes and boost proficiency rates on MCAP/PARCC assessments while also providing academic support to students in need.

Finding the right solution

Seeking ways to innovate and drive academic growth in the face of these challenges, in 2018 we began looking for an online tutoring solution that featured content aligned to our curriculum.

We also wanted individualized and personalized instruction with student feedback; flexibility for students and teachers in terms of how and when to use the program (tutoring hours); and a research-based solution with proven results from urban districts similar to BCPSS.

Our search led us to FEV Tutor, which fit each of these criteria items, and when presenting it as a support tool to my site-level principals, the solution sold itself.

Here are four ways we’re using it to help boost achievement, solidify our students’ academic success, and even offset the new challenges presented during our recent remote learning environment.

  • Customized tutoring. For the 2018-19 academic year, our tutoring provider worked with instructional leaders at seven different schools to create customized tutoring models to drive achievement gains in math and ELA. Tutoring was delivered on-site during the school day and after school. The live instruction made it seem as if another live teacher was there to help a student. To get started, BCPSS shared students’ iReady benchmark data for our provider to analyze and identify students that would benefit most from live 1:1 tutoring and create personalized tutoring plans for individual students.
  • Improve test results. Our online tutoring platform collaborated with BCPSS’ achievement and  accountability office on a Spring 2019 MCAP/PARCC growth analysis. Math and ELA MCAP/PARCC results were analyzed across seven participating schools. The results revealed a direct correlation between participation in the tutoring and elevated MCAP/PARCC performance. For example, students who engaged in the recommended dosage of 15+ tutoring lessons scored on average 32 scale score points higher than non-participants in Spring 2019. And, those students who engaged in the recommended dosage of 15+ tutoring lessons scored on average 1.04 performance levels higher than non-participants in Spring 2019.
  • At-home help. Building on the first year’s success, we expanded our tutoring program across 20+ school sites leveraging best practices and implementation models honed at the early adopter sites. In March 2020, when the pandemic forced us to shift to a remote learning model, our tutoring partner began employing its family and student engagement team to drive participation in at-home tutoring over the coming months.
  • Reach as many students as possible. Using FEV Tutor’s services, we enrolled 4,459 students in online tutoring, delivered 10,922 live 1:1 instructional lessons, engaged 1,113 families in remote learning during COVID-19, and accelerated growth on MCAP/PARCC state assessments.

Because it works collaboratively with stakeholders within each school to provide every student with a data-driven, research-based learning plan, our virtual tutoring platform delivers sessions at any time and from anywhere. It truly serves as an extension of teacher time and instruction and is helping us tackle our current challenges while also preparing our students for future success.

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