Scaling-up high-dosage tutoring is crucial to students’ academic success--here are some insights about tutoring programs for students.

5 things to know about high-dosage tutoring

Scaling-up high-dosage tutoring is crucial to students’ academic success

Key points:

The benefits of high-dosage tutoring can’t be ignored. Research shows that tutoring is one of the most effective ways to increase academic achievement, including among students from lower socio-economic households–one of the groups disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

High-dosage tutoring is a crucial strategy for student advancement regardless of a student’s abilities or where they may struggle academically.

In fact, high-dosage tutoring is a main component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Improving Student Achievement Agenda for 2024, which focuses on accelerating academic performance for every child in school. The initiative will adopt three evidence-based strategies that improve student learning: increasing student attendance; providing high-dosage tutoring; and increasing summer learning and extended or after-school learning time.

Here are 5 things to know about high-dosage tutoring:

1. Since the pandemic, students have struggled markedly in math, particularly algebra. According to NAEP Mathematics Assessment data, eighth-graders’ algebra scores were eight points lower in 2022 than in 2019. According to the Nation’s Report Card, the average eighth-grade mathematics score was lower than all previous assessment years—going back to 2003. As a gateway content area, algebra prepares students to tackle advanced study in calculus, physics, and other subjects—yet it often is a sticking point for many middle and high school students. Without a solid understanding of algebra, many students find that they get stuck in their math studies. Here are 5 ways to help students struggling with algebra learning.

2. Policymakers must take action to support states and districts in implementing high-dosage tutoring to ensure opportunities for student success. The pandemic left students, on average, five months behind in math and four months behind in reading by the end of the 2021-22 school year, with even more significant losses for students in majority-Black or low-income schools. This gap shows an increased inequality in educational outcomes across racial and socioeconomic lines. Thankfully, extensive research points toward one incredibly effective option in recovering learning loss: high-dosage tutoring. Learn more about how to implement high-dosage tutoring programs in schools and districts.

3. To truly help students build deep understanding, intervention requires the right time, place, people, and curriculum. As educators continue to work to accelerate learning for students following the pandemic, many are turning to tutoring to provide support. Tutoring is one of the most effective math interventions available for students, but the quality of tutoring varies widely. Here are 6 key steps to ensure tutoring, including high-dosage tutoring, is as effective as possible for students.

4. When this North Dakota school district analyzed student achievement data from multiple measures and through the lens of student groups, district administrators saw an immediate need to provide additional reading intervention to help students recover from the effects of the pandemic. Yet, due to staffing shortages, leaders knew they could not provide the level of personalized support each student needed. Thanks to a data-driven approach to tutoring, the district has been able to help students increase their growth and confidence in reading. Here are five strategies the district implemented to create an effective high-impact tutoring program.

5. In a review of research on high-dosage tutoring as an intervention strategy, from K-12 assessment and research organization NWEA, authors looked at the evidence on high-dosage tutoring and highlighted the benefits of using this strategy, especially in supporting at-risk students. The report also noted several “non-negotiable” factors that lead to high-dosage tutoring being used effectively to accelerate academic growth. Key takeaways from the report include: At-risk students continue to need support, especially now as the share of at-risk students has increased post pandemic; high-dosage tutoring programs can produce large gains in reading and math test scores for at-risk students (if implemented appropriately); high-dosage tutoring is effective for building foundational skills in elementary grades, and can aid struggling middle and high school students; and as part of implementation planning, districts must address barriers that hinder student access to HDT by ensuring an equitable selection criteria and offering holistic supports for student learning. Read the full report here.

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Laura Ascione
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