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Research to Identify Effective Math Tutoring Designs for Underrepresented Students Begins in U.S. School Districts

Littera Education announces districts participating in research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and partners with Renaissance to provide assessment and curriculum for the project

Wappingers Falls, N.Y. — Research shows that high-impact tutoring can produce learning gains for a variety of students, but which tutoring designs are most effective from a cost and academic perspective? Three school districts across the country will begin data-driven experiments to answer that question and more as part of a research project led by Littera Education. The project, which is funded by a Gates Foundation grant, will use the Littera Tutoring Management System (TMS) in conjunction with assessment and curriculum from Renaissance.

Littera, which was founded expressly to address inequities in public education, launched the research project with the aim of improving the implementation of math tutoring programs that support students who are Black, Latino, or experiencing poverty. 

“The pandemic not only left students months behind in math, but it widened achievement gaps for historically disadvantaged students,” said Justin Serrano, CEO and co-founder of Littera. “Federal emergency relief funding has been a tremendous help in supporting learning recovery through high-impact tutoring, but what happens when that funding ends? This grant project will provide insights into key factors that impact student achievement so districts can design sustainable tutoring programs that are outcomes-driven and cost-effective.”

Three districts will partner with Littera on this research: Charles County Public Schools (Md.), Grand Forks Public Schools (N.D.), and Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (Calif.). Each district will include more than 200 students in grades 3-9, with half participating in 1:1 and half participating in 1:3 (small group) math tutoring.

The districts will use the Littera TMS to design, deliver, and evaluate tutoring programs tailored to their students’ needs. Littera will use Renaissance’s Star Math for assessment, and Nearpod Math, a supplemental K-8 math program, for the tutoring curriculum.

“Half the battle in tutoring right now is finding top-quality resources that are rigorous, engaging, and differentiated,” said Todd Brekhus, CPO of Renaissance. “We are excited to provide comprehensive assessment and instructional tools to help these districts create student-centered learning experiences that maximize outcomes for all.”

Matthew Kraft, an associate professor of education and economics at Brown University, will lead the research and publish the findings in 2023.

“When Littera asked me to join this project as an independent researcher, I was intrigued by the idea of applying a cost-benefit analysis to high-impact tutoring,” said Kraft. “We look forward to examining how different design factors — such as session frequency or group size — impact achievement outcomes so districts can better design math tutoring programs for the students who need it most.”

About Littera 

We believe every child deserves the care and attention of a great tutor.  Littera customizes tutoring intervention for K-12 schools and districts by supporting any student, subject, schedule or staffing model. With our virtual tutors, curriculum integrations, and the Littera Tutoring Management System, schools can reach every learner with individualized support. For information, visit

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