“We can’t expect all these schools to just reinvent the wheel for tutoring with all the coordination, curriculum, training, costs, and expertise it requires,” said Matthew Kraft, a Brown University professor who co-authored a new report calling for a national tutoring program. “We need to support them to do so.”
| The 74
In a working paper released this summer, University of Toronto economist Philip Oreopoulos examined evidence from nearly 100 randomized controlled trials of tutoring programs, detecting strongly positive results for academic performance in multiple subjects. Even more promising, the intervention worked — with occasionally eye-popping effect sizes — in multiple formats, even when conducted by tutors who weren’t professional educators. If paraprofessionals, trained volunteers, and even family members can deliver effective one-on-one instruction, there may be potential for the nationwide use of tutors to help students make up ground lost to COVID, as Brown professor Matt Kraft has proposed.
| Center on the Study of EducatorsEvery year, far too many students across the country begin school without a permanent teacher in place in their classroom. These teacher vacancies arise for many reasons – schools do not complete their hiring on time, teachers resign late in the summer, and new positions arise at the last minute. Regardless of the reason, vacancies and late hiring hurt students. Students whose teachers are hired after the start of the school year learn less than those whose teachers are hired earlier.
| Education Next
The substantial learning loss wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred calls for scaling tutoring programs to catch students up, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
What if we used this moment to make tutoring a permanent part of the public-school landscape?
After all, tutoring is among the most effective education interventions ever studied. The average effect of tutoring programs on academic achievement is larger than roughly 85 percent of other education interventions and equivalent to moving a student at the 35th percentile of the achievement distribution to the 50th. Private tutoring services now constitute a $47 billion industry in the United States, one analysis shows. Yet access to tutoring remains inherently unequal because it is only broadly available to those who can afford it.
High school students tutoring elementary school kids. College students working with middle schoolers. A corps of recent college graduates helping high school students. And an extra 30 minutes tacked on to the school day.
Brown University researchers say that’s how the U.S. could structure a nationwide program to help students recover from the academic disruption caused by the pandemic. Their blueprint, released Wednesday, lays out how millions of students could get access to small-group tutoring, a concept with a strong research backing.
"Our hope," Castleman and Meyer write in an email, "is that our findings on the benefits of stacking credentials reinforce policy and philanthropic efforts to support workers who have experienced job loss because of COVID to explore and pursue additional credentials that may strengthen their employment prospects in the post-COVID economy."
| Brown University Department of Education
| The Journal
The original form of personalized learning — tutoring — is about to take a giant step forward. Pandemic-era learning loss has motivated a group of national education leaders to develop an initiative to make "high-impact tutoring" available to all K-12 students, no matter whether their families can afford tutoring or not. When the National Student Support Accelerator, launched by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, is fully running, it will consist of several components...
| Education Week
Into this breach has stepped the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, which late last week announced the launch of its National School Support Accelerator. Partly a hands-on tutoring initiative and partly a research project, Annenberg is funding a variety of demonstration tutoring sites throughout the United States to study and refine what we know about tutoring. Eventually, it wants to spin off the project into its own organization.
"The trick, I think, is that when you scale something it's not as good as it is initially," said Susanna Loeb, the director of the Annenberg Institute. "How can we be careful so it scales at quality? What kind of resources are available so we know that it's quality, and they're doing it in a way that the research shows is most effective? That's really what this organization is aiming to do."
| The New York Times
In May, researchers at Brown University looked at existing data on learning loss related to traditional types of school closure — absenteeism and summer breaks, for example — to estimate the impact of school closure under these extraordinary circumstances. Their projections found that students would return to school this fall with approximately two-thirds of the reading gains relative to a regular school year and about a third to a half of the learning gains in math. The top third of students, though, those with houses full of books and hyperengaged parents, were likely to return with reading gains.