Learn More: Academic Tutoring

What is Academic Tutoring?

Academic tutoring is a form of teaching, one-on-one or in a small group, towards a specific goal. High-impact tutoring leads to substantial learning gains for students by supplementing (but not replacing) students’ classroom experiences. High-impact tutoring responds to individual needs and complements students’ existing curriculum. Research from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University recommends that academic tutoring programs 1) have tutors that are well-trained, or are teachers, retired teachers, or teaching candidates; 2) have tutors that have time for planning and collaboration with classroom teachers; 3) offer tutoring three times per week, for 30 minutes per session (“high-dosage”); 4) align with an evidence-based curriculum; and 5) occur at school during the school day whenever possible.

Technical assistance for academic tutoring at the Hub will be led by Accelerate and the National Student Support Accelerator.

Why Implement Academic Tutoring?

For years, families with financial means have hired tutors to support their children and help them through tough academic periods or catch up when they fall behind. In fact, approximately $47 billion was spent on tutoring in the US in 2020 (Global Industry Analysts, 2020). Recent research shows us why. Tutoring, when provided in high-dosage with a consistent tutor in small groups with instruction driven by data, has shown to provide substantial benefits for students (Nickow, Oreopoulos and Quan, 2020). When compared to other school-based interventions in high school math, such as technology support and professional development, high-impact tutoring results in over three times the learning gains with more than a year of additional learning for some programs (Cook et al, 2015; Lynch et al, 2019; Salvin et al, 2009).

Rarely do we have so much evidence pointing to the promise of a specific approach. Researchers have performed over 150 random control trials showing positive effects of tutoring across grade levels and subject areas with effects ranging from half a year to more than a year of learning over one academic year of tutoring in most cases. For students from lower income families, tutoring is one of the most impactful educational approaches. A 2017 study examined interventions that aimed to improve the educational achievement for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds in elementary and middle school. Of all the interventions examined, tutoring was both the most common and the most effective (Dietrichson, Bøg, Filges, Klint Jørgensen, 2017).

See Academic Tutoring In Action

Learn More! Additional Resources

The resources below provide additional information on academic tutoring.

The Transformative Potential of Tutoring for PreK-12 Learning Outcomes: Lessons from Randomized Evaluations Summary of Findings

Andre Joshua Nickow, Philip Oreopoulos, and Vincent Quan, J-PAL North America

In the United States, millions of students are behind grade level. In 2019, only 41 percent of fourth graders were considered “proficient” in math

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Promising Practices: High-Impact Tutoring: Saga Education

National Center for Learning Disabilities

High-impact tutoring, sometimes referred to as “high-dosage tutoring,” is defined as one-on-one or small group instructional programming by teachers, paraprofessionals, volunteers, or parents at least three times a week for 50 hours a semester.

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Accelerating Student Learning with High Dosage Tutoring

EdResearch for Recovery, Carly Robinson, Mathew Kraft, and Susan Loeb, Annenberg Institute at Brown University

Tutoring is most likely to be effective when delivered in high doses through tutoring programs with three or more sessions per week or intensive, week-long, small-group programs taught by talented teachers.

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Funding Tutoring Programs

National Student Support Accelerator

While tutoring is cost-effective, it is also costly. However, significant funding is available, with more to come through pending COVID-19-related legislation. In many cases, successful high-impact tutoring programs will pursue, access and combine funding through several sources… 

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Tutoring Cost Calculator 2.0

National Student Support Accelerator

This tutoring cost calculator is intended to help districts and schools walk through key design features that drive tutoring costs. It is based on a review of the academic literature on tutoring that includes information on program costs as well as data collected from interviews with a range of existing tutoring organizations… 

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Short Presentation of Evidence of Effectiveness and Characteristics of High-Impact Tutoring

National Student Support Accelerator

High-Impact Tutoring: An Equitable, Proven Approach to Address Pandemic Learning Loss and Accelerate Learning

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Strategies for Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Address the Impact of Lost Instructional Time

 U.S. Department of Education

With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP Act), local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools have significant federal resources available which should be used to implement evidence based and practitioner-informed strategies to meet the needs of students related to COVID-19.

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Early Lessons from Implementing High-Impact Tutoring at Scale

Sara White, Megan Carey, Annie O’Donnell, Susanna Loeb, National Student Support Accelerator

Many education leaders are turning to high-impact tutoring to accelerate student learning and compensate for interrupted instruction due to COVID-19.

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The Impressive Effects of Tutoring on PreK-12 Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence

Andre Joshua Nickow, Philip Oreopoulous, Vincent Quan, Annenberg Institute at Brown University

Tutoring—defined here as one-on-one or small-group instructional programming by teachers, paraprofessionals, volunteers, or parents—is one of the most versatile and potentially transformative educational tools in use today. 

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Policy Considerations for Tutoring

National Student Support Accelerator

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted schooling across the country, leading to substantial learning loss for students, especially for students living in poverty and from communities of color. In fact, 70% of parents are worried that reduction in learning during the pandemic will have a lasting effect, with 68% concerned about their child staying on track in school...

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Key Considerations for Designing High-Impact Tutoring Programs: Learning from NCLB Supplemental Education Services

National Student Support Accelerator in Partnership

Researchers, across multiple studies, find that tutoring can dramatically accelerate student achievement in both math and reading. However, previous efforts to expand access to tutoring through federally-mandated Supplemental Education Services (SES) under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 show little to no effect on student outcomes. Now with over a billion dollars in federal covid-relief funding slated for tutoring, what can we learn from districts’ experiences with SES to do better this time, so that this new tutoring lives up to its promise for students? 

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High Impact Tutoring: Equitable and Effective Student Learning Acceleration

National Student Support Accelerator

Rigorous research provides evidence that tutoring, with specific characteristics, produces large learning gains for a wide range of students, including those who have fallen behind academically.

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Saga Education in Chicago Public Schools: High-dosage tutoring to improve student outcomes in math

Results for America

For years, many Chicago Public Schools experienced poor academic performance, low graduation rates, high levels of violence, and below-average employment outcomes. By 2011, there was growing recognition that new interventions were needed.

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Female student (right) helps another student in precalculus class

Research Backed Definition of Tutoring

National Student Support Accelerator

Tutoring is a form of teaching, one-on-one or in a small group, towards a specific goal. High-impact tutoring leads to substantial learning gains for students by supplementing (but not replacing) students’ classroom experiences. High-impact tutoring responds to individual needs and complements students’ existing curriculum.

Read More

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Educator Guide: High Impact Tutoring Advocacy

National Student Support Accelerator in Partnership with the Tutoring Advisory Group.

Tools and materials to support educators in advocating for high-impact tutoring in their district. This Guide includes: Sample emails, program examples, FAQs, Presentations, talking points, and a one-pager.

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High-Impact Tutoring Standards

Developed by an Advisory Group of leaders in Tutoring Research and Practice

The TQIS quality standards are aligned with the Accelerator’s Framework for High-Impact Tutoring and were developed by the TQIS Advisory Group. These quality standards will be updated regularly to reflect new learnings.

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