Tutoring is an Effective Tool
After heroic efforts to keep school doors open this Fall, schools are yet again shutting down and returning to distance learning as COVID-19 cases spike across the country. With no choice but to return to remote learning, schools have struggled to support their students and provide them with the resources and education they need to succeed. Already the disease has taken a toll. That’s the bad news — the good news is that studies show tutoring is a highly effective tool to address these math gaps!
A study of data from the Netherlands conducted during the pandemic shows significant learning losses sustained from March through May, compared with learning gains observed during the same two-month period last year.
One solution is tutoring. Analysis of 96 randomized evaluations of different tutoring models found that 80 percent of the studies led to markedly improved outcomes, with more than half of the studies reporting large gains as a result of these programs. In education research, such consensus is a rarity, and the consistency and magnitude of the results are both remarkable and encouraging.
With six hours of tutoring support, improvement doubled. What’s more, the tutors seemed to play a mentoring role as well. Parents, teachers and the students themselves reported an increase in well-being, in academic goals and in social and emotional skills.
The research found that reading tutoring tends to be more effective for students in preschool through first grade, while math tutoring tends to have the greatest benefit for second through sixth graders.
Although tutoring will look different this year, we have reason to believe that any kind of support could make a difference. Research found that tutoring programs led by teachers or trained individuals, such as teachers in training, were more effective than volunteer programs.
Tutoring Addresses Math Gaps
The bottom line is that the math gaps must be addressed with students. Remember that math is the Jenga subject! The skills and concepts build upon each other to form a tower. We can’t allow those towers to topple!
Research article: Scientific American: November 4, 2020