Student Achievement Letter to the Editor

Road-Tested Tutoring Models Are Our Best Bet

March 08, 2022 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

If districts want to help students make meaningful academic gains, they need to invest in tutoring models that have been proven to accelerate student achievement. The article “Can Online Tutoring Help Schools Dig out of a Pandemic Learning Hole?” (Jan. 28. 2022) highlighted a new study regarding an online, volunteer tutoring program with college students that showed no significant impact on student achievement, having an effect size of .05.

The effect size, a meaningful indicator of gains a student is likely to make, is a crucial piece of information to consider when districts and schools are selecting tutoring models because students need our interventions to address months of lost learning. A recent report by McKinsey noted that students overall are about four months behind in math and three months behind in reading than in previous school years. More specifically, students in majority-Black schools are about five months behind in both subjects, which amounts to about 100 days of learning.

Using an established formula for understanding the relationship between standard deviation units and days of learning, a program would need an effect size of at least .17 to address this lost instruction. The pilot program’s .05 effect size is a drop in the bucket when we look at the magnitude of learning loss.

We have to bet on programs that promise big gains. There are a number of highly effective tutoring models that are replicable and scalable. School leaders would be better off choosing those.

Amanda Neitzel
Deputy Director of Evidence Research
Center for Research and Reform in Education, Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Md.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 09, 2022 edition of Education Week as Road-Tested Tutoring Models Are Our Best Bet


Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Achievement What the Research Says This One Change From Teachers Can Make Homework More Equitable
Homework policies can exacerbate inequities among students. Here's how teachers can help.
4 min read
Photo of a mom or tutor helping a young, sad girl do her homework while at home.
Student Achievement COVID Hurt Student Learning: Key Findings From a Year of Research
Our cheat-sheet tells you what the most important studies have found—and what we still need to know.
5 min read
Illustration of Covid-19 impacting 3 years of school
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and Getty Images
Student Achievement In Their Own Words Students in Military Schools Lead the Nation on NAEP Scores. One Teacher Explains Why
Reading and math scores for Department of Defense students ranged from 15 to 23 points higher than corresponding national average scores.
4 min read
Black mother, dressed in military attire, writing with her son
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Achievement Q&A The 3 Teachers on the NAEP Panel Say It’s Time to Act on Drops in Scores
The results caught the public's attention—but the teachers say that hasn't yet translated into direct action to support schools.
9 min read
Illustration of a warning symbol.
Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty