To the Editor:
Since kindergarten, high school students have shown up to school every day ready to learn, and we have failed them (“New Graduates’ ACT Scores Hit a 30-Year Low,” Oct. 12, 2022). According to 2022 ACT scores, only 41 percent of students are college-ready in reading. ACT CEO Janet Goodwin is correct when she says test performance is evidence of “longtime systemic failures.”
Chief among these failures has been teaching reading as a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It is not. In key grades, such as 3rd, 6th, and 9th, we must administer an individualized diagnostic assessment to measure components of literacy. Students who are reading below their grade level must receive sustained, individualized tutoring to close those gaps.
We tracked data since 2008 and found that our program’s outcomes show that “highest dosage” tutoring intervention, delivered during the school day by trained tutors in hourlong sessions five days per week, is a solution that produces results: Ninety percent of our students improve in six weeks. This type of intervention is a game changer—especially for high schoolers—not only in their ability to access curriculum across all subject matters but to improve their standardized-test scores and graduate ready to pursue college and/or workforce opportunities.
As our nation’s woeful educational outcomes demonstrate, the need for diagnostic assessment and intensive intervention has never been more urgent for our young people and our nation. If we want to graduate students with dignity and confidence, prepared for postsecondary education and a bright economic future, we must address the crisis of illiteracy with the zeal required. And we must do it now.
Co-founder and CEO
A version of this article appeared in the November 02, 2022 edition of Education Week as Students Need High-Dosage Tutoring