Tag Archives: tutoring

Scanning the News on High-Dosage Tutoring (Part 2): Initiatives and Implementation So Far

“High dosage” tutoring has emerged as a common response, to help support student learning in the wake of pandemic school closures.  In Part 1 of a scan of some of the headlines on the related news and research since the start of the pandemic, Naila Shahid reported on the discussions of the emergence of tutoring initiatives, related research, and support programs, particularly in the US. This week Part 2 of the scan focuses on some of the tutoring initiatives launched in different states and questions about implementation so far. 

The emergence of high-dosage tutoring initiatives across the US

As students pile back into in-person learning settings, many school districts across the US are using COVID relief funding from the American Rescue Plan for high-dosage tutoring programs. A report from The Education Trust, FutureEd and Education Reform Now reveals that by the beginning of 2022, “at least 17 states have committed to investing in targeted intensive tutoring, at least five have committed to building statewide tutoring programs, and at least six have committed to providing state-level guidance and support targeted intensive tutoring programs.” According to the report, states that have committed to utilizing a significant portion of their funding on high dosage tutoring include: Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas. Louisiana expects to spend  $90 million of its $4.1 billion, New Mexico $176 million out of  $1.5 billion, Tennessee $200 million out of  $3.9 billion; and Texas  $1.4 billion out of $19.2 billion.  

“At least 17 states have committed to investing in targeted intensive tutoring, at least five have committed to building statewide tutoring programs, and at least six have committed to providing state-level guidance and support targeted intensive tutoring programs.”

Promising Practices, Education Trust, Education Reform Now, and FutureEd 

Among the state programs underway or proposed: 

New Jersey

Two years ago, the College of New Jersey’s School of Education, in partnership with the Overdeck Family Foundation, launched the New Jersey Summer Tutoring Corps. The program hired in-service and preservice teachers to tutor students for a minimum of 10 hours a week. The tutoring locations were YMCA and Boys & Girls Club. Tutors earned $20 to $25 per hour. The NJ Summer Tutoring Corps  provided tutoring to 2,000 students in the summer of 2021 and expanded to 42 sites in the fall of 2022. 


Tennessee proposed spending $200 million to initiate a three-year tutoring project called Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps.  That project involves 83 districts across Tennessee participating in the Corps serving 150,000 students in either Math or English language Arts.  The program primarily targets elementary students who are below the proficiency level. 


The Arkansas Department of Education has also launched an Arkansas Tutoring Corps. That initiative aims to build a system to recruit and train tutors to meet the academic needs of students in their geographic area. Total compensation for tutors is expected to be up to $3,000 in their first year and $2,500 in subsequent years. Arkansas Tutoring Corps tutors can be students enrolled in the educator prep programs in institutions of higher education, retired educators, current teachers, and community members. 


The City of Indianapolis in Indiana also planned to expand a virtual tutoring initiative as part of their effort to help students catch up on reading and math skills. According to a Chalkbeat report, the results of two pilot programs showed improvement in participating students’ math scores of 12% to 26% and English/language arts scores by 4% to 9%. 

Quality of implementation and effectiveness 

Although it is far too soon judge the effectiveness of most of these plans, despite the promise, numerous questions about the implementation and effectiveness of scaling-up tutoring programs remain. In particular, some stories are already documenting challenges and progress of implementation, including basic logistical issues that are delaying the full implementation of these programs in some places. In Chicago, for example, tutors were hired before decisions were made on who will train the tutors or how they would be trained. Lack of space for tutoring as well as scheduling have also been problematic. Recruiting and staffing also remains one of the critical challenges (Schools need tutors and mentors. Can a new federal initiative find 250,000?). According to the Hechinger Report, in Tennessee, despite strong gains for students overall, the percent of students who were reading at the lowest level on the state’s proficiency test — the students who were the focus of the state’s tutoring initiative grew from 31% to 36% over the past two years (“Early data on ‘high-dosage’ tutoring shows schools are sometimes finding it tough to deliver even low doses“). In the UK, the National Tutoring Program has also been criticized for failing to reach some of the students that need the most help, and there are similar concerns that in the US it will take longer to scale the Federally-supported tutoring initiatives than expected. As Robert Balfanz from the National Partnership for Student Success told the74​​, “We can’t mobilize fast enough. There are still some lost opportunities.”

Scanning the News on High Dosage Tutoring (Part 1): A Solution to Pandemic Learning Recovery?

“High dosage” tutoring has emerged as a common response, to help support student learning in the wake of pandemic school closures.  Naila Shahid has been scanning the tutoring-related headlines throughout the pandemic, and this week she reports on some of the discussions of the emergence of tutoring initiatives, related research, and support programs. Later this month, Part 2 of this post will describe some of the tutoring initiatives launched in different states and related questions of implementation so far. 

What is high dosage tutoring and why is there a need for it?

Over the past year, a number of news reports have highlighted the expansion of tutoring initiatives across the US and in some cases other countries. Many of these initiatives have emerged specifically to combat fears about pandemic-driven “learning loss.”  Illustrating the interest in tutoring, an EdWeek Research Center survey reported that, on average, about 40% of educators and 45% of parents say their students could benefit from tutoring to address “learning loss,” and 97% of district leaders said that they expected to offer tutoring for this purpose in the 21-22 school year. Those leaders also anticipated that about 1 in 3 students would receive tutoring (equivalent to about 17 million of the 51 million public school students in the US). If that’s the case, the total national expenditure on tutoring this year could reach over 12 billion dollars.  

The tutoring solution, EdWeek Research Center

But what makes these initiatives – often referred to as involving “high dosage” or “high impact” tutoring – different from regular tutoring? According to Kevin Huffman and Janice K. Jackson, high dosage tutoring reflects some basic principles: student groups of four or fewer meeting multiple times a week, with a trained and consistent tutor, with a focus on helping students gain ground academically, improve attendance, and connect with trusted adults for support. Drawing on recent research, the Annenberg Institute at Brown University outlined a set of design principles (related to frequency, personnel, group size, focus, etc.) they argue will help make “high-dosage” tutoring effective.  SmartBrief  also highlights in a FAQ that what they refer to as high-impact tutoring should not be remedial. Instead, it should focus on scaffolding content so students can learn new skills built on their previous knowledge.  A related overview of the research from the Hechinger Report explains that the emphasis on “high-dosage/high impact” tutoring has been influenced by studies suggesting that tutoring is most effective when “the tutors are specially trained and coached and adhere to a detailed curriculum with clear steps on how to work with one or two students at a time. As Jonathan Guryan, an economist at Northwestern University who has studied tutoring programs put it, “it is not once-a-week homework help.” 

What programs have emerged to support tutoring?

Along with the growing interest in tutoring, after the start of the pandemic, a number of organizations and funders have proposed or launched initiatives designed to provide resources, financing, and other supports for new tutoring initiatives. In March 2020, for example, Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform started the National Student Support Accelerator to help give K-12 students access to tutoring. The late Robert Slavin and researchers at John Hopkins University also proposed an Educational Marshal Plan to scale-up tutoring initiatives. Based on the AmeriCorps model, the proposal envisioned using billions of dollars in Title 1 funding to recruit and train 300,000 tutors. Relatedly, the Center for American Progress also proposed an Opportunity and Counseling Corps to consist of high school graduates, college students, and community members to tutor students in high-poverty schools. The model suggests employing up to 17,000 tutors and resident teachers and up to 12,000 social workers, counselors, and school psychologists.

 “A Tutoring Marshall Plan would provide intensive funding to enable Title I schools nationwide to substantially advance the achievement of their students who suffered mightily from COVID-19 closures and related trauma” 

Robert Slavin

More recently, in April 2022, funders like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Arnold Ventures, and the Overdeck Family Foundation helped to raise over $65 million dollars to establish Accelerate, which aims to provide district and state education leaders with technical assistance for high dosage tutoring. As part of their plans to help students recover from the pandemic learning loss, the Biden Administration also announced a plan to provide schools with  250,000 tutors, mentors, and coaches. This National Partnership for Student Success aims to bring together school districts, nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions to recruit, train, and support tutors. A search for virtual and technology-based solutions is also underway, including efforts by non-profits and private companies to utilize artificial intelligence to address the challenges of finding enough tutors.

“The majority of students could never afford a private tutor, so we wanted to build a private tutor that mimics all the qualities of a tutor. We can help personalize the attention and assess a student’s knowledge continually.” — Miral Shah, CK-12 quoted in The74

The interest in tutoring as a response to “learning loss” extends beyond the US as well. The UK, for example, announced a £350-million National Tutoring Program even before many plans got underway in the US.  In China, in conjunction with plans to crack down on private tutoring, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education has announced a plan to build an online tutoring platform where primary and middle school teachers can provide tutoring services in various forms, including one-on-one teaching, live-streaming classrooms, and pre-recorded videos. Each semester’s compensation for tutors can be up to 50,000 yuan ($7,880), and the platform is entirely free to use for students. 

South Korea

South Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology leads education reform to prevent excessive prior learning from private tutoring 

*Original article in Korean

Joongang News (September 26, 2012)

Prior learning in Korea refers to educational programs offered via private institutes, which teach above-grade-level school curricula to students in advance. Subjects are taught a year ahead of  schedule, and even three years in certain cases. South Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology announced that the excessive prior learning has caused problems in students’ cognitive, social and emotional, and educational development. The ministry has presented an outline for a new policy that plans to solve the problems through:

-Examination of public school curricula that might encourage prior learning.

-Examination of the effects of prior learning on the entrance exams for high schools and colleges.

-Exploration of the successful public school models with regard to curriculum management.

-Conducting scientific and practical research on the disadvantages of prior learning.

-Probing of private tutoring programs.

For more information:

Link to the article from the blog of the Korean Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (Korean)

Prior Learning (English)

36% of parents spend W910,000 on tutoring 

 Growing debt worries for South Korea