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The Power of District-Based Tutoring Initiatives

districtsThe Power of District-Based Tutoring Initiatives

January 29, 2022

To address the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has leveled against educators and students, school districts around the country are turning to a proven support system: tutoring.

In Newark, New Jersey, in the face of pandemic-related school closures, only 11% of students were meeting grade-level state expectations in reading, and only 9% in math. Alarmed by this trend, and in response to concerns from parents and educators, leaders from across multiple sectors - the city’s largest church, a public charter school, and a local children’s foundation - came together in September 2021 to establish the Newark Unites Tutoring Center, which provides free tutoring for any 9th and 10th grader attending Newark public schools. The organizers were also spurred on by results from a Project Ready poll; when asked how the city should spend $200 million in federal stimulus money for education, 92% of Newark voters said it should go towards one-on-one tutoring.

In North Carolina, the Guilford County School District launched a districtwide tutoring program for its nearly 70,000 students across 126 schools. They began recruiting tutors in September 2020 for their Title I schools with a focus on math, the area in which they had seen the greatest effects of pandemic-induced unfinished learning. But since then, the district has expanded the program and plans to grow the program further with new federal funding, including hiring 500 more tutors within the next year.

Young teacher with girl

The list of districts and states that are seeking to implement high-dosage tutoring programs amidst the ongoing pandemic goes on. In Dallas, Texas, district leaders are mobilizing tutors to support three hours of after-school programming five days a week at 61 schools, as well as additional one-on-one tutoring support during the school day. Tennessee established a state-wide Tennessee Tutoring Corps (TTC) to provide tutoring over the summer to help their youngest, most vulnerable students get back on track. The results from the first summer of the program were promising: the Kindergarten through 2nd graders who received tutoring through TTC demonstrated, on average, “the equivalent of a third of a year of academic growth.”

Tutoring works

“One-to-one and small group tutoring are by far the most effective things we have that are practical to use in schools that scale,” said Robert Slavin, late professor and education researcher who directed the Johns Hopkins Center for Research and Reform in Education. “We compared tutoring to summer school, after school, extended day, technology and other things. And it’s [a] night and day difference.”

Susanna Loeb, a professor of education at Brown who directs the Annenberg Institute for School Reform agrees.

“Of all the academic interventions people have studied in-depth, tutoring has been shown to be the most effective,” Loeb asserts. Among other studies, a recent meta-analysis of tutoring interventions of the past few decades found that tutoring led to student learning gains that amounted to an additional 3-15 months of school instruction.

Tutor and student

The evidence-based efficacy of high-quality tutoring programs led the Annenberg Institute, together with a team of education leaders from universities, school districts, and nonprofit organizations, to launch the National Student Support Accelerator in the winter of 2021 with a vision “that every K-12 student in need will have access to an effective tutor that champions and ensures their learning and success”. The initiative is sharing research, activating stakeholders, and providing open access tools to anyone interested in launching or improving tutoring programs.

“That one-on-one connection with another person can help students really get the material they haven’t gotten before,” says Loeb. “It improves their performance in certain subjects by whole grade levels, and it can also improve their attendance and their performance in other subjects.”

How Yup can plug into your tutoring plan

As schools, districts, and states seek to implement tutoring initiatives to respond to pandemic-induced unfinished learning and beyond, Yup can help. 

Two students with electronic devices

Yup offers 1:1, virtual, just-in-time, expert math tutoring. We have experience working hand-in-hand with educators and school leaders to bolster student learning and achievement in math. For instance, in 2020 Yup partnered with Collegiate Charter High School in Los Angeles to integrate Yup into the school’s Summer Academy program. Students used the Yup App as a trusted and critical resource, averaging 2 tutoring sessions per school day per student for a total of 6 hours per week of the program, and teachers praised the platform including the ease with which the Yup dashboard allowed them to monitor student progress.

Administrators: Yup can support your tutoring initiatives, providing expert support in math instruction (our sole area of focus) alongside other partners you may have in other subject areas.

Teachers: Yup’s unlimited, personalized, on-demand tutoring is like having a Teaching Assistant to support you and your students anytime, anywhere.

Contact partnerships@yup.com to learn more about bringing Yup to your school or district.


School hallway

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