Analysis: High-Quality Classroom Work + Tutoring: A Proven Recipe for Closing the Learning Gap

Imagine baking a cake for a loved one and serving it later that day. You don’t have much time. Do you go for the tried-and-true family recipe, or just assemble the key ingredients — flour, eggs, butter, and baking soda — until you feel good?

Schools have a similar decision to make when developing a set of strategies to advance learning recovery: do they address unfinished learning with proven solutions or design their own?

The research is clear: students at all levels lost months of valuable learning, with at-risk students losing significantly more. Tackling the scale of the problem means providing targeted support and realizing significant learning gains.

Recent research from the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education analyzed thousands of studies on the effectiveness of tutoring programs, looking for patterns that determined the most effective techniques for improving outcomes. students. Research has found that the kind of tutoring that moves the needle is a well-structured, rigorously researched small-group or individual system with the procedures, materials, assessment tools, and professional development to help students master basic skills so they can then learn grade-level content.

It is delivered by a human tutor during the school day and delivered by a provider with the expertise to train tutors and help schools implement the intervention as designed. It has assessment tools that display data on student performance to help teachers and students determine areas of progress and areas that still need work. And it has been evaluated in rigorous research and shown to be effective. Free resources like ProvenTutoring offer schools detailed information on small group and individual interventions that have these characteristics and have been proven to improve success.

However, tutoring will not be enough to bridge the gap, as it is not possible to tutor every student. A school’s recipe for learning recovery should include both high-quality classroom instruction and tutoring.

Regular instruction using programs that have been shown through rigorous research to increase learning is crucial to closing the achievement gap because it reduces the need for tutoring. Although many popular classroom reading programs follow ideas explored in small research studies, their effectiveness in improving learning has not necessarily been studied. Without assessment in real classrooms with real learning measures, anyone can guess whether a program will provide the foundation that all students need.

In contrast, especially in the early years of literacy, tried and tested models can ensure that students will learn to read the first time they teach it, so they won’t need to additional support. Resources such as What Works Clearinghouse, an initiative sponsored by the Institute of Educational Sciences, and Evidence for ESSA, a regularly updated clearing house created and managed by the Center for Research and Reform in Education, can help educators identify programs that meet the standards of the Every Student Succeeds Act. of evidence.

Learning recovery that focuses solely on tutoring is neither sustainable nor cost-effective. While it provides targeted support for children who need it to make academic progress, not all students will need tutoring if they receive high-quality, whole-class instruction using a program that has proven itself. proofs.

School learning recovery plans that use a proven recipe for all levels of education show the most promise of impact. The recipe doesn’t need to be the same for every district, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to learning recovery – a set of strategies that works for one district may not be effective elsewhere . With educational research funding from the U.S. Department of Education and private philanthropic organizations over the past 20 years, there is a portfolio of proven strategies, models, and programs from which schools can choose. Data-driven resources can provide technical assistance to help schools find proven options that fit their community’s needs. This can range from helping them use data to identify their most pressing educational needs to using evidence to verify strategies, programs and interventions. Additional support can help schools assess their selected interventions and develop a plan to integrate them into the school day.

Imagine the impact on the achievement gap if all students receive programs and instruction that have proven effectiveness?

It is imperative that the education community continue to experiment and test the impact of promising programs and interventions. But students need support now. Fortunately, there are proven approaches to aid recovery that are readily available for adoption and implementation. The future of the nation’s children depends on using a recipe for success.