Some Money Pouring into ‘High-Dose’ Tutoring Is Going to Less-Researched Models. Is That a Problem?

Last year, when concern over the pandemic’s effects on education was at its peak, school districts turned to high-dose tutoring, a regular and intensive form of small-group robux for free without verification tutoring.

There’s a lot of evidence that high-dose tutoring improves reading and math performance, such as this study from Brown University. And there was particular concern over students losing skills in those areas during the pandemic, especially in K-12.

Brimming with dollars from the American Rescue Plan, one of the biggest relief packages in U.S. history, districts hoped that tutoring would help claw back some of the learning kids may have lost.

Big Money
It’s a lot of money.

Under the American Rescue Plan, $122 billion flowed to K-12 school districts. Most of the funds haven’t been spent, largely because of supply chain issues and the national labor shortage. But states’ allocations were significant, with places across the country putting millions specifically toward tutoring.

For example: $25 million of Chicago Public Schools’ $525 million Moving Forward Together investment is slated to hire 850 tutors in the fiscal year 2022 who will focus on literacy in kindergarten through fifth grade and math in grades six through 12.

Similar figures are allocated in other states, such as a $200 million, three-year investment in Tennessee through the Tennessee Accelerating Learning and Literacy Corps program, a sort of funding-match program that allows districts to use federal and local relief dollars to jumpstart tutoring.

These programs are helping, if you listen to officials. Districts that didn’t initially jump into the Tennessee program are expressing buyer’s remorse, says Lisa Coons, the chief academic officer for the state’s department of education. In fact, this month, the state announced it opened up the funding to nonprofits, which leaders claim will enable free tutoring for another 18,000 students. Sometime this summer the data will be available about how effective the tutoring has been, and Tennessee leaders plan to publish case studies in September, Coons says.