“The evidence points most strongly to the value of high-dosage tutoring, but other approaches also have merit”
By Heather C. Hill
Districts will soon start receiving about $123 billion set aside for schools in the American Rescue Plan. This legislation provides money to help districts bring back students during (what I hope is) the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds can also purchase programs that meet the needs of the hardest-hit students, hire additional educators to address learning loss, and underwrite summer, after-school, and extended-day and -year learning programs. With so many choices, how should schools spend this money in ways that most boost student outcomes?
To answer this question, I reviewed syntheses of research that look at ways to catch students up academically. Overall, high-dosage tutoring programs had the best track record. Other promising possibilities include extended learning time and highly structured home summer-reading programs for elementary students. Where possible, I compare program outcomes by using the average impact of high-dosage-tutoring programs as a benchmark. While such comparisons are imperfect, they give educators a rough sense for how to prioritize programs with the same aims.
If districts are particularly targeting struggling students and can find the means to do high-dosage tutoring well, the research suggests that is the top choice…
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