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5 Key Steps to Selecting a High-Impact Tutoring Program


Whether your district is addressing pandemic learning loss or looking for interventions to improve outcomes for struggling students, high-impact tutoring programs are shown to be effective. As part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), schools must utilize at least 20 percent of the funding they receive to address learning loss through evidence-based programs. Not all tutoring programs are evidence-based, but FEV Tutor utilizes research and evidence to provide high-impact tutoring programs.

As you’re looking at what kind of programs you might fund, it’s important to consider the efficacy of each of your options and how they each affect student outcomes. Tutoring is effective in improving student learning, and high-impact programs have been shown to positively affect student outcomes. In a recent webinar, FEV Tutor research partner Erin Devers, Ph.D. discussed the research and evidence behind these student outcomes, including the key factors that––when combined–– result in high-impact tutoring programs.

Additionally, here are five key steps to evaluating and selecting the best high-impact tutoring program for your district:

1. Choose a Program that is High-Impact

High-impact tutoring is used to supplement (but not replace) students’ classroom learning experiences, leading to substantial learning gains. Components of effective high-impact tutoring programs include a specified weekly time commitment, a strong relationship between student and tutor, alignment with the curriculum, progress monitoring of student’s knowledge and skills, and oversight/coaching of tutors to maintain efficacy. Research supports the efficacy of high-impact tutoring, which consistently demonstrates the positive effects that tutoring interventions have on student learning.

2. Focus on Long-Term Support Rather Than Remediation Only

Tutoring interventions are need-driven and target struggling students, but high-impact tutoring is beneficial for all students and should be treated as a support rather than stand-alone as a remediation tool. High-impact tutoring programs can support students through their learning through high-dosage tutoring sessions, strong tutor-student relationships, formative assessments, and alignment with school curriculum. Additionally, high-impact tutoring programs should not act as a replacement for other intensive interventions, take the place of classroom instruction, or cause students to miss content area classes.

3. Follow a Checklist for Evaluating High-Impact Tutoring Programs

Considering the needs of your students and district when evaluating high-impact tutoring programs is key to selecting the ideal program. Following a checklist of must-haves to evaluate best-in-class tutoring programs for your district can help simplify the selection process. Categories to consider when evaluating tutoring providers include ESSA compliance, frequency, if the program is data-driven, 1:1 instruction, tutor training, scheduling options, and progress measurement. Find a detailed checklist in our comprehensive Buyer’s Guide.

4. Use Federal Funds for Evidence-Based Tutoring Programs

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Congress has required states and districts to designate at least 20 percent of funds they receive to address recovery from learning loss. Both state and district funds from the ARPA must be used for interventions that are evidence-based and that support the students who were most impacted by unfinished learning during the pandemic. High-impact tutoring programs are effective and evidence-based, showing student gains of one to two years of math and one year in English language arts.

5. Utilize State and District Guidance for Selecting Tutoring Programs

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has been decisive and prescriptive about high-impact tutoring to comply with Texas HB 4545 passed in June 2021. TEA’s comprehensive approach to training educators and implementing high-impact tutoring across the state is a model for other states. TEA created several resources to help school districts select high-impact tutoring programs including training webinars, workshops and a list of approved providers. Other states––such as Colorado with its HB21-1234 and Louisiana with its “Accelerate” initiative––have also created programs to support districts in implementing high-impact tutoring programs. Research programs and initiatives in your state and utilize these resources and guidance first when evaluating high-impact tutoring programs.

High-impact tutoring programs are key to supporting students in need of extra support, recovering from learning loss, or struggling in specific subjects. When evaluating these programs, it’s important to consider all of the factors in play and utilize guidance and resources to select the best high-impact tutoring provider for your district.

To learn more about evaluating and selecting high-impact tutoring programs, watch the webinar and read our Buyer’s Guide