Achieving Scale: Size, Fit and Power in Student-Centered Tutoring Design
According to research, tutoring is a featured and evidence-based armament for mitigating learning disruption of all types - learning loss, unfinished learning, and tackling the social and emotional effects of the pervasive and lingering pandemic on school children of all ages. Large scale, high dosage, and high impact are terms used often to describe the effective design of tutoring needed to help remove the negative impacts on learning brought about by this chaotic time in the delivery of education. Remote learning caused waning content delivery for most, poor or non-attendance for many, and led to poor achievement outcomes and increased levels of stress and anxiety for students. In the January 2021 ERS study, “The Cost of COVID,” early data show the learning disruption was the most profound for African American, Hispanic/Latino, English Language Learners, students with disabilities, and students in poverty, many of whom were already at-risk before the onset of the pandemic. Mitigating the disruption will be long-term and costly, requiring districts to be intentional in the pursuit of the focused deployment of evidence-based strategies. The goal is to effectively use people, time, and resources in a manner that results in acceleration of learning and improved social and emotional well-being. A thoughtfully and effectively designed, delivered, and monitored tutoring initiative can focus better on the individualized needs of students if it is an extension of the core academic program. The connection to the core curriculum resources and supports strengthens the opportunity for accelerated recovery. Tutoring design cannot be a ‘one size fits all proposition. Equity in the design of tutoring services means the ability to provide the right size, fit, and power for each and every learner. Districts and schools will need efficient and effective structures and practices to make sure they can deliver what students need in a timely and accelerated manner.
With the infusion of America Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Relief Funds (ARP-ESSER) to states and school districts, tutoring (among other tools) is emerging as a top strategy in ARP- ESSER State plans per the United States Department of Education website. Urgent pleas to galvanize support to build a national model to serve students’ tutoring needs at all levels have emerged through blogs and white papers. State efforts, such as those in Texas and Tennessee are underway to develop tutoring corps as a deployment strategy to deliver large-scale tutoring to districts. National and state efforts will go some distance to ensuring some students' needs are met, but in the end, the sense of urgency rests at the schoolhouse door. Understanding the needs of the students in classrooms is the first step for achieving the specific scale, fit, and power that will make a difference.
Educators’ Sense of Urgency
The onset of the 2021-2022 school year is here; time is of the essence. School leaders are pondering how to best meet the diverse needs of students returning to in-person learning. For some students, it will be the first time they have walked through the doors of a school in over a year and a half. For others, the trauma of family and economic losses have created hardships impacting their social and emotional well-being and they will bring these stresses to school. Just as the pandemic moved through what seemed to be a moment-by-moment confluence of unknowns educators are facing many unknowns about the upcoming school year and the students for whom they are responsible. Different kinds of questions are on the minds of caring educators this year. Questions educators have never had to ask in recent history.
- How has the pandemic affected the social and emotional well-being of students returning this year?
- How did the remote learning experience impact learning experiences and expectations for each student? What do students know and does their knowledge match expectations for their grade or course?
- How will the extent of the impact be determined and what will be done about it?
- How can teachers teach the full range of content standards associated and expected in a new grade or course when there may be learning gaps that are foundational for success this school year?
Answers to these questions require an individualized approach to support ensuring every student not only gets back on the college and career readiness track but also accelerates to high levels of achievement. The real question is:
- How will the district mobilize people, time, and resources to serve the largely unknown deep and uneven needs of students once needs are known?
This is a daunting task challenging district and school leaders to think creatively and strategically about building the toolbox necessary to help students recover rapidly from the negative effects of the pandemic on their education.
District Mobilization - Focused Tutoring
Tutoring delivered using a systematic approach based on a firm understanding of where students are academically and socially-emotionally is key to understanding the number, names, and faces of the students who need support - this establishes the Size of the district response. System performance data is key to a strategic approach to identifying students who need tutoring the most.
As mentioned earlier in this blog, like all other aspects of teaching pedagogy - a one size fits all approach misses the mark. The tutoring program must be prescriptive to the identified needs of each student. A skilled tutor providing focused instruction as often as a student needs it when a student needs it is a key deliverable - this is the customized Fit essential for improved academic and social-emotional outcomes. Finally, the return on the tutoring investment and the strength of the program is realizing the intended academic targets and social-emotional learning outcomes using effective tutoring design - this is the Power of the tutoring design.
Littera Education - The platform for scaling the right size, fit, and power for tutoring each and every student
As the most comprehensive tutoring platform available, Littera’s platform possesses the prowess to personalize tutoring to achieve targeted scale to:
- Use data to identify student needs and immediately deliver targeted support
- Deploy tutoring teams designed to support specific needs, leveraging district staff like teachers and paraprofessionals or extending to Littera-provided or external tutors
- Achieve high-dosage - just the right dosage to make the targeted difference
- Provide sustainable one-on-one and small group support programs using best practices and research on effective tutoring
- Leverage district’s curriculum for tutoring sessions that fit the student’s identified needs
- Manage all the academic support programs both inside the classroom design and outside through office hours, intervention periods, summer school, and extended day
- Create a communication loop between teachers and tutors
- Achieve intended academic and social-emotional outcomes by adjusting tutoring design to meet a student’s focused needs over the tutoring period
Educators’ sense of urgency combined with a desire to efficiently mobilize resources for delivering effective tutoring programs requires attention to details that matter. Littera’s one-of-a-kind platform cohesively brings together program design, delivery, and monitoring that achieves scale: the right size, the right fit, and the right power needed to provide positive student experiences and improved student outcomes.