High-Dosage Tutoring vs. Homework Help: Comparative Efficacy of Two Leading Tutoring Models

High-Dosage Tutoring vs. Homework Help: Comparative Efficacy of Two Leading Tutoring Models


“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” 

While philosophically I agree with Shakespeare’s oft-quoted line, in practice, names can be quite useful. I’d be disappointed if I ordered a bouquet of roses from a florist and got daffodils, and if I just ordered “flowers,” then I’d be setting us both up for disappointment. 

The same is true for tutoring; much like there are a variety of flowers, there are a variety of different tutoring models, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Two of the most popular models these days are on-demand homework help and high-dosage tutoring. Though they are both tutoring models, they’re about as similar as roses and sunflowers. 

On-demand homework help follows a classic model that many educators will be familiar with: a student who is struggling with a specific question - for example, a question on math homework -  signs in and requests help from a tutor and a random tutor accepts the request and proceeds to help the student answer the math problem via a text-based chat. 

This on-demand model has its benefits and can help support a procedural understanding for students, particularly those in older grades. However, this one-size-fits-all approach can not provide the same, robust level of personalized support as high-dosage tutoring. At its core, high-dosage tutoring is a targeted form of support in a one-to-one or small group (max. one-to-three) setting, that occurs at least three times per week, with a consistent, qualified tutor. This type of tutoring requires live instruction, whether that be in-person, or virtually with audio and video. A brief overview of the two models can be found below, in figure 1.1:


High-dosage tutoring has become increasingly popular amongst districts, schools, and leaders hoping to accelerate learning in light of the past few school years, with Secretary of Education Cardona being the latest to voice his support. Their belief that high-dosage tutoring is the most effective way to accelerate learning for all students is backed by an ever-growing body of research, including recent studies on the efficacy of online high-dosage tutoring

Much like flowers and tutoring models, the needs of individual schools and students can vary greatly. All districts are focused on providing support to every child they serve, particularly with the access to increased funding they have at their disposal right now. However, it is essential to ensure we are providing the right support so that we can continue to do so when funding returns to normal. 

What do your students need most? Perhaps your second graders need high-dosage literacy tutoring, but your 11th graders need on-demand pre-calculus support. This is precisely why Littera’s Academic Support Platform exists. We make it easy to design, implement, and monitor all of your district’s tutoring programs in one state-of-the-art platform, enabling you to provide high-quality academic support to every child you serve.

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