For good reason, high-dosage tutoring is becoming popular in K-12 circles. An ever-growing body of research shows that in light of disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the best method to accelerate learning for a variety of students, including those who may have fallen behind academically. However, we must also look to the future when creating our new normal.
Districts, schools, and school leaders are working to provide high-quality instruction that is consistent in an environment that has been anything but. Increasingly, classroom work requires academic support that is incorporated into the district instructional models. With more students needing academic support than ever before, it is worth considering the following: what if providing academic support to every student was the norm?
Providing Academic Support To Every Student
High-dosage tutoring is understood to entail one-to-one or small group targeted academic support that occurs at least three times per week. To those familiar with the Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) framework, that’ll sound exactly like a Tier 2 intervention or support, potentially even a Tier 3. Districts have been using this method to accelerate learning for students with individualized education plans (IEP’s) for decades and research shows that we’d see similar results with high-dosage tutoring.
Districts, schools, and teachers have never had the resources necessary to provide individualized support to every student. The last two years have impacted education but have also created the perfect storm to achieve this goal. An unprecedented need for academic support, record levels of funding to provide it, and technological achievements to enable it allows districts to create a novel instructional model that puts each student’s unique needs at the heart of learning.
Ensuring Equitable Support
It is important to note that equity and equality are not the same things. You do not feed a Shih Tzu the same amount as a Great Dane. Rather, you give them the exact amount of food they need to ensure their long-term health and happiness. While this is not equal, it is certainly equitable. The same is true for serving the learning needs of each individual student in each classroom.
Students with IEP’s could receive targeted one-to-one and small group support from special education teachers with advanced certifications and the specific skills necessary to serve the needs of that specific student. The Education Lab at the University of Chicago found that high-dosage tutoring provided by recent college graduates yields similar results for students who are in the general education population.
The pool of potential tutors is exponentially larger than the pool of teachers with special education certifications. Pairing students with tutors who meet their specific needs (rather than age or grade level) increases a school’s number of support providers, and thus the number of students receiving high-quality, equitable academic support.
Traditionally, expanding support providers beyond a school or district’s trusted learning specialists, paraprofessionals, and support staff to include recent college graduates, local community members, career changers, and former educators would be difficult. Monitoring the efficacy of that program would be impossible.
Littera’s Academic Support Platform removes the operational lift typically associated with implementing high-dosage tutoring programs at scale, enabling schools and districts of any size to provide high-quality, cost-efficient academic support. The platform utilizes your existing data, your curriculum (or ours), and your staff (or ours) to create one-to-one and small group support programs tailored to each students’ specific needs. Students and tutors provide feedback on each session directly in the platform, allowing district administrators, school leaders, and teachers to track the efficacy of each tutoring program for each individual student in one place.
The Bottom Line
What if providing academic support to every student was the norm? Districts can make this dream a reality and increase educational outcomes for every K-12 student. Innovative technology allows schools to expand the number of support providers they have, and the number of students receiving support, all while making it easier to monitor and manage the efficacy of their academic support programs. It is just a matter of time until all schools provide equitable academic support; Littera is ready to help today.