Mentoring can be a powerful tool for improving student performance, self-confidence, and motivation. When coordinated with classroom instruction, tutoring can lead to significant gains in learning. Individual tutoring has the strongest evidence of effectiveness, but it is also the most expensive and reaches the fewest number of students. Smaller tutoring groups of two to four students can still be beneficial, although the effects are not as strong.
For those who are looking for an even more cost-effective and accessible option, Profs online actuary tutors provide an excellent alternative. In England, mentoring is seen as a potential solution to provide more instructional time for students and more educational support for teachers. But can large-scale tutoring really help address wasted teaching time? The answer is yes, but only if we pay close attention to the details of implementation to avoid the mistakes of the past. New policy proposals should be based on the most up-to-date educational research to design mentoring programs that are effective in meeting student needs. A systematic review of 96 randomized control trials (RCTs) reveals that mentoring produces great improvements in a variety of outcomes across grades.
One example is Reading Recovery, a program developed in the 70s and 80s by Dr. Marie Clay, a developmental psychologist. Studies have documented the success of more than 2.3 million first-graders, including students with reading disabilities and English language learners. Depending on their pace of progress, students spend 12 to 20 weeks in daily 30-minute tutoring sessions with a certified teacher trained in reading instruction.
In one study, participation resulted in a reading growth rate that is 31% higher than the nationwide average growth rate for students starting first grade. It can be difficult to hire teachers as tutors in districts with persistent staff shortages (now exacerbated by the pandemic). But there are thousands of retired and substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, and teacher candidates enrolled in teacher preparation programs that could help deliver quality tutoring at scale. Universal tutoring would have the added benefit of providing each student with the same individualized attention that many wealthy students have received for a long time.
A recent meta-analysis examined nearly 200 well-designed experiments to improve education and found that frequent one-on-one tutoring with research-proven instruction was especially effective in increasing learning rates for students under performance. Larger tutoring groups of five students actually gained more (0.45 SD) on standardized tests than the smaller group size (0.35 SD, both moderately large effect sizes). Slavin found that several tutoring programs published effect sizes of 0.4 standard deviations or more, a statistical unit he compared to five additional months of school above what students would have learned without tutoring. The literature is clear about the characteristics of effective tutoring programs that lead to success in the classroom.
To effectively address lost instructional time, legislators should draw on effective models to adequately fund specific, evidence-based interventions. While much of what has been lost during this pandemic cannot be replaced, a well-designed and well-funded mentoring initiative is one way to increase instructional time for students and provide educational support to teachers.