The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruption to all levels of education that could impact student outcomes for months and possibly years ahead. However, some good things have come out of the pandemic era. One excellent thing that has gained more popularity in recent years is high-dosage tutoring.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information on how high-dosage tutoring works. In this guide, we’ll break down all of the basics of high-dosage tutoring that parents need to know.
What is High Dosage Tutoring?
Targeted intense tutoring, also known as high-dose tutoring or HDT, is having the same tutor work with a student on academic skills such as arithmetic or reading for a prolonged length of time, such as the entire school year or every school day. Individual tutors work with one or two students at a time in the most effective versions, utilizing a skill-building curriculum that is closely matched with the school’s math or reading curriculum and tailored to the student’s academic needs.
Basically, high dosage tutoring involves a student meeting with a tutor frequently, rather than having a tutor support a student over longer periods of time. There’s a lot of research that supports that high dosage tutoring is very effective for student success.
When it comes to hiring, staffing, and training, district and school officials who want to use targeted intensive tutoring as a technique to assist students to catch up will have to make key decisions. They’ll have to make judgments on grouping, scheduling, and curriculum as well. District and school officials will have to weigh what the science shows are most beneficial against what is most practical given resource restrictions and the local context with each decision.
Why Are Schools and School Districts Adopting High Dosage Tutoring?
HDT programs are being adopted by districts and regional education service centers for a variety of reasons. To begin, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant influx of funds to support the need to speed learning. In a report on the third round of pandemic relief funds, the Department of Education cited high-dose tutoring as a technique to make up for lost instructional time during the previous two school years. According to the California School Board Association, high-dose tutoring “significantly improves” learning results in the aftermath of COVID’s interruptions, which have been severe and measurable, particularly among historically disadvantaged kids. High-dose tutoring has shown particularly beneficial for students who have fallen behind—and outperforms many other typical learning treatments, such as after-school and summer programs and remedial classes—in response to similar obstacles.
Student readiness and the increasing use of mobile technologies have also played a role in the demand for high-dose tutoring. The epidemic was a crash course in distance learning for students and educators alike, and students now are substantially more fluent in online modalities than they were in 2019. While much work remains to be done, during the pandemic, student access to high-speed internet connections and connected devices increased significantly, thanks in large part to school districts that provided devices to lower-income students and helped fund home internet connections for families who couldn’t afford them. You can rest easy knowing that if your pupils or teachers need to quarantine, you have that choice.
There has also been a lot of research that backs up the value of high-dose tutoring. A study of over 200 evidence-based research indicated that high-dose tutoring was one of the only school-based therapies that had large and measurable positive impacts, according to one report. Furthermore, research suggests that HDT improves learning outcomes at scale for a wide variety of K-12 kids, effectively combats educational inequity, and accelerates learning for a wide range of K-12 students.
Methods of High-Dosage tutoring
Tutoring programs are traditionally termed “high-dose” if students receive at least three sessions each week for ten weeks, each lasting 30 to 60 minutes. Sessions must be either one-on-one or in groups of three or four students. In the past, such programs were typically held in person on school grounds, either during or after school hours. Typically, they were manned and supervised by school administrators.
Despite their effectiveness, many initiatives have proven difficult to scale due to staffing, scheduling, and logistical issues. Furthermore, many students are left out of these programs, such as socioeconomically disadvantaged pupils who lack alternative transportation and/or work either inside or outside the house.
Not every student has the opportunity to stay after school with their teachers for further assistance. To accommodate busy schedules, not every family has the financial wherewithal to engage private instructors. Not everyone has a brother, parent, or friend who can assist them with biology or pre-calculus homework, or proofread a college essay. As a result, widespread deployment of high-dose tutoring in public schools has the potential to be extremely effective.
Because of their tremendous flexibility, school districts are increasingly adopting online models for high-impact tutoring. Programs that are available on demand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for example, solve some of the most pressing scalability issues, such as:
- Scheduling: The online strategy considerably minimizes scheduling issues because tutors are available online and at any time.
- Staffing: The online model provides access to a far larger pool of teachers, including experts in a wider range of areas as well as tutors who are multilingual.
- Costs: Many of the costs associated with traditional delivery models are eliminated with online delivery options.
- Equity: Disadvantaged students with parental obligations and/or transportation constraints are more likely to benefit from anytime access.
- Oversight: The online model provides instructors and administrators with direct insight into student-teacher interactions in addition to being aligned with the classroom curriculum.
- Measurability: Large volumes of data on student involvement and learning progress may be tracked more easily using online models.
How Can High Dosage Tutoring Be Implemented Successfully?
The key to success comes down to how high dosage tutoring is performed and implemented into students’ lives. Not every tutoring program is successful, but high-dose tutoring can be quite effective if done correctly.
The importance of frequency cannot be overstated. Tutoring programs that are offered at least three times per week, or in more intensive week-long programs, are the most beneficial. Personalization is also very crucial. The most effective tutoring sessions are one-on-one sessions, while tutors can also have a positive impact on groups of up to three or four pupils.
Tutoring is also essential for high dosage tutoring. To be genuinely effective, tutors require proper paraprofessional training. The good news is that studies suggest that a wide range of people can be great tutors, relieving classroom teachers of their responsibilities. Similarly, a good focus is an important aspect of HDT. Tutoring has been shown to be successful at all grade levels in numerous studies. When tutoring is focused on reading skills in the early grades, the impact is usually the greatest. Math-focused tutoring is most effective for older pupils.
When it comes to the effectiveness of high dosage tutoring, consistent partnerships are crucial. According to research, having a constant relationship with your tutor can help you achieve better results. Alternatively, a group of tutors who have been taught to work with their students in a regular manner can achieve similar results. This is more effective with online modalities since anonymity ensures student safety. It’s also crucial to match the curriculum in the classroom. When tutoring is informed by and linked with classroom instruction, tutors have a greater influence. When tutors employ the same terminology and approaches as their lecturers, for example, then students will ultimately benefit. Find a great private online tutor with the TutorOcean marketplace platform where you can meet and interview multiple tutors to help find the right teaching resource for your child.
High Dosage Tutoring FAQ
The following are some common questions that parents tend to ask about high dosage tutoring.
Teachers or individuals with the most experience and training make the best tutors.
According to research, the most efficient and effective strategy to speed learning is to have two pupils per teacher. It also shows that no more than four students should be assigned to a tutor at any given time.
The curriculum used during intensive focused tutoring should be consistent with the school's overall curriculum. More experienced educators should provide continual training and support to tutors who are unfamiliar with the curriculum.
Intensive, specialized tutoring may need to rearrange the school day. Educators should tutor students at periods when they are not enrolled in core classes such as math or reading. However, it is critical that students take elective courses and have a sufficient break or lunch period; students who see tutoring as a punishment may become disengaged.
Tutoring should be provided to students on a regular basis throughout the school year. Intensive focused tutoring should be provided to all pupils who have not yet mastered math and reading benchmarks.
Intensive focused tutoring should be provided to all pupils who have not yet mastered math and reading benchmarks. However, schools that lack the resources to provide math and reading tutoring should prioritize providing rigorous targeted math instruction. This is due to the fact that kids are more likely to have unfinished math lessons. It's also worth noting that pupils of color earn more money after completing high school math classes.
Jonathan is the VP Growth at TutorOcean. Jonathan previously worked at Klipfolio, Invest Ottawa, Irdeto and IBM. Jonathan is also the Co-Founder of STEAM Foundation who successfully launched a Kids Coding Camp helping inspire students early in their educational development. Jonathan is also an active startup advisor, giving back to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.