COVID-19 Response

National Accelerator Pushes for Tutoring for All in K–12

The original form of personalized learning — tutoring — is about to take a giant step forward. Pandemic-era learning loss has motivated a group of national education leaders to develop an initiative to make "high-impact tutoring" available to all K-12 students, no matter whether their families can afford tutoring or not. When the National Student Support Accelerator, launched by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, is fully running, it will consist of several components:

  • A network of tutoring organizations and educational systems that want to implement high-impact tutoring and agree on some way to certify tutoring programs based on the practices they follow.

  • Tools and research for use by organizations that are launching new tutoring programs or revising the ones they already have. That would include a "toolkit" for universities that want to create tutoring programs staffed by their own students and a financial model for calculating tutoring costs in given scenarios.

  • A research agenda with at least six "tutoring test sites" where various tutoring models could be measured for their efficacy.

  • Models for scaling successful programs, including coming up ways to generate sustainable funding.

Among the ideas under consideration is one in which tutoring providers would recruit and train unemployed people as tutors

The team working on this effort expected to be done with conceptual development in December, with the expectation that boots-on-the-ground work will begin in January.

High-impact tutoring involves teaching students one-on-one or in small groups towards a specific goal, the accelerator explained. The idea is to supplement classroom experiences — not replace them — to help students make "substantial learning gains."

The working group includes representatives from a number of education nonprofits and companies, foundations and universities. Staffing includes people from Brown, as well as Texas A&M University and Georgetown University. Funding to date has been provided by the Walton Family Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Zoom.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.