Being a tutor has been one of my favorite roles in education. As a tutor, I had an opportunity to get to know the child or adult sitting across from me. I learned what they liked, disliked, and didn’t know. I watched them improve and grow through each tutoring session. After each session, they sat a little straighter and a little prouder.
Tutoring also helped me see each learner as an individual. I learned and practiced teaching and explaining content in ways that were meaningful to each person. I checked understanding, adjusted instruction, and offered feedback as needed. All these skills, which I honed as a tutor, made me a better teacher.
The pandemic interrupted—and continues to interrupt—learning. As states and districts identify additional supports for students and families, researchers and organizations have highlighted the benefits of tutoring and advocated for its use. Research shows that high-dosage tutoring, defined as tutoring with “three or more sessions per week or intensive, week-long, small group programs” (Robinson et al., 2021), can be a cost-effective way to improve student learning. However, with widely reported teacher shortages, who can serve as tutors?
With training and support, tutors from a range of backgrounds can support students and increase student learning (Guryan et al., 2021). As we note in our recent white paper, preservice educators can help accelerate unfinished learning. Tutoring can offer valuable field experiences (Robinson et al., 2017) for preservice educators, enabling them to practice teaching skills, earn income, and be reminded of the difference they can make as educators. Match Teacher Residents, for example, work full-time during the day as math tutors in the Match Corps–an AmeriCorps program providing a living allowance, education award, and subsidized housing–while taking classes at the Sposato Graduate School of Education at night.
Our white paper also notes the importance of partnerships between districts and educator preparation programs. We see examples of these relationships developing or expanding in work being done by the National Student Support Accelerator, which is testing and studying models of tutoring with students.
- In Georgia, Gwinnett County Public Schools is partnering with Gwinnett College’s School of Education to provide tutors to students.
- In North Carolina, Guilford County Public Schools is partnering with local universities, including North Carolina A&T, to provide tutoring support from math and engineering students to middle and high school students.
Texas Education Agency recently launched its Vetted Texas Tutor Corps, which aims to accelerate “student learning through high-impact tutoring, with a goal of reaching over one million students” (Texas Education Agency). Three universities are approved providers as part of the Vetted Texas Tutor Corps: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), Texas A&M International University, and Dallas College of Education. Both UTRGV and Texas A&M explicitly note that tutors include admitted and prospective teacher candidates.
What is happening in your state? We want to know! Share how your state or district is partnering with educator preparation programs to support teacher development and student learning via Twitter (@Region7CC) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lead Author: Lauren Matlach, Region 7 Comprehensive Center
Guryan, J., Ludwig, J., Bhatt, M. P., Cook, P. J., Davis, J. M. V., Dodge, K., Farkas, G., Jr, R. G. F., Mayer, S., Pollack, H., & Steinberg, L. (2021). Not too late: Improving academic outcomes among adolescents. National Bureau of Economic Research. https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w28531/w28531.pdf
Match Teacher Residency. (2020). Match Education. https://www.matcheducation.org/match-teacher-residency
National Student Accelerator. (2021). Pilot Sites. https://studentsupportaccelerator.com/research/pilot-sites
Region 7 Comprehensive Center. (2021). The Mutually Beneficial Partnership: Using Short-Term Disruptions from COVID-19 to Improve Partnerships Between Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) and Districts. RMC Research Corporation.
Robinson, C.D., Kraft, M.A., Loeb, S. & Schueler, B.E. (2021). Accelerating student learning with high-dosage tutoring. EdResearch for Recovery. https://annenberg.brown.edu/sites/default/files/EdResearch_for_Recovery_Design_Principles
Robinson, S., Nemr, G., Nicoll-Senft, J., Spear-Swerling, L., & Tralli, R. (2017). Developing quality fieldwork experiences for teacher candidates: A planning guide for educator preparation programs and district partners. CEEDAR Center. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/Talent_Office/CEEDAR/ceedar_qualfieldexperguide_022717.pdf
Texas Education Agency. (2020). Vetted Texas Tutor Corps. https://tea.texas.gov/texas-schools/health-safety-discipline/covid/vetted-texas-tutor-corps#approved