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Why is Tutoring so Effective?

One-on-one and small group tutoring is not a novel concept when it comes to learning. Tutoring supports students by teaching them personalized strategies to use in various learning environments, thereby helping them to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

What is Tutoring?

Tutoring is a supplemental academic assistance service for students who need more educational support outside of the classroom. A qualified tutor can help to identify and address their students’ unique learning challenges, working closely with each student’s family and teachers to find practical and effective solutions to help overcome those difficulties. These solutions can be applied to schoolwork, assessments, projects, and many other academic efforts. Tutoring can take place in a variety of formats. Students and tutors can meet in small groups or one-on-one sessions.  A tutor can meet with students in person or virtually. Tutors can specialize in specific courses like English, math or history, or they may have a broad range of specialties and skillsets. 

What Qualifies “High-Quality” Tutoring?

Not all tutoring is the same, and not all tutoring is effective. A tutor’s goal should be to deliver high-quality instruction which not only improves their students’ comprehension of the subject matter at hand, but also empowers them with the vital underlying learning and life skills so that the students can continue to succeed once tutoring is complete. Rather than being a crutch, a quality tutor is more of a coach, guiding their student on the path of learning. This requires the incorporation of essential social and emotional support into the sessions that will then help improve the students’ academic confidence and independence. When executed correctly, high-value tutoring assists individual students in accelerating their success by not only helping them to master the content, but helping them to also become better students, learners, leaders, citizens, and human beings. It is easy to see why high-quality tutoring can have lifelong impacts. 

Excellent tutors teach tools that will evolve along with the students and can later be translated into important skills needed as adults in their professional and personal lives. Superb tutoring makes efforts to build trust between the student and tutor, through positive reinforcement and consistently engaging sessions. Superior tutoring sessions are also fun, bringing the joy back into learning. Tutoring is most effective when done regularly and consistently, such as weekly for at least a semester. Efficiency is also increased when tutors introduce a variety of educational tools, individualizing the lessons for each student’s unique needs, while also layering in and expanding upon the school’s curriculum and materials. The positive impacts of high-quality tutoring extend far beyond the tutoring session time limit.

Why is 1-on-1 Tutoring Best?

In a typical K – 12 classroom, the teacher-to-student ratio is one to thirty. It is difficult for a single instructor to cater to the particular requirements of each pupil in such a setting. Working one-on-one with a student, a tutor can better analyze and identify that student’s strengths, their specific areas of difficulty, and from there, devise a firm plan of action to lead the student to academic success. Subjects such as English or math might be difficult for students, resulting in apathy and even anxiety. The sense of not comprehending the information and doing poorly on assessments may significantly impact a child’s confidence. Individualized tutoring support can help find gaps in their learning, fill them with new skills and understanding, and restore their confidence in the subject area and in themselves. 

Furthermore, in traditional classroom settings, students do not know how well they comprehend the material until they receive a grade on a related assignment or assessment. But by that time, the teacher is likely to have already moved on in order to meet teaching mandates, and the student falls further and further behind. This is an especially prevalent issue in subject areas where consecutive concepts build upon the previous, like with math and science subjects. With the consistent assistance of a tutor, however, the student could identify and address challenging content as it is learned, apply the new skills and understanding of the material in real-time, and receive timely feedback on how effectively the area has been mastered. This method allows the student to keep up with the pace of the class while still being able to enrich their own learning. 

How Do We Know Tutoring is Effective?

In two randomized controlled trials performed in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years, ninth and tenth students in Chicago who received regular tutoring improved significantly on test scores and course grades. While the upward trend was significant in both studies, the benefits were substantially more apparent after the program’s second year of operation. In the first research experiment, students’ results increased by six points, while in the second, they improved by fourteen points.  Similar research in Houston performed in 2021 found that students who participated in tutoring programs fared higher on their SATs than those who did not participate in the tutoring program. After eight weeks of participating in the tutoring program, students at one school improved by 53% on their middle school math examinations, while 40% of children at another school attained high enough scores to actually discontinue third-grade reading remediation. 

The effectiveness of tutoring, whether in-person or virtual, in tackling the academic challenges provided by the COVID-19 epidemic has yet to be established. Many of the world’s elementary and secondary education systems are facing unprecedented problems in addressing the academic demands of their students due to school closures. The pandemic’s financial pressure and uncertainty, along with the need for social distancing, have undercut the function of conventional classrooms in student learning and placed more of the responsibility on parents and caregivers at home – many of whom are unqualified or unequipped to manage their children’s learning. Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted long-standing inequities in the United States. School closures have widened the “Achievement Gap” and low-income students of color have been disproportionately affected. Black and Hispanic students have less access to learning supplies, internet access, and meaningful engagement with instructors. Low-income families frequently have parents who are vital workers and therefore unable to work from home, and are more likely to suffer from COVID symptoms. This is amplified in and around major cities, like Chicago, Dallas, and Houston. The extensive learning losses for low-income students of color result in long-term economic implications for local and national communities. Increasing the accessibility of tutors for children may be critical in mitigating learning deficits caused by the pandemic school closures. Tutoring can help to narrow this widening educational gap.

How Can We Help?

Educate. Radiate. Elevate. is dedicated to providing equitable access to high-quality tutoring to bridge the achievement gap. Our experienced tutors help underserved K – 12 students in Illinois and Texas with academics, enrichment, and test prep as well as the underlying learning and life skills needed to succeed in the classroom and beyond. E.R.E. strives to uplift low-income communities of color by providing equitable access to education support. The vast bulk of our revenue comes from donations from individuals like you! We must work together to achieve our objectives of educating equitably, radiating success, and elevating society. Your generous contribution will provide children from less fortunate backgrounds with the opportunity to succeed in school and beyond. Donate Today!

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"Hi, I'm Lindsey.
Every other month, I share short emails full of hopeful stories, updates on your impact, and relevant news. Thousands of people enjoy them."
Lindsey Wander
Founder and President