Testing New Approaches to Math Tutoring: Lessons from Eight Evaluations

Testing New Approaches to Math Tutoring: Lessons from Eight Evaluations

Published: Jun 30, 2023
Publisher: Mathematica
Associated Project

Evaluating the Development of Middle Years Math Teaching and Learning Solutions

Time frame: 2018 - 2023

Prepared for:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Key Findings
  • Multiple tutoring approaches, including group and virtual tutoring, can boost math knowledge and may improve students’ math confidence and sense of belonging.
  • The size of programs’ effects on student knowledge aligned with the quality of their implementation. Programs with moderate to large effects had high student attendance, the necessary staffing, and logistics such as scheduling in place. Those with smaller effects encountered challenges implementing core components and had lower student attendance, on average.
  • Strong student–tutor relationships may be a key component of successful tutoring. In programs with high attendance and positive effects on learning, a large share of students reported strong relationships and a sense of belonging in their tutoring sessions.

This brief presents results from evaluations of eight tutoring programs that piloted alternative tutoring approaches, such as virtual and group tutoring, among diverse groups of students in grades 4 through 10 during the 2021–2022 school year. The studies assessed the effects of the tutoring programs on students’ math test scores, examined student– tutor relationships and students’ sense of belonging in tutoring, and measured changes in participants’ math confidence.

The study’s results can help inform decision making of those working to improve access to effective tutoring—such as tutoring providers, and schools and districts, grantmakers. They also highlight areas for future research—such as student–tutor relationships and the effectiveness of alternative tutoring approaches at scale.

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