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High-Dosage Tutoring: An Effective Solution for Closing the Achievement Gap

Research shows that high-dosage tutoring can lead to significant learning for many students, including those who have fallen behind. But what exactly is it? We explore what high-dosage tutoring is, how it works, and positive outcomes for students, families, and educators.

A student learns from a virtual teacher while sitting at a desk in a classroom setting.

School districts nationwide are still experiencing the negative impacts of pandemic learning loss on their learners, as reflected in student test scores.

The 2022 Nation’s Report Card study results show the largest decline in learning in two decades, with learning loss estimated at half a year for math and a quarter year for reading since 2019. These results also show:

  • 37 percent of 4th graders and 27 percent of 8th graders are proficient in math
  • Among 8th graders, only 31 percent are proficient in reading

Research from the Harvard Graduate School of Education showed similar results to that from the Nation’s Report Card: students in grades 3-8 lost about a half years’ worth of education during the pandemic in math and about a quarter year in reading, with a wider disparity between high and low poverty school districts.

So what can be done? Experts say high-dosage tutoring is the key, which has been shown to improve student outcomes for all learners, from those at risk to high performers.

What is High-Dosage Tutoring?

High-dosage tutoring is a proven, evidence-based method to quickly recover lost learning with a target focus on the student’s specific learning style and needs.

What High-Dosage Tutoring Is:

  • Accessible to all, with prioritization given to lower-performing students
  • Intensive 1-to-1 or small-group sessions
  • Provided by a qualified tutor who facilitates a consistent relationship with the student over time
  • Individualized to reinforce what students are learning in the classroom
  • Responsive to student needs

What It Is Not:

  • For struggling students only, or treated as punishment
  • Intermittent or “homework help”
  • Provided by an unqualified tutor or held on-demand with a different tutor each session
  • Reliant on the student to opt into

“High-dosage tutoring works best when it’s a natural extension of the classroom,” said Jennifer Moore, general manager of Stride Tutoring. “Teachers know best what their students need, so having a tutoring program that allows teachers to assign tutoring to specific students – and to communicate to the tutors what specifically should be covered in those sessions – enables instruction that’s aligned to what students are learning in the classroom and where they need extra reinforcement.”

Why is High-Dosage Tutoring Needed?

Research by the Annenberg Institute at Brown University has shown that high-impact tutoring can lead to large learning gains for students who have fallen behind academically.

“Given the generationally significant levels of learning loss our nation’s students have experienced in recent years, it’s never been more important to find innovative and equitable ways to close those gaps and to recover children’s capability to flourish in their academic journey,” said Moore.

That same study revealed that it could take elementary school students up to three years and middle school students up to five years to recover and get back on track from the pandemic’s impact on learning loss.

“The body of research supporting the impact of high-dosage tutoring is strong,” said Moore. “It’s really unique among educational interventions in that the effect sizes of tutoring on accelerating learning are substantial and consistently replicable.”

In addition, a study from EdResearch for Action demonstrated that remediation or a simplified curriculum resulted in students actually falling further behind.

To prevent this, as Moore described, tutors can provide interventions to help students to catch up, all while allowing their classroom teachers to maintain the pace of their instruction.

How High-Dosage Tutoring Can Help At-Risk Students

In 2020, a meta-analysis of 96 tutoring students concluded that high-dosage tutoring can help students make up three-to-fifteen months of lost learning – which makes it an ideal option for school districts nationwide that are still strategizing how to help their students rapidly recover lost learning.

“Not all tutoring programs are created equal, though,” Moore said. “Small group sizes are key – no more than about four students per tutor. And the quality of those tutors is paramount. Stride Tutoring uses only certified teachers to ensure that students are being supported by trained and experienced educators who know how to align instruction to the state standards taught in the classroom and – crucially – how to tailor that instruction to student’s individual needs.”

For the best results, experienced tutors work intensively with up to four students three times per week in 30-to-60-minute sessions – sometimes for a full academic year – to overcome learning loss with the equivalent of 19 weeks of instruction.

In addition, virtual tutoring during school hours can also be an effective method to help students recover.

“I have an 8th grade student I have been meeting with twice a week to prep for a state test in Virginia,” said Brian B., a tutor for Stride Tutoring. “[The student] has mentioned the sessions made him feel more prepared. I also have a 7th grade student I meet with weekly to assist with homework help, and he mentioned how he is passing all his classes now after receiving tutoring help.”

As Brian’s students experienced, studies also show that there is a positive link between greater student outcomes for those who participated in virtual tutoring in comparison to those who did not.

“Incorporating structured tutoring programs into the school day is an important component of success,” said Moore. “This not only ensures that students have the time and supervision needed to attend and engage consistently in the sessions, but it also levels the playing field by not relying on students having the time, motivation, support, or resources to pursue tutoring on their own outside of school hours.”

Stride Tutoring: Now Available for School Districts and Parents

If you’re ready to learn all the ways that high-dosage tutoring can create modern learning for your school district, we’re here for you. Learn about our virtual tutoring with certified teachers to explore how you can improve student outcomes at scale. 

Or, if you are a parent and seeking flexible tutoring, it’s easy to connect with our state-certified teachers and book a session for your learner(s) today at

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