Written: January 2023 Updated: December 2023
Students thrive in consistent learning environments, so disrupted school schedules and increased teacher vacancies over the past few years have left them with unprecedented learning loss. To catch up to grade-level standards, students need time and individualized attention, and education experts agree that high-dosage tutoring is the best solution. Here are 5 ways synchronous virtual tutors allow students to get back on track.
1. Enable Effective Sessions
Frequency for Content Comprehension
Tutoring is more effective when delivered in three or more sessions per week, 30-60 minutes per session, for at least nine weeks (depending on content area and student age). Elementary children typically benefit from reading tutoring, while high school students thrive with math tutoring.
To ensure content comprehension, it is important that you partner with an organization that offers virtual tutoring services that can customize the frequency of tutoring sessions to the student and the school’s needs and overall budget. Sessions should have the ability to be scheduled at a specific time each week during school hours to maximize attendance and engagement.
2. Allow for Curriculum Personalization with Small Group Sizes
Virtual tutors can effectively instruct up to 8 students at a time, allowing for greater personalization. One-to-one tutoring is the most effective but most costly. This option can be saved for students who thrive with individual attention. Annenberg Institute’s best practices recommend student groups of 3-4 are most effective when delivering personalized, high-dosage tutoring.
Synchronous virtual tutoring providers can easily customize the size of tutoring groups based on local needs and budget. Prioritizing small group tutoring maximizes student achievement while staying within the district’s budget.
3. Provide Simplified Access to Certified Teaching Professionals
Tutors are most effective when they have four-year degrees, teacher certification, and receive ongoing training on expectations, routines, and progress monitoring. Virtual tutoring helps simplify access to highly trained professionals, eliminating location and time zone restrictions. Top performing virtual tutors understand what an effectively facilitated tutor session looks like because they receive targeted training on student relationship-building and lesson plans.
4. Increase Effectiveness Through Tailored Instruction
Tutoring programs that leverage data and frequent informal assessments can better tailor instruction and deliver personalized feedback for students. Virtual tutors should consistently use data to build sessions that reflect student strengths and needs. The most effective virtual tutoring services have synchronous online tutors who deploy pre- and post-assessments that measure growth and inform instruction development.
In addition to instructional materials aligned with grade-appropriate standards, professionally trained online tutors deliver content tightly aligned with the core instruction, so learning flows from tutoring sessions to classroom lessons. Instruction is supplemental, and focused on accelerating learning, so students can thrive in their regular classes and excel in end-of-year assessments.
5. Ensure Flexibility in Scheduling to Accommodate Preferences
With synchronous virtual tutoring, students can enter and exit small groups at the change of a school’s grading period based on individual progress and growth data. This provides districts the ability to implement flexible tutoring programs that best meet student needs and ultimately increase academic performance. Successful virtual tutoring programs should schedule sessions during the school day a few times per week to maximize attendance and effectiveness. Some students learn better in the morning and others in the afternoon, so student preferences can be accounted for while optimizing participation.
Utilizing ESSER Funds for Virtual Tutoring Programs
A recent meta-analysis reviewed studies of tutoring interventions and found that, on average, tutoring increases student achievement by an additional three to 15 months of learning across all grade levels.
However, the national teacher shortage makes it difficult for school districts to find enough classroom teachers, let alone qualified tutors. It is because of this schools are leveraging ESSER funds to provide students with high impact virtual tutoring services. These funds can be put to good use by tutoring students that need to catch up to grade-level work.
ESSER funds expire September 30, 2024, so don’t hesitate - the time to leverage these funds is now!
Implementing a Successful Virtual Tutoring Program
Proximity Learning’s live and interactive virtual tutoring services help students access the quality educators they need to succeed. Our program is endorsed by Brown Univerity’s Annenberg Institute. By partnering with an organization, like Proximity Learning, you will ensure your tutors are certified teachers that undergo an extensive onboarding process. They understand best practices for intervention and offer ongoing feedback to students and administrators with opportunities for collaboration. Our tutors have specific content area knowledge related to the tutoring that the students need.
In addition, our online tutors have access to a proprietary suite of tools and resources and deploy state curriculum to help students achieve their goals. Proximity Learning tutors stay with the same students throughout the program, so each time students log into their tutoring session, they see a familiar face, building trust.
Our synchronous tutoring solution has customizable options utilizing our livestreamed certified teachers in all core subjects. These offerings can take place whenever districts choose during the school day, and guarantee that students will have access to a live, certified, synchronous tutor that gets them back up to speed just in time for testing season.