Don’t Wait - Live Tutoring Prepares Students for Testing Season Climb

Chelsea Penney
January 11, 2024

State assessments are an intimidating mountain that students climb every year. Districts want to see their students succeed and summit the academic peak at the end of each grade, overcoming the challenging years they have faced. However, students have fallen behind due to years of change, teacher shortages, and academic stagnation. Students need help, and districts need to see results.

How can schools effectively catch students up in time for testing?

High-dosage tutoring is the most effective means of increasing student success. The frequency of sessions and quality of the instructor are key for optimized learning and growth. Schools need to start now to prepare students for end-of-year exams.

Research Chalkbeat reports, “Early in the pandemic, experts identified high-dosage tutoring — the kind that’s offered multiple times per week, in small groups, with a consistent tutor — as a potentially successful strategy for helping students plug learning gaps. But more than two years into a national push to expand the reach of tutoring, many schools are still struggling with basics, like how to staff and schedule their programs.”

J-PAL’s study The Transformative Potential of Tutoring for Pre K-12 Learning Outcomes: Lessons from Randomized Evaluations states, “Key findings from the Evidence Review include:

  • Across all studies included in this analysis, tutoring programs consistently lead to large improvements in learning outcomes for students, with an overall pooled effect size of 0.37 standard deviations. This impact translates to a student advancing from the 50th percentile to nearly the 66th percentile. 
  • Tutoring programs led by teacher or paraprofessional tutors are generally more effective than programs that used nonprofessional (volunteer) or parent tutors. Paraprofessional tutors include, among others, school staff members, undergraduate students in education, and service fellows.
  • The effects of tutoring programs tend to be strongest among students in earlier grades, though a smaller set of programs at the secondary level were also found to be effective at improving learning outcomes.
  • While overall effects for math and reading tutoring programs are similar, reading tutoring tends to be relatively more effective for students in preschool through first grade, while math tutoring tends to be more effective for students in second through fifth grade.
  • Tutoring programs conducted during school tend to have larger impacts than those conducted after school.”

Tutoring programs are most effective when it is frequent and taught by certified teachers during the school day. Students need support in their upward climb from live online tutors acting as personal guides up the mountain. We have the qualified, professional tutors your students deserve.

Students summit the academic mountain with a personal guide

Tutors act as expert, personal guides who help students build the skills they need to approach those mountain challenges including closing existing learning gaps and climbing toward the testing summit. 

We all want students to reach the summit by performing well in state and end-of-grade exams. Live virtual tutors guide them up an individualized designated route to pass every milestone and increase learning outcomes. 

High dosage tutoring with a synchronous teacher allows students to practice honing their skills in a low-risk environment much like a climber practices in a climbing gym before they face a challenging mountain. They can mix with small groups to gain support from their peers who are similarly catching up for exams.

Proximity Learning tutoring is the proven synchronous approach you know, adapted to individual needs. 

What are best practices for live tutoring?

Proximity Learning live tutoring endorsed by The National Student Support Accelerator's Tutoring Quality Improvement System. Following the Annenberg Institute at Brown University’s Design Principles for Accelerating Student Learning with High-Impact Tutoring, we utilize this proven approach to give your students the best chance at success. 

  • Frequency

“Tutoring interventions appear to be more effective as the number of tutoring sessions per week and the overall number of weeks increase. The most effective tutoring interventions involve three or more sessions per week with sessions that last for about 30-60 minutes per day. Studies have found little evidence that once-a-week tutoring is sufficient to generate meaningful gains. Most effective tutoring programs last for at least ten weeks, but many last for the entire school year.”

Proximity Learning offers high dosage tutoring, which meets an average of 3 times a week for 30 minutes per session. We work with your schedule to accommodate as many students, as often as possible to compound results.

  • Group size

“Tutors can effectively instruct up to three or four students at a time. However, moving beyond this number can quickly become small group instruction, which is less personalized and requires a higher degree of skill to do well. One-on-one tutoring is optimal if possible.”

3-4 student small group tutoring maximizes district budget to reach the most students possible while providing individualized instruction.

  • Personnel

“Because the skills required for tutoring are different from the skills required for effective classroom teaching, a wide variety of tutors (including volunteers and college students) can successfully improve student outcomes, if they receive adequate training and ongoing support.”

Your students deserve better than college students - Proximity Learning tutors are certified teachers who are qualified to teach each subject and trained specifically in personalized, live virtual tutoring.

  • Focus

“Researchers have found tutoring to be effective at all grade levels—even for high school students who have fallen quite far behind. The evidence is strongest, with the most research available, for reading-focused tutoring for students in early grades (particularly grades K-2) and for math-focused tutoring for older students.”

Tutoring meets students where they are and increases performance, no matter what level they’re starting from. Remedial ‘base campers,’ on-level ‘switchbackers,’ and advanced ‘summit seekers’ can all benefit from our personalized learning opportunities. 

  • Measurement

“Tutoring programs that effectively use data are more likely to be successful. Many of the most successful tutoring interventions to date collected ongoing implementation data and used it to continuously improve their programs. Successful tutoring organizations often have clear learning objectives and engage in rigorous evaluations to assess the effectiveness of their program. Frequent assessments of learning allow tutors to personalize instruction based on individual students’ needs.”

All tutoring students are assessed routinely to ensure progress and personalization in each session that targets individual areas of need as testing season approaches. 

  • Relationships

“Tutoring programs that pair a student with a consistent tutor for the duration of the program may provide better learning environments. Many tutoring interventions keep one tutor with a set student or group of students for the duration of the program. 

“Tutors that meet regularly with students have the opportunity to get to know individual students’ strengths and weaknesses, while developing caring tutor-student relationships. Like positive teacher-student relationships, positive tutor-student relationships may lead to greater academic, social, and motivational outcomes. 

“Some successful tutoring interventions are relationship-driven programs that focus on building trusting relationships between tutors and students, in addition to enhancing academic achievement. When students have positive, caring relationships with their tutors, they may become more motivated and have better attitudes toward school. Research on youth mentoring programs suggest positive mentoring relationships can have a wide range of benefits for students’ social-emotional well-being.”

A key benefit of live virtual tutoring with Proximity Learning is that your student’s tutor is consistent. They gets to know each student and builds personalized sessions around each learner’s needs and interests. Continuity of care is essential in the development of young students. 

  • Curriculum

“Using high-quality instructional materials that are aligned with classroom content allows tutors to reinforce and support teachers’ classroom instruction. Students likely learn more when their tutoring sessions complement and are responsive to their classroom grade-level instruction. 

“High-impact programs tend to use high-quality instructional materials that align with their core classroom content or grade-level standards. Remediation, or giving students simpler, previous grade-level materials, had been found to result only in students falling further behind the grade-level material. Rather than focusing on items that students have failed to master previously, tutors can address missed concepts and skills that are most critical to accessing the upcoming content. 

“Tutors can take on the role of catching struggling students up, while taking some of the pressure off classroom teachers and allowing them to maintain the pace of their instruction. However, tutors need to ensure they build foundational skills while making connections to the content students are learning in class.”

Tutors work closely with teachers to ensure students understand concepts and keep up with their peers in class. They will reinforce lessons and give students extra practice with tricky lessons to ensure they stay on track. 

  • Scheduling

“The recent meta-analysis of tutoring studies found that the effects of programs conducted during the school day are roughly twice as large as those conducted outside of school. Providing tutoring during school or immediately after school increases the likelihood that students will attend their tutoring sessions and facilitates a more academic-focused culture. 

“Tutoring that was a feature of the No Child Left Behind supplementary education services was delivered by independent providers outside of the school day. Poor student attendance and a disconnect from students’ school experiences often led to disappointing results.”

Districts are encouraged to accommodate tutoring within their regular school day schedules to maximize participation and, therefore, effectiveness.

  • Delivery mode

“Virtual learning offers the potential to lower tutoring costs and potentially provide stronger matches between students’ needs and tutors’ skill sets by expanding the potential supply of tutors.”

The pressure is off - schools don’t need to hire local tutors. Proximity Learning live virtual tutoring matches your students with the qualified tutors they need, regardless of location. 

  • Prioritization

“Decisions about which students to target are central; however, several different models have led to positive effects. 

Need-driven: Most tutoring interventions that have undergone evaluation have been need-driven and targeted to students who perform below particular thresholds. In 19 schools across three states, Reading Partners identified more than 1,100 students who were half a year to two and a half years behind grade level in reading to receive intensive reading tutoring weekly for 28 weeks on average. 

Curriculum-driven: Tutoring can also be curriculum-driven and provided at critical stages of students’ learning development or school transitions, points at which the disruption can negatively affect student achievement. For instance, Reading Recovery tutoring programs occur during first grade because it is a crucial point for literacy development. 

Universal tutoring: The Match tutorial model, where all students in a grade or school receive tutoring, may make tutored students feel less stigmatized, could address the needs of mid-performing students, and may provide a vehicle for high-performing students in underserved communities to excel. Districts or states can also target low-performing schools but provide tutoring schoolwide to address equity concerns without generating stigma for individual students. Framing matters for avoiding negative stigma.”

Proximity Learning can be customized to the tutoring model that meets the goals of your district. We will work together to create an action plan for the needs of your individual schools.

District support in tutoring efforts is essential to student growth

Students need their communities to rally around them, support their climb, and equip them with the tools and experience to succeed, especially as testing approaches. 

The Annenberg Institute at Brown University states, “Tutoring is not a silver bullet. Students are unlikely to experience learning gains if schools do not commit time and resources to implementing a high-quality tutoring program well. Studies have found little evidence that once-a-week tutoring is sufficient to generate meaningful effects. One meta-analysis found that high-impact tutoring was 20 times more effective than low-dosage tutoring in math. In reading, high-impact tutoring was 15 times more effective than low-dosage tutoring. Simply providing students with access to tutoring is unlikely to be effective for all students. Tutoring interventions often are not successful when there are no minimum dosage requirements, little oversight, and minimal connections with the students’ schools. A key element of successful tutoring programs is being able to establish a rigorous and caring culture.”

High dosage is more effective than on-demand tutors or chat tutors because frequent engagement with an expert allows students to build relationships and receive personalized teaching, enabling increased results.

Join us in equipping students to scale the academic mountain

With Proximity Learning, your students will have the consistency of the same certified synchronous tutor who frequently assesses each individual’s needs and personalizes lessons. The recurrent high-dosage tutoring will be incorporated into their regular school day to maximize participation and engagement. Together, we can help your students summit the academic mountain and succeed in end-of-year testing. 

Now is the time to prepare your students for the testing season. Don’t wait - give them the opportunity to catch up and excel. Start tutoring today.

about the author
Chelsea Penney

Chelsea Penney earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing from University of Colorado Denver and her Masters of Science in Marketing from Texas A&M University Commerce. She loves living in Austin, TX and working on the frontline as Content Marketing Manager for Proximity Learning.

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