Addressing unfinished learning with targeted help and high-dosage tutoring

Fordham Institute


The new National Student Support Accelerator, housed at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, launched to accelerate the growth of high-impact tutoring opportunities for K–12 students in need. The accelerator coordinates and synthesizes tutoring research and uses that research to develop publicly available tools and technical assistance to support districts and schools to develop high-impact tutoring programs for students.

The accelerator began with a group of national education leaders seeking solutions to pandemic disrupted learning. Initial research by the group quickly identified tutoring as a promising solution because of its effectiveness relative to other academic interventions, its spillover effects such as increased student engagement, and its potential to improve the pipeline into teaching by providing opportunities for a large and diverse group of potential teachers to work with students, building their skills and their understanding of teaching.

The accelerator also found that not all tutoring is equitable or effective. No Child Left Behind’s Supplementary Education Services (SES) invested heavily in tutoring, yet only 23 percent of eligible students participated and evaluations showed little benefits, on average (see Heinrich et al., 2014; Zimmer et al., 2010).

Their synthesis of the extensive research on tutoring identified seven elements that distinguish high-impact tutoring. The Covid-19 disruptions and an influx of federal funding provide opportunity to scale this high-impact tutoring so that all students who can benefit from it have access. The accelerator is providing the research-backed tools and technical assistance to support implementation so that districts can take advantage of this opportunity to embed effective and equitable tutoring into schools for the long-run.