‘What Would It Mean to Equalize Access to Tutoring?’ Brown University’s National Student Support Accelerator Aims to Find Out

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When the pandemic forced K-12 schools to shift to distance learning in March 2020, Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform made its own shift, leveraging research and financial support to deliver individualized tutoring to traditionally underserved students at high risk of additional learning loss.

“There is a lot of evidence that tutoring can produce large learning gains for a wide range of students, especially students who have fallen behind,” says Carly Robinson, a postdoctoral research associate at the institute. “Tutoring raised to the top of the list of what could put a dent in unprecedented learning loss. Tutoring works.”

The institute quickly developed the National Student Support Accelerator, still in its startup phase, to bring together researchers, schools and donors to help give K-12 students nationwide access to tutoring. Robinson says the goal is to make tutoring effective and then implement that effectiveness at scale.

Part of the challenge is ensuring accessibility, especially for families who can’t afford a private tutor. “What would it mean to equalize access to tutoring?” Robinson asks. “The actual vision is pretty big.”