Online tutoring? You get what you pay for

Best Evidence in Brief Index

By Qiyang Zhang, Johns Hopkins University

In-person and high-dosage tutoring is gaining popularity among practitioners as an evidence-based approach to accelerate learning in the post-pandemic education system. Facing the challenge of insufficient funding and lack of local tutors to provide in-person tutoring, some practitioners regard online tutoring as an alternative outlet. However, there is limited research to establish the effectiveness of online tutoring programs. To investigate this topic of increasing interest, Dr. Kraft and his colleagues conducted a pilot study and found answers align with conventional wisdom.

This pilot study recruited 230 volunteer college student tutors from 47 highly selective universities to deliver one-to-one online tutoring using Zoom. All tutors participated in a three-hour training session before the intervention and weekly peer-mentoring sessions during the intervention. The 560 participants were 6th-8th grade students from Chicago. Almost all of them come from low-income households. The study randomly assigned students to…

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