Claiborne & Stockwell: Not Enough Tutors to Go Around? College Students Can Help

The 74
EdResearch for Recovery

College students have the power to transform the tutoring landscape and overcome one of the biggest hurdles in bringing tutoring to scale.

It seems like everyone is talking about tutoring. Some 40% of school districts and charter organizations are talking about investing billions in tutoring and academic skills coaching to address pandemic-related disruptions to learning. Even more policymakers and researchers are discussing ways to create a national tutoring corps, statewide tutoring groups or lists of state-approved tutoring providers to help districts establish strong programs.

Given the consistent and compelling research base, nearly half of all districts are planning to implement tutoring programs. But, more than two years after the pandemic shuttered schools, many programs are floundering and district leaders are left wondering how they can get enough qualified tutors in front of students.

In our EdResearch for Recovery network of Rhode Island districts that are planning and running high-impact tutoring programs, hiring has been the single biggest barrier. Tutor positions were posted online and sent out to staff but went unfilled. Employing certified teachers as tutors outside of school hours is an obvious choice, given their requisite skills and familiarity with the content. But, teachers are understandably burned out, describing the past three years as the hardest they’ve ever faced. On top of that, volunteerism dropped during the pandemic.

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