From Struggling to Thriving: Boosting Students’ Math Scores with High Dosage Tutoring

Mathematics is a fundamental subject that plays a crucial role in the academic success of students. However, the decline of students’ math scores has become a pressing issue in education. Evidence of students’ struggles became a hot topic in October 2022 when National Assessment of Educational Progress, released the nation’s report card results showed that only 26% eighth grade tested proficient in math. This represents a sharp decline from 34% as reported in 2019 before the pandemic. Fourth-graders’ scores also declined by 5 percentage points with only 41% having tested proficient.

Poor math performance not only affects a student’s self-confidence, but also limits their future educational and career opportunities. Many careers besides finance use mathematics daily. outlined at least 17 professions where workers use mathematics in their daily jobs including computer scientists, engineers, meteorologist, and financial planners.

Even healthcare professionals, sports announcers, animators, and jet fighter pilots know the importance of possessing strong math skills to be successful in their careers.

Thus, it is essential that educational leaders address the decline and work to find proven solutions to boost student performance.

What is high dosage tutoring?

High-dosage tutoring is an evidenced-based approach that focuses on providing intensive and targeted support to students struggling with math. Unlike traditional tutoring, which typically involves sporadic sessions, high- dosage tutoring involves at least three sessions a week for 30 to 90 minutes in length with tutors who are experienced in the subject matter. High-dosage tutoring often utilizes personalized learning plans, coordination with students’ teachers and one-on-one or small group instruction to ensure that students receive individualized attention and support.

The benefits of high dosage tutoring for improving math scores:

High dosage tutoring has shown promising results in improving math scores among K-12 students. Research studies have indicated that students who receive high dosage tutoring experience significant gains in math proficiency compared to their peers who do not receive such intensive support. One such study, done by The University of Chicago released a study that students in 9th and 10th grade who received small group math instruction for 45-50 minutes daily were able to “complement in-classroom learning and help students catch-up to grade level.”

The personalized nature of high dosage tutoring allows tutors to work with students’ teachers to identify and address students’ specific math challenges and help them build a strong foundation in mathematical concepts and skills.

The benefits of high-dosage tutoring allow students to excel for several reasons:

-provides students with ongoing feedback and assessment, enabling tutors to track their progress and identify areas that require further attention

-fosters a positive and supportive learning environment, where students feel comfortable asking questions, making mistakes, and taking risks

– encourages active participation and deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, leading to improved math scores and overall academic achievement

Schools must allocate sufficient time and resources for high-dosage tutoring sessions. Extended and frequent sessions are essential to provide students with the intensive support they need to improve their math skills. Schools should strongly consider integrating high-dosage tutoring into the regular school day to maximize student participation and minimize scheduling conflicts. By embedding sessions within the school schedule, students can benefit from a seamless learning experience that aligns with their classroom instruction.

Best practices for high dosage tutoring in K-12 math education:

To ensure the effectiveness of high-dosage tutoring, it is essential to follow best practices that have been identified through research and successful implementation. A review of research studies on high-dosage tutoring done by the National Student Support Accelerator defined the following best practices utilized by successful programs:

 These best practices outlined in the report include:

Foundational Elements
  1. Equity
    • Accessibility for students
    • Trained tutors
    • Tutors reflect the communities they serve.
  2. Safety
    • Procedures and policies that provide a safe learning environment.
  3. Cohesion
    • Program is aligned to curriculum.
    • The tutoring provider has effective leadership.
    • Clear communications with organizations served.
Model Elements
  1. Tutor: consistent, well-supported
    • Tutors are skilled in relationship-building skills and are knowledgeable about subject content.
    • Tutors are trained and receive ongoing coaching and feedback.
  2. Instruction: significant time, using high-quality materials, in small groups
    • Instruction is aligned to curriculum with a focus on acceleration.
    • Sessions are provided at a minimum of three times per week.
    • Duration of sessions are a minimum of 30 minutes or more, depending upon subject matter and grade level.
    • Tutoring duration is a minimum of 10 weeks with the entire school year being ideal.
    • One-on-one, in-person or small group sessions with no more than 4 students per group.
  3. Learning Integration: embedded during the school day.
    • Tutoring should be embedded during the school day for student accessibility.
    • Family-engagement in student’s progress.
  4. Data Use: regularly used to inform instruction and program improvement.
    • Periodic assessments determine students’ progress.
    • Content taught adjusted as necessary.

Resources and tools for implementing high dosage tutoring programs:

Implementing high dosage tutoring programs requires access to appropriate resources and tools. The following are some recommended resources and tools that can support the implementation of high dosage tutoring in K-12 math education:

  • In-Person Tutoring Providers like SmartStart Education: Partner with an experienced tutoring organization that specializes in high dosage tutoring. Their team of skilled tutors and personalized learning plans can provide the necessary support to boost math scores among K-12 students.
  • Online Learning Platforms: Utilize online platforms that offer math-specific tutoring resources, practice exercises, and interactive tools. These platforms can provide additional support and practice opportunities for students outside of tutoring sessions.
  • Math Manipulatives: Incorporate math manipulatives, such as base ten blocks, algebra tiles, and geometric shapes, to make math concepts more tangible and accessible. Manipulatives can help students visualize abstract concepts and develop a deeper understanding of mathematical principles.
  • Data Analysis Tools: Utilize data analysis tools to track student progress, identify trends, and make data-informed decisions. These tools can help tutors and educators evaluate the effectiveness of high dosage tutoring programs and make necessary adjustments to improve student outcomes.

Evaluating the success of high dosage tutoring programs:

To evaluate the success of high dosage tutoring programs, it is important to establish clear and measurable goals. Schools should set specific targets for math score improvements and monitor students’ progress towards these goals. Regular assessment and data collection should be conducted to track the impact of high dosage tutoring on math scores and identify areas that require further attention.

Schools should also consider conducting comparative studies to assess the effectiveness of high dosage tutoring programs in relation to other interventions or instructional approaches. Comparing the outcomes of students who receive high-dosage tutoring with those who receive traditional tutoring or no additional support can help determine the unique benefits of this intensive intervention.

The future of high dosage tutoring in improving math scores:

High-dosage tutoring has emerged as a promising intervention for boosting students’ math scores. The evidence-based approach of providing intensive and personalized support to struggling students has shown significant improvements in math proficiency, student engagement, and overall academic achievement. By implementing high dosage tutoring programs in schools and following best practices, educators can empower students to overcome math difficulties, build a strong foundation in mathematics, and thrive academically.

To benefit from the transformative impact of high dosage tutoring, schools can partner with experienced tutoring organizations like SmartStart Education. By working together, educators and tutors can create a supportive and effective learning environment that nurtures students’ mathematical abilities so they can achieve their full academic potential.

Partner with SmartStart Education to offer your struggling students a proven method for helping them achieve and succeed.