Unpacking High-Dosage Tutoring for Grades K-12

Not all students learn at the same pace. In fact, studies have shown that those students who were struggling academically before the onset of the Covid pandemic have fallen further behind. Past research indicates that students who fall behind in 4th and 8th grade have only a 1 in 3 chance of being college or career ready by the time they graduate high school.1  Another study showed that students who are not proficient in reading by 3rd grade are four times less likely to graduate high school than children with proficient reading skills.2 Therefore, it is essential that educators work to ensure every student is receiving quality instruction in the classroom. High-dose dosage tutoring is one of the most effective ways schools can ensure that struggling students get the extra help they need to succeed in their studies.3

Understanding High-Dosage Tutoring 

High-dosage tutoring is a type of instruction that typically involves one-on-one or small group (maximum of 4:1 student to teacher ratio) sessions with a qualified tutor. During these sessions, the tutor assesses students’ understanding of the material and provides personalized instruction and support to help each student reach a deeper level of understanding. High-dosage tutoring is typically conducted in short, intense sessions of at least 30 minutes three or more times per week. This type of tutoring program if often offered to students who are struggling in the classroom and need extra help to bring them up to grade level.

Benefits of High-Dosage Tutoring 

  • High-dosage tutoring can be a valuable tool for K-12 students as it can help them build confidence and motivation in their studies.
  • Students can develop better study habits, increase their understanding of the material, and improve their grades.
  • This type of intervention program also provides students the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback in a comfortable and supportive environment.
  • Tutoring helps to create a positive learning experience and encourages students to take ownership of their own learning.
  • Tutors work in conjunction with classroom teachers to help pinpoint students’ trouble spots to customize sessions that will help in building a deeper understanding of material covered in class.
  • Tutoring can also help students develop critical thinking skills, which are beneficial for future learning and success.

Tutoring Studies and Results 

Several studies have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of tutoring in general. One study found that, on average, achievement increased by roughly 3 to 15 months of learning across all grade levels.4

A study conducted in Chicago Public Schools found that high-dosage tutoring could, “double or triple the amount of math high school students learn in a year, increase test grades and reduce math and non-math failures.” In addition, the report concluded that students learning gains persisted, were made across all subjects, and helped close the gaps accelerated by Covid-19.5

Factors That Contribute to Success 

High-dosage tutoring can be a valuable resource for K-12 students, but it is important to ensure that the tutoring is effective and that every student is getting the most out of the experience. There are several factors that can contribute to the success of high-dosage tutoring, including:

  • Qualified Tutors: It’s important to find a qualified and experienced tutor who is knowledgeable in the subject matter and can provide personalized instruction and support.
  • Individualized Instruction: The tutor should customize their instruction to the student’s individual needs and learning style in order to ensure that the student is getting the most out of the experience.
  • Regular Feedback: The tutor should provide regular feedback and encouragement to help students stay motivated and focused on their learning goals.
  • Positive Learning Environment: The tutor should create a positive learning environment that encourages students to take ownership of their own learning.


High-dosage tutoring is a valuable resource tool for K-12 students as it helps them build confidence and motivation in their studies, develop better study habits, and improve their grades. Studies have also shown that high-dosage tutoring can lead to significant gains in student performance, including improved test scores and increased grades.

Finding an effective tutor is essential for the success of high-dosage tutoring. It is important to find a tutor who is knowledgeable in the subject matter, experienced in working with students, and able to customize their instruction to the student’s individual needs and learning style.

High-dosage tutoring is a worthwhile investment for schools to make to help struggling students. It is important for educators to plan and implement programs now. Immediate intervention is especially critical for students who were having a challenging time keeping up before the pandemic and have fallen even further behind. If proper interventions aren’t implemented, these students will continue to underachieve, which will result in less opportunities for them both academically and professionally. Every child deserves the chance to achieve their greatest potential, and educators can make that happen by providing the right tools that will help them reach their goals.



1 ACT. Catching Up to Career and College Readiness, 2012. Accessed February 8, 2023. https://www.act.org/content/dam/act/unsecured/documents/Catching-Up-To-College-and-Career-Readiness.pdf

2The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Double Jeopardy: How Third Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation. Baltimore: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2012. Accessed August 3, 2020. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED518818

3EdResearch for Recovery, Accelerating Student Learning With High-Dosage Tutoring. 2021. Accessed February 9, 2023. https://annenberg.brown.edu/sites/default/files/EdResearch_for_Recovery_Design_Principles_1.pdf

4 J-Pal, North America, MIT, The Transformative Potential of Tutoring for PreK-12 Learning Outcomes: Lessons From Randomized Evaluations. Accessed February 9, 2023. https://www.povertyactionlab.org/sites/default/files/publication/Evidence-Review_The-Transformative-Potential-of-Tutoring.pdf

5The Education Lab, Not Too Late: Improving Academic Outcomes Among Adolescents, 2021. Accessed February 9, 2023. https://www.nber.org/papers/w28531