District Administration - March 2008 - (Page 78)
ResearchCorner ESSENTIALS ON EDUCATION DATA and RESEARCH ANALYSIS How Tutoring Fares against NCLB By Carla Thomas McClure UNDER THE NO CHILD LEFT Behind act, districts receiving Title I funds are required to oﬀer free tutoring and other supplemental educational services to students from low-income families who attend a Title I school that has not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for at least three years. District personnel may be asked to help parents select a provider from a state-approved list. They may also be asked what the research says about tutoring as an intervention strategy. Although high-quality research on this topic is limited, available studies provide useful insights and caveats. Tutoring under NCLB In the summer of 2007, RAND released the ﬁrst federally funded evaluation of school choice and supplemental educational services under NCLB. After examining data from nine large urban districts, RAND researchers concluded that tutoring had “a positive inﬂuence on reading and math scores in ﬁve of the seven districts where there were enough students to examine eﬀects.” Although academic gains were small during the ﬁrst year, they increased after students received a second year of tutoring, indicating a positive cumulative eﬀect. Comparisons of commercial tutoring services versus district-operated tutoring programs yielded mixed results as to which was better at producing academic gains. Meanwhile, students who elected transfer to better performing schools over tutoring showed no signiﬁcant improvement in test scores, although researchers cautioned that these ﬁndings should not be viewed as nationally representative. Only weeks before RAND released its report, Patricia Burch, a policy analyst Researchers and analysts caution against adopting a one-size-ﬁts-all approach. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, described the evidence base for tutoring and other supplemental education service provisions as “quite limited.” She cited two important district-level studies of how these NCLB services aﬀected student performance—one in Minneapolis and another in Chicago—but deemed them “methodologically inadequate” for the purpose of making broad policy recommendations in districts. Two other districts (Los Angeles Uniﬁed School District and Pittsburgh Public Schools) as well as three states (Georgia, New Mexico and Tennessee) have also examined the relationship between tutoring and student achievement. The verdict: In general, tutoring doesn’t seem to hurt, and sometimes it can help, with some stu- dents posting small gains on state reading and math exams. Inadequate state and district resources for monitoring providers, implementation and results may help explain why the research base on NCLB tutoring remains small (Sunderman, 2007). Findings from Other Studies Tutoring can be delivered in a variety of ways (e.g., in small groups or one-on one) and circumstances (at the school or in other settings). Several studies have shown that tutoring can help low-achieving students improve their academic performance (e.g., Elbaum et al., 2000). In 2004, researchers at McREL examined 20 years of research on the eﬀectiveness of out-of-school-time strategies in assisting low-achieving students in reading and mathematics. After limiting their analysis to 56 studies that used comparison/ control groups, they performed a metaanalysis to estimate the impact of various strategies on student achievement. The team found that “overall, the largest average positive eﬀect size (.50 representing a gain of 19 percentile points) occurred for the reading strategies that used one-onone tutoring.” One-on-one tutoring is also integral to Reading Recovery, a research-based program that targets the lowest-achieving readers in the ﬁrst grade. In 2007, the What Works Clearinghouse gave the program a rare thumbs-up: Based on ﬁve studies that met its standards for rigor, the clearinghouse noted positive eﬀects on general reading achievement and alphabetic skills and potentially positive eﬀects on ﬂuency and comprehension. However, researchers and analysts caution against adopting a one-size-ﬁts- The Research Says 1. Tutoring can be an effective way to boost the academic performance of low-achieving students. 2. Tutoring programs should have a strong diagnostic and prescriptive element to gauge success. 3. Trained individuals of various ages and education levels can be effective tutors. 4. Tutoring sessions should be evaluated continually. Source: McREL, 2002 78 March 2008 District Administration
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - March 2008
District Administration - March 2008
Inside the Law
Crafting Strategic Plans
Social Studies: Is it History?
District Buying Power: Spending on Construction and Renovation
How Well Does This Web Site Work?
Calendar of Events
Understanding the Times
District Administration - March 2008