The National Student Support Accelerator

The National Student Support Accelerator’s vision is that all K-12 students will have access to high-impact tutoring* to accelerate their academic success. Started by a diverse group of over 20 national education leaders that came together early in the pandemic to address student learning needs caused by COVID-19, the Accelerator will provide the tools and networking opportunities to incent and support education organizations to adopt high-impact tutoring at scale — addressing COVID-19 related learning loss as well as supporting academic success in the long term.

While high-impact tutoring has proven to be a successful academic intervention, cost and access have limited its reach. The Working Group’s shared vision is that all students in need will have access to high-impact tutoring to support their academic success in the wake of COVID-19 and beyond. Potential tutors may be drawn from the ranks of the highly-skilled workers who are currently unemployed and underemployed; tapping into this workforce provides an opportunity to scale high-impact tutoring, and also supports tutors in building skills that may potentially lead to their future employment in the education field.

Several sources have provided funding for developmental projects to establish the foundation for this vision: the plan for a new organization to support educational institutions and tutoring organizations in bringing high-impact tutoring to scale; tools to ensure efforts are highly effective and easily replicable; a continuous learning agenda to improve our understanding of high-impact tutoring; and models for scaling successful efforts. Specifically, these projects include:

  • A business plan to launch the new National Student Support Accelerator to centralize tutoring resources and tools to improve and expand tutoring programs, build a network of tutoring organizations and educational systems interested in implementing high-impact tutoring, set a continuous learning research agenda, and potentially develop a means to credential tutoring programs based on evidence-based practices.
  • Tools and research to support organizations that are launching new or improving existing tutoring programs:
    • A toolkit that identifies models of high-impact tutoring and provides supporting information and tools for assessing program quality and high-quality implementation
    • A financial modeling tool to calculate tutoring costs given varying assumptions
    • A university-based tutoring program toolkit focused on how to create high-impact tutoring programs using university students as tutors.
  • A continuous learning research agenda including a minimum of six tutoring test sites to test models for efficacy and better understand barriers to effective implementation, potential for expansion and sustainability, and drivers of success.
  • Models for scaling successful programs including assessments of the feasibility of recruiting and training the unemployed and underemployed to become tutors and of potential approaches for funding tutoring at scale in the long run.

During this developmental stage, the Annenberg Institute and an Advisory Board of national education leaders are leading this project. This stage is anticipated to be complete in December with the new organization moving efforts forward in January.

*High-impact tutoring is a form of one-on-one or small group teaching that leads to substantial learning gains by supplementing (not replacing) students’ classroom experiences.

National Student Support Accelerator Summary.pdf

What is 'High-Impact Tutoring’?

Tutoring is a form of teaching, one-on-one or in a small group, towards a specific goal. High-impact tutoring leads to substantial learning gains for students by supplementing (but not replacing) students’ classroom experiences. [1]High-impact tutoring responds to individual needs and complements students’ existing curriculum.

We recognize high-impact tutoring programs as those that either have directly demonstrated significant gains in student learning through state-of-the-art research studies or have characteristics that have proven to accelerate student learning. These characteristics of high-impact tutoring programs currently include: substantial time each week of required tutoring, sustained and strong relationships between students and their tutors, close monitoring of student knowledge and skills, alignment with school curriculum, and oversight of tutors to assure quality interactions.

[1] Other “personalized learning” options exist and may promote student learning by replacing traditional class periods, but we do not include them under our umbrella definition of tutoring. For example, at this point in time we are not focusing on initiatives such as: pull-out services (e.g., when students receive personalized help instead of attending a class), in-class small group instruction by a 2nd teacher (e.g., co-teaching), or learning pods.

High-Impact Tutoring Definition.pdf