Training & Support

Implementation Checklist

  • Delineate training content based on Model Dimensions and selection criteria for tutors
  • Establish a clear structure for pre-service and in-service training, including frequency, format, facilitator, etc.
  • Ensure inservice training is responsive to performance evaluations, stakeholder feedback, and student performance data
  • Collect feedback from tutors on trainings and incorporate insights and lessons from feedback to improve training effectiveness

Implementation Tools

(Click on the links below or visit the pages on the lefthand navigation for more information.)

Pre-Service Training Guidance In-Service Training & Support Guidance


Key Insights

Training should fill any gaps between your selection criteria and your ideal tutor’s qualities.

  • Training decisions and selection decisions are related. Training should help tutors acquire whatever important qualities a program did not actively select for during recruitment.
  • Model design decisions also influence training content. Programs with online delivery models will need to train tutors to use all features of the platform; programs with multiple students per tutor will need to train tutors to manage student behavior, programs with consistent tutors will need to emphasize relationship-building, etc.

The frequency of training depends on the tutor type and complexity of the program model.

  • Tutors (especially volunteers or college students) who receive more training will be significantly more effective than those who receive less, but program capacity and return on investment is also important to consider. Year-round in-school paraprofessionals should receive more thorough training than part-timers at an 8-week summer program, for example, as the benefits of training will compound over time.

Regardless of tutor type or program model, pre-service training alone will not be sufficient.

  • Even with the highest-quality tutors, unanticipated friction and human conflict can emerge in implementing any program model. Programs need to keep an eye out for opportunities to help tutors improve and resolve problems as they emerge in practice.
  • Pre-service training should focus on building knowledge, while inservice training should hone skills. An inservice support model might involve individual observation and coaching, differentiated group coaching on specific skills, and peer support via sharing best practices.

Tutor support matters regardless of model design.

  • While the specific support structures may vary from program to program, the need for support is universal. Rigorous recruitment does not mean you can overlook oversight and support: even competent and capable individuals perform better with supervision and support.
  • However, there are many ways to provide support depending on a program’s design. Support could mean a formal manager on the program’s staff (sometimes referred to as a “site director”), a “lead tutor” who has been deemed effective in the role and capable of training others, a teacher at a specific school site, or something entirely different, like using a technology platform that tracks whether or not tutors are meeting expectations. It could also involve a combination of these methods: for example, several lead tutors supervised by a formal manager could effectively oversee many more tutors than that single manager could alone.

Trace student outcomes to root causes in tutor practices to identify training needs.

  • Student academic data should inform tutor training. If students are struggling with vernacular misconceptions, for example, targeted training on anticipating and preventing these misconceptions by clarifying terminology could help tutors serve students better. Additionally, If the data indicates that lack of mastery on a prerequisite skill is the barrier for mastering the current standard, training tutors to identify missing prerequisite skills and build a remediation lesson should be considered.

Seek feedback from tutors about their needs to customize training content.

  • Students feel empowered and excited when they have agency in their own learning, and the same is true of tutors. Soliciting feedback from tutors and providing training geared towards their self-identified needs not only helps them become better tutors, but also helps them feel supported and valued by the program.