Tutoring seen closing math gap

Jonathan Guryan

A Northwestern University researcher, speaking at a forum in Washington today, argues that an intensive tutoring program tested in Chicago could be scaled up to yield dramatic gains in student performance nationwide without requiring additional government funding.

Jonathan Guryan, a fellow at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research, says the Match Education tutoring program, now delivered by SAGA Innovations, was shown to add up to two years of learning in math over a single school year for struggling high school students.

Guryan suggests using existing federal Title I funds to pay for the program.

The impact of the program was evaluated by Guryan and faculty from the University of Chicago..

The key insight behind the proposal, he says, is that intensive, personalized tutorial instruction can be delivered at a manageable cost, with no additional government spending, by recognizing that tutoring is a task that is fundamentally different from regular classroom teaching.

The program uses tutoring fellows -- rather than regular classroom teachers -- to deliver the additional coaching, SAGA says the fellows include recent college graduates, career changers and recent retirees.

The session in Washington is organized by The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.

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