Learning Loss & High-Dosage Tutoring

While improving our schools for the future is vital, helping students now is a top priority for Governor Landry. This legislation is designed to bring students who have fallen behind in reading and math skills up to speed utilizing high-dosage tutoring, coaching, supplemental programs and student monitoring. 

To address learning loss and ongoing student achievement gaps in Louisiana, high-dosage tutoring - tutoring administered three times a week or more, individually or in small groups, with a strong curriculum as opposed to “homework help” - has the strongest evidence base of any potential large-scale in-school intervention.

A meta-analysis (an analysis of dozens of high quality studies) found that tutoring programs have consistently large, positive impacts on students across a wide range of program characteristics. The magnitude and consistency of the findings point to tutoring as one of the most agreed-upon and impactful tools available to improve student learning.¹

The average effect of tutoring programs on academic achievement is larger than roughly 85 percent of other education interventions and equivalent to moving a student at the 35th percentile of the achievement distribution to the 50th percentile.²

Source: 1) Andre Joshua Nickow (Northwestern University), Philip Oreopoulos (University of Toronto), and Vincent Quan (J-PAL North America, MIT); 2) Dr. Matthew Kraft and Grace Falken, Brown University, in FutureEd.

Research conducted over the past two years reinforces long standing evidence that high-dosage tutoring can be effective in core academic areas.

In math, in-person models have been studied for years by the University of Chicago, with findings that students get months of additional learning gains over the course of a single year of high frequency small group tutoring. As more tutoring has moved on-line, an analysis by Mathematica Policy Research of eight hybrid models that include on-line tutoring found positive effects when the programs have strong implementation.

In literacy, recent studies by Stanford University show strong positive effects for one-on-one tutoring done in classrooms, and with on-line administration, even with young students.

Economists and researchers recently wrote that high dosage tutoring is perhaps the most cost effective means of addressing pandemic learning loss, and suggested that the combination of resources to implement tutoring, mixed with accountability to deliver it appropriately and effectively, could have an enormous return on investment.³

Source: 3) Dr. Jonathan Guryan, Northwestern University, and Dr. Jens Ludwig, University of Chicago, writing for the Aspen Institute’s Economic Strategy Group.

Create a literacy coaching funding source — current federal CLSD grant ends in FY 25 and supports the salaries and benefits of approximately 180 literacy coaches.

Literacy coaches are an important support mechanism for teachers in the classroom. School-based literacy coaches work closely with teachers to improve classroom practice and, ultimately, student reading achievement school-wide.

While educator prep programs should be teaching candidates how to best teach early literacy, not all programs do and not all teachers attend the programs that do. A literacy coach can fill in that lack of expertise.

Literacy coaches are site-based personnel who provide the following support: facilitate teacher training on evidence-based reading instruction and data-based decision making; demonstrate lessons; co-teach and/or observe teaching and provide immediate feedback. Literacy coaches serve as a stable resource for professional development throughout an elementary school, creating master teachers of reading to improve student reading achievement.

Whether or not a school receives a literacy coach depends on data and sustainable achievement over time.

Develop a K-3 universal math screener (like the newly created literacy screener) to focus on foundational math skills and provide teachers and parents with real-time information on student performance/needs.

Any comprehensive K-3 mathematics strategy must include daily math instruction with high quality content and instructional materials, support for teachers, assessments/screeners with parent notification, interventions, and resources for families and caregivers.

A fundamental policy principal for success in math is the administration of a math screener for K-3 students. This screener must be accompanied with progress monitoring that will inform parents when math difficulty is identified.

In the foundational years (K-3) teachers must regularly monitor student progress and adjust instruction using proven strategies for closing opportunity gaps according to student need. Monitoring student progress looks like administering math screeners within the first 30 days of school, then progress monitoring with the screener throughout the year. Finally, if a math difficulty is identified, the information from the screener can inform parent/caregiver engagement.

Provide optional professional development for K-3 educators, mirroring Act 260’s (2023) required training for 4th-8th grade math teachers.

The National Mathematics Advisory Panel findings show that the way students best learn math has changed. States should not assume that all teachers are prepared to use instructional math strategies that work. The relationship between teachers’ mathematical knowledge and students’ achievement confirms the importance of teachers’ content knowledge. Teachers cannot teach what they do not know.

Professional learning should focus on math proficiency which is a blending of 1) Concepts – Understanding concepts, operations, and relations, 2) Procedures – Using procedures flexibly, accurately, and efficiently, 3) Strategies – Formulating, representing, and problem-solving, 4) Reasoning – Reflecting, explaining, and justifying, and 5) Disposition – Seeing math as sensible, useful, and worthwhile.

Classroom math instruction should be a combination of “student-centered” (inquiry-based) and “teacher-directed” (explicit instruction) opportunities that are bidirectional and reflect the needs of the students.

With this shift in math instruction, it is critical for K-8 teachers to have statewide math training that is ongoing and job embedded. Teacher education programs and licensure tests should fully address the topics of whole numbers, fractions, and the appropriate aspects of geometry and measurement.

Amend Act 458 (2023) to require districts to report high-dosage tutoring efforts to LDE.

One of the biggest hurdles to implementing high-dosage tutoring (HDT) is to change the mindset people have of what tutoring is. Most people think of tutoring as “sitting and getting complemented to learn” for an hour or two before/after school. HDT is embedded in the learning experience for students where the ratio of tutor to student is small and the tutoring is personalized and ongoing.

This change would require districts to report on implementation of HDT so their efforts can be fully supported.

Designate funding for high-dosage tutoring in level 4 of the MFP.

High-dosage tutoring has a low student-to-tutor ratio (at most three students to one tutor). Designated funding will improve the ability of tutors and teachers to bring students up to speed

Expand The Scope Of The Steve Carter Literacy Microgrant Program To Include Math And Raise The Microgrant Cap Per Student From $1k To $1,500.​

Students cannot wait for the state to ensure each school and district is implementing high-dosage tutoring. The Steve Carter Literacy Tutoring Program provides students with direct access to tutoring vouchers for literacy purposes. This program must be expanded to include math tutoring. 

On the most recent administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Louisiana ranked No. 1 in the nation for improvement in 4th grade reading proficiency rates. Unfortunately, math has not caught up to pre-pandemic levels.