There are significant achievement gaps in the United States based on race and socioeconomic status. While these disparities have always existed, they have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.
A recent K-12 Dive Brief examined the decrease in the number of students of color who enrolled in college during the pandemic, noting that “colleges reported a 7% decline” from fall 2020 to fall 2022.
The Brief points out that students who take college preparatory classes in high school are more likely to be prepared for college.
However, it also cautions against requiring all students to take these advanced classes.
This is because it is not enough for students to be in those classes. As Elaine Allensworth, the Lewis-Sebring Director of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, notes in the Brief:
“Improving equity in postsecondary outcomes requires not only encouraging all students to take postsecondary coursework, but ensuring students and teachers have the supports they need to be successful with those courses.”
Underrepresented students often face additional barriers in the form of discrimination and prejudice. This can manifest in many ways, from feeling unwelcome or out of place on a predominantly white campus to being told they’re not “college material.” These experiences can discourage underrepresented students from applying to or attending college altogether.
Tutoring programs have always been an important resource for underrepresented students, but they are now more crucial than ever.
Tutoring as a research-backed intervention
Tutoring has long been touted as an effective intervention for students from underrepresented groups. Research has repeatedly found that tutoring can be an especially powerful tool for these students, helping them improve their grades and test scores and increase their chances of enrolling in college.
As one report explains, high-dosage tutoring “focuses on scaffolding academic content so students can access new learning, while also building upon their knowledge and skills base. Research has found that when tutoring is provided at a ‘high dosage’ and with certain features in place, it leads to increased learning for students.”
Benefits of tutoring programs
There are several benefits of tutoring programs for underrepresented students.
First, these programs can help close the achievement gap between student groups.
Second, they can improve academic performance and grades and help students develop positive study habits.
Third, they can boost self-confidence and motivation and help students feel more connected to their school community. Fourth, they can provide a safe and supportive environment for struggling students. Finally, tutoring programs can help prepare underrepresented students for college and career success.
However, there is a lack of qualified teachers to work with these students. This is where Skooli can help. We work with schools and districts to customize equitable academic support programs to support all students:
- Unlimited 24/7 on-demand homework help and 24-hour assignment review
- High-dosage tutoring for more regular, intensive instruction
- 1:1 online tutoring with professional educators across all subjects
- Safe and secure learning environment
Tutoring programs provide individualized attention and support that can make a big difference for struggling students.
They can help with homework, test prep, and other academic skills. But tutoring programs also provide valuable social and emotional support.
Students who participate in tutoring programs feel more connected to their school and classmates and are more likely to graduate from high school.