Why Early Literacy And Algebra I Are The Best Bets For High-Impact Tutoring

July 25, 2023

School districts across the United States are looking for solutions to address learning loss, accelerate learning, and reduce operational demands. While remediated learning for students who have fallen behind grade level is important, it is crucial for all schools to offer access to high-impact tutoring for each student. In doing so, schools can increase student outcomes and district standing without draining school and district resources.

Effective high-impact tutoring starts with literacy and math for every student

Saga Education’s high-impact tutoring program is a research-backed, proven solution to teach foundational skills, accelerate learning, and provide students with small-group instruction during the school day as part of regular class time. Without hiring more classroom teachers or overcoming the logistical complications that many proposed (and implemented) solutions require, high-impact tutoring still demonstrates major improvements to student achievement.

Every student should have the opportunity to work with an in-school tutor at least once or twice in their primary and secondary educational career. Why? Because apart from benefiting the schools and school districts by increasing student achievement and improving outcomes, in-school tutoring offers students the space, instruction, practice, and connections necessary to succeed in school.

Small group tutoring also allows students to interact with each other, engaging in cooperative learning, and practicing group learning dynamics. They can observe how other students approach material, and provide insight and assistance to classmates and group members.

Students can take turns helping or being helped, increasing their comfort level with the material and group work. These experiences can deepen learning, bolster confidence, and build resilience in overcoming challenges.

See how Saga works in the classroom to support students and improve outcomes.

Focusing efforts in math and early literacy allows schools to reap the many benefits of in-school tutoring and small group learning while targeting the content areas that show the most impact for students.

School Districts should implement in-school tutoring where it will have the greatest impact

Implementing any learning solution can be complex. School districts considering implementing in-school tutoring to accelerate learning must target areas where it will have the greatest impact.

Focus areas for tutoring should start where the research has demonstrated successful outcomes. According to the studies, the most effective content areas for tutoring are early literacy and 9th grade math.

Specifically, early literacy tutoring increases success in reading, which sets students up for success for the rest of their educational career. If a student experiences difficulty with reading, their chances of successfully graduating from high-school are decreased. In fact, setting students up with literacy tutoring early on can significantly increase high school graduation rates.

Similarly, foundational math skills taught in 9th grade algebra are imperative to success and high school completion. Focusing on these priority areas can help districts determine success of high-impact tutoring in their districts, and use their resources most effectively.

Research shows that third-grade reading proficiency & success in Algebra I increase the likelihood of graduation four-fold

Learners who meet grade-level expectations for reading early on are more likely to succeed in school. Efforts to improve early literacy, increase stamina, and remediate learners who are below grade level have been less successful than students need.

However, organizations like our partner, Success For All provide evidence-based, standards-aligned, effective in-school tutoring in literacy with positive results. Success For All has proven that early tutoring helps students learn to read so that they can read to learn.

Focused, in-school tutoring efforts to teach literacy skills is highly effective before 4th grade. As kids get older, literacy tutoring becomes less effective. Because of this, it is critical that districts provide early literacy tutoring when students are first learning phonics and reading skills, not after they have fallen behind the pacing of their peers.

As students progress through grade levels, they encounter different challenges. They reach another increased learning demand when they approach 9th grade algebra. Foundational math skills set students up for success. They need Algebra I skills in subsequent math courses and other subjects that require a firm grasp on algebraic concepts and reasoning. This is another opportunity for school districts to set their students and teachers up for success instead of waiting until students have fallen behind.

By 9th grade, students may be approaching learning and social situations differently than they were when learning to read, but the need for small group support, 1:1 instruction, monitoring for progress, and remediation all remain. Implementing high-imact tutoring into classroom time for Algebra I students provides all of these inputs, while allowing for personalized instruction.

High-impact tutoring in algebra has shown to significantly improve student outcomes across the board–from math class to their non-tutored subjects. Tutoring with fidelity in one subject, in this case Algebra I, can lead to improved grades and increased completion in all subjects.

Setting kids up for success in these crucial subjects increases the odds a student will graduate high school four-fold. It even increases the chances of a successful college career. When students are given the right tools and support systems, learning does not need to be a difficulty they’re trying to overcome. It can be a path to a future with choices.

Meaningful relationships with caring adults improve confidence & foster a sense of belonging in school

In addition to the learning progress and educational successes we see in the primary focus areas for tutoring, we also see student wins that can be harder to measure. Improvements that result from the experience a student has with high-impact tutoring vs. the direct, measurable results in their classes can be just as powerful as improved scores or passing courses.

In today’s educational system, students and teachers are under intense pressure to perform, but lack the resources and logistical support to adequately prepare all students to score well on assessments and meet state standards and district goals.

Class sizes are large, instructional time is limited, and the amount of material teachers must cover often do not allow for individualized instruction, remediation, small group work, or getting off schedule when many students are struggling with the same material.

The individual and small group instruction students receive with effective high-impact tutoring helps them form relationships, ask for help, understand concepts and practive skills. This often increases confidence in asking questions, working with others, admitting confusion, building resilience with difficult materials, and fosters trust with a caring adult who is committed to their success.

They learn to better manage their time, create habits for success, and establish routines that help them continue developing the skills they need to be successful in school. They learn to meet challenges, try new approaches, and listen to other perspectives.

Whether discussing early literacy tutoring or high-impact tutoring in high school math, the connection with caring adults and the social-emotional benefits of small group instruction are an integral part of the success of in-school tutoring.

When kids feel connected, they are better able to focus and learn. Early literacy tutoring and in-school Algebra I tutoring give students the foundation and connections for a successful school experience, even limiting the tutoring time to specific focus areas.

Find out how to bring early literacy tutoring and high-impact tutoring to your district.

Get comprehensive high-impact tutoring support from Saga Education and the Success for All Foundation