by Dr. Robert Luebke
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Learning loss and how to deal with it continues to be a major topic of discussion in legislatures across the country. Last week HB 82, introduced by House Republicans, proposed a six week in-classroom summer session targeted on at risk-kids as a way to help redress the growing negative academic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic. I share my concerns about the bill here.
Research continues to emerge that suggests tutoring is among the most effective ways to deal with learning loss. A recent article in The 74 speaks to the growing consensus about the benefits of high quality tutoring.
From decades of rigorous studies, we know that tutoring offered in high doses of three or more sessions per week is more likely to be effective than less frequent sessions. We know that tutoring offered during the school day tends to result in greater learning gains than sessions held after school or during the summer. We know that having a consistent tutor over time helps foster a positive -tutor relationships and a stronger understanding of students’ learning needs. And we know that using aligned, high quality instructional materials helps tutors reinforce classroom instruction.
A summer learning session will help students impacted by learning loss. But let’s not fool ourselves: six weeks will not reverse potentially 12-16 months of lost instruction. After summer school session in complete, a focus on additional assessment is needed. If additional work is required, parents should have the option of using tutoring to help address specific learning deficiencies. It’s a better and more effective option.