December 18, 2023

Accelerate’s First Call to Effective Action: A Synthesis of Lessons Learned

By: Accelerate

In spring 2022, Accelerate launched its Call to Effective Action (CEA) grant program and awarded more than $10 million to 31 partners to develop, scale, and evaluate sustainable, cost-effective tutoring models that could boost academic achievement for students. On average, the tutoring providers in our CEA grant portfolio supported a high proportion of students of color (75% Black/Latinx), English Language Learners (29%), and those eligible for free and reduced-price lunch (71%). This report, co-authored by Mathematica, highlights eight grantees who have utilized a variety of tutoring approaches and contexts and describes lessons learned from their efforts to scale up high-dosage tutoring with school partners across the country.

This report includes:

Lessons learned about developing the school conditions for tutoring

  • Establish an early partnership with principals to secure their buy-in and adapt tutoring to each school’s context. 
  • Establish a school-based point of contact to set up and manage tutoring logistics.
  • Communicate with teachers early to develop their support for tutoring. 
  • Ensure schools have the space, technology, and staff needed to support tutoring. 
  • Ensure tutoring content meets the needs of students and complements or supports classroom instruction. 
  • Talk with curriculum developers about the curricular tools needed to align tutoring with classroom instruction. 

Lessons learned about tutoring dosage

  • Set up a consistent schedule for tutoring and avoid scheduling sessions at the very beginning or end of the school day. 
  • Develop a tutoring schedule that accounts for school-year activities and interruptions. 
  • Protect the time of district and school staff who serve as tutors. 
  • Collect and track real-time data on tutoring attendance and dosage. 

Strategies to expand the pipeline of tutors

  • Leverage community-based organizations to recruit tutors locally. 
  • Repurpose existing school staff to serve as in-person tutors. 
  • Recruit college students potentially interested in a teaching career as tutors.  
  • Offer part-time, paid, flexible tutoring roles to recruit virtual tutors from the gig economy. 

Lessons learned for recruiting and selecting tutors

  • Expand tutor recruitment efforts through partnerships.
  • Recruit and select tutors who are invested in the longer-term goals of tutoring. 
  • Consider efficient approaches—such as one-way interviews and video-recorded mock lessons—to assess large pools of tutor applicants. 
  • Be intentional about recruiting racially and ethnically diverse tutors. 

Lessons learned for training and supporting tutors

  • Provide tutors who have little to no teaching experience with a scripted curriculum to guide their tutoring. 
  • Strengthen tutors’ instruction by providing individualized coaching and feedback. 
  • Address issues of tutor attendance early in training. 

Though lessons learned from our Call to Effective Action Grantees are anecdotal, they provide valuable insights into the strategies employed by grantees to navigate challenges in implementing and scaling high-dosage tutoring models. Accelerate is committed to developing a pool of proven tutoring models that significantly improve academic outcomes, particularly for historically underserved students who are not yet on grade level. Over time, we aim to build a robust pool of tutoring models that (1) generate positive effects in rigorous research; (2) can be implemented with fidelity; and (3) are affordable. 

Download the report to learn more.

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