How can schools choose among proven tutoring programs?

We would suggest that school leaders weigh several factors in deciding which proven tutoring programs to select:

a. Effect size: Go for the big numbers. If you are comparing equally rigorous evaluations, effect size is a meaningful indicator of the amount of gain students are likely to make in comparison to an untreated control group, assuming implementation is of high quality. All of the studies validating programs in ProvenTutoring.Org used similar, rigorous methods, so effect sizes are a good indicator of impact.

b. Group Size: Small group interventions (2-5 students) allow more students to be served and can still be effective. One-to-one interventions are much more intensive and serve fewer students. Consider your student needs. If two programs have similar effect sizes but one can teach twice or four times the number of students, you may wish to choose the one that extends the benefits of tutoring to more students.

c. Where the program was evaluated: Common sense should tell you that a rural school should prefer a program evaluated in rural schools, and an urban school should prefer evaluations in urban settings. If there are no evaluations in schools like yours, you might ask program leaders for examples of use of the program in schools like yours, perhaps even nearby.

d. Visit a program’s website, view videos of the program in action, or if possible, visit a school using a program nearby. Ask questions of program staff and current users. But check the program data first, to avoid selecting a program that looks great, but has never been found to make much of a difference.

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